Tag Archives: Ernest Hemingway

Reflecting on words.

29 Nov

Have you ever come across one of your previous pieces of writing and thought: Did I seriously write that? It’s SO good! That happened to me last night when I came across a blog post I wrote on October the 20th, titled The finding place of my words. As I read my own words, I was amazed. There were certain connections I made on that brisk fall day back in October that still apply to how I feel right now. I don’t know what it is with writers wanting to write about words or the creative process. However, in my case, it provides me with perspective, which is discussed in more detail in my blog post titled, The magic of first lines in literature.

Last Spring, as I was walking across the quad of my college campus to get to class, I had to stop and take in the scene that was unfolding before me. As I looked around, I saw tons of college students sitting on the quad reading. However, as is customary for Asheville, they were all different. Each student’s reading experience was unique. One guy was lying in a hammock he had strung up between two nearby trees, and his book rested lightly against his bent knees. I also saw a girl who was lying on her stomach on a flowery blanket with her bare feet casually in the air. She was holding a book out in front of her, careful to block the sun from her eyes. The third student I spotted was my personal favorite though. She was sitting in the grass with her back up against the trunk of a tree. Her long, dark hair covered the sides of her face, making it possible to only focus on her eyes, which were moving so fast across the pages of her book that I could tell she was a very focused reader. I think the image of the third student stuck with me the most because I could see so much of myself in her. As a reader, especially when it involves a book I am reading for pleasure, it takes a lot to break my focus. Often times, I get so absorbed in the words that I lose the ability to fully comprehend what is going on around me, outside of the world of words that I so often call home.

Though I don’t know whether the students that I observed were reading for their own pleasure or for a class assignment, I like to believe either they were reading something for pleasure or were at least reading something they were interested in. I enjoy sticking to this belief simply because it is very closely related to how I imagine myself when I am reading. In so many ways, words have always been my refuge, but they have also been the place I have returned to again and again if I need to re-evaluate something or find my sense of balance.

“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” – Ernest Hemingway

Not all words provide us with the strength to change or the reassurance that we are moving in the right direction in our lives. However, if a series of words can come together into a sentence that causes us to stop and read the sentence again and again, it’s almost like magic. Whether they fill us with a sense of happiness, loss, sadness, anger, loneliness, or hope…words matter. They have the ability to reach a place inside us that not many people can even describe. It’s almost as if the most precious of sentences we have ever read reside in a place so deep within us and so personal that it takes a certain kind of experience for the words to resurface.

“To me, the greatest pleasure of writing is not what it’s about, but the inner music the words make.” – Truman Capote

“One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper pattern at the right moment.” – Hart Crane

Words matter. They are precious stones that have been washed by the countless waves of the sea, and they lie in the sand, waiting for us to uncover them. But the most precious words, the ones that are the rare deep blue stones, they are not so easy to find. They reside in the crevices of rocks, thrown to those places by the most violent of waves. But they have triumphed. They have overcome the turbulent waves of the sea, taking refuge until we are able to bring them out into the light. So don’t wait. Start searching.

The Bookshelf Chronicles: Part Two.

3 May

This past March, at the beginning of my Spring Break, my dad and I embarked on a trip to Ikea to purchase a wall of Billy Bookcases for my room. I realized yesterday that I never did a follow-up post to The Bookshelf Chronicles. Yes, we (or more precisely, my dad) got the wall of bookshelves up, and boy are they pretty!

I put my books in alphabetical order and put 2 letters to a shelf, meaning that A and B are on the first shelf, C and D are on the second shelf, and the third half while be used as spaced to put pictures or other knickknacks. Also, Jodi Picoult and Nicholas Sparks each have their own shelf since I have so many of their books. Anyway, with each of the three bookcases, there will be at least one shelf that will be for something besides books (to give it more of an artsy feel).

As of right now, my bookshelves look relatively empty (and this picture doesn’t include the 20 or so books that I still have to shelve since I acquired so many more used books when at college in Asheville). However, I love all of the space because it just means that I have room for more books. Also, breaking up the shelves by each 2 letters will definitely help since I won’t have to shift my books around every time I have to add a new book to my collection.

Since it’s now summer vacation for me, that means more time for pleasure reading. The first book of summer was Finding Daddy Cox by Mike Cox (one of my writing mentors that I mentioned in yesterday’s post, How Do You Deal With Criticism, Writer’s Block and Burnout? Anyway, I’ve been meaning to review Mike’s book, but I guess I just haven’t quite gotten around to it. Maybe that’ll be a post I write in a few days. Anyway, yesterday I was sitting in front of my bookshelves trying to decide what I was going to read next. I ended up choosing three different books in case I couldn’t seem to get interested in one of them: The Life All Around Me By Ellen Foster by Kaye Gibsons (Yes, Kaye Gibbons is the author. It’s a rather confusing title.), Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten, and A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway. The Kaye Gibbons novel is one that follows one of her previous novels, which was simply titled Ellen Foster. I loved reading the previous novel many years ago (and I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it), but I’m anxious to read this follow-up novel by Kaye Gibbons because it portrays Ellen Foster’s struggles as a teen, as opposed to the abusive father that she struggled with in the first novel. A Moveable Feast is a book I’ve been wanting to read ever since I heard it quoted in City of Angels, a romance movie starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan. Saving Max is one of the novels that I found when rummaging through the bargain books section at my favorite used bookstore in Asheville, Mr. K’s. It looked like an interesting read, so I decided to give it a try.

Alright, well all these great books I have yet to read are calling my name, as is the comfy couch. However, I’d love to know how pleasure reading has been for all of you recently?

What are you currently reading? What is a book that you’ve read recently that you’d recommend and why? And lastly, what’s your favorite book? (Because I’m sure we’d all love some more recommendations, as if we all don’t have continuously growing “to-be-read” piles!)