My Love Affair With Books

 

1.'Containers for the Soul'--Cat Fink
‘Containers For The Soul’ by Cat Fink

I have a long love affair with books.  With stories.  With words.  Longer even than my love affair with drawing, but only by a year or two.

My husband knows about this affair.  How can he not?  He helped me pack 55 boxes of books last time we moved.  The back wall of our suite is all shelves of books, two rows deep.  I’ve probably added three more boxes since we moved in two years ago.  That makes the current total 58.

This love affair, in other eyes, looks like an obsession.  Or maybe a difficulty with hoarding.

Only someone who does not love books would think that.

My parents read to me when I was two years old.  A story before bedtime.  Thus begins the love affair and my book collection.

Continue reading “My Love Affair With Books”

What I Read on My Summer Holiday

1.'Containers for the Soul'--Cat Fink
Containers For The Soul

I love books.  I love reading, and I am always curious about what other people are reading.  So, of course, I enjoy reading people’s book lists, especially those from writers and artists.

Here is what I read during July and August while I was on holiday.

The Owl Mage Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey – Mercedes is one of my favourite writers.  She dives deep and at length into what her characters are thinking and I find this inner monologue fascinating.  Some might read this and say ‘get on with the story’.  Not me.  These inner monologues are part of the story, developing the character, connecting with me-the-reader and my personal inner talk experience.

End of Watch by Stephen King – As a teenager, my introduction to Stephen’s writing was ‘Carrie’.  The story totally creeped me out, and I loved it.  Later I left off reading horror.  I came back to him with ‘Lisey’s Story’, and I’ve kept up with his writing ever since.

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George – A friend introduced me to Elizabeth and her intricate, very human mysteries.  I read the one lent to me, then promptly hit the used bookstore for all Elizabeth had written up to that point.  Now I wait with anticipation when I hear a new book is coming, and get my order in at my local bookstore.  If you are a writer, check out her book on writing fiction ‘Write Away’.  I borrowed it from the public library three times and then ordered my own copy.

Return of the Padawan by Jeffrey Brown – Pure fun.

The King’s Man Trilogy by Pauline Gedge – Pauline makes me feel I am right there in ancient Egypt.  Heat.  The smell of dust.  Cool water poured over my bare feet.  Linen brushing against my skin.  I read her books in the summer to heighten the feeling of being there.

Raiders of the Nile by Steven Saylor – Steven’s writing has the same effect on me as Pauline’s.  In his books, I am in ancient Rome.  This one happens in the Nile delta, not his usual setting.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J. K. Rowling – I admit it.  I am a Harry Potter/J. K. Rowling fan.  I read this slowly, right after a week of watching all the Harry Potter movies in sequence.  I let my inner vision create the movie for me as I read.  Fun!  Then I discovered the website Pottermore, got myself sorted for Hogwarts by the Sorting Hat, and claimed my wand.  (For my fellow Potter fans, I am a Hufflepuff–totally suits me– and my wand is sycamore with dragon heartstring core.  Cool.) Continue reading “What I Read on My Summer Holiday”

Buried Treasure

laidtoresteast.skullI’m in the library.  It’s cooler here than outside.  We had a heat wave last week.  It is done and gone, but cooler is still feeling better to me.

I am sitting by the windows, writing, a table for four all to myself.  Sketch book and loose leaf papers and BIC 4-colour pen and ipod spread out before me.  It is quiet at this end, away from the entrance and check-out desk and dvd section.  I’m deep in the 900’s stacks.  Biographies.  Katharine Hepburn looks out at me from a cover.  A namesake and one of my heroes, she is.

In the library I am no hero.  I am a pirate.  I’m here for treasure.

There is treasure everywhere in the library, so I’m always a very successful pirate on my voyages through this word and idea space.

Today I am searching for no particular treasure.  No.  Today I am on the lookout for buried treasure, unearthed by hands other than mine.

The book sticking out one inch beyond its neighbours on the shelf.  Someone thumbs through it.  No, not for me, they say, replace it carelessly, walk away.  I come by later and there it is, mine.  Just what I was looking for, although I did not know it until now.  I drop it into my sack.

And here is another.  Left lying on top of other books.  Like my first find, looked at, discarded.  Left for me to come along the shelves and recognize its possibility in my life at this moment.  A second piece of treasure into my sack.

I am a rich pirate today.  Double treasure to take home and play with.  Try out the words and ideas and story for their fit.  Ooo, I do like this first one.  It’s all me and beyond.  Hmmm.  This second one, not so much.  Doesn’t fit me and my life as comfortably, but there is an interesting idea and turn of phrase, the way the writer links her words that I write into my sketch book for thinking on later.

There is learning in both my treasures today.  The one that fits me well and sparkles brightly.  The other that does not, yet offers me a pebble for polishing and playing with, turning it in the light and finding its brightest face.

I love being a pirate in the library.  Gathering treasure unearthed by others gives me a different point of view.  I would never have gone looking for these books on my own.  They weren’t in my usual pattern of interests and thinking.  Yet here they are crossing my path and, because of that, worth a look.

I have long practice at this joyful plundering.  Sailing the library stacks and then turning for home, my sack full of treasure, my heart full of pleasure and anticipation, delight and surprise at what I have found today.

Lynda Barry’s books

I’ve added a new listing to my Resources page:lyndabarry1

Lynda Barry Books ‘What It Is’, ‘Syllabus’, ‘One Hundred Demons’, ‘Picture This’.  The creative process through image and word combined.  I love the questions she asks.

I’ve become a Lynda Barry fan.  I read her books slowly.  There is a lot going on and I want to catch all of it.  I love how her mind moves around the creative process, asking it questions, testing out answers.  Her books invite me to play in the thousand thousand possibilities of creating.  I am a kid again when I dive into one of her books.  How cool is that!

lyndabarry2I read her books with my sketchbook beside me.  I always come away with ideas for my own work, and questions about my writing and drawing process.  I know from experience to write down what comes to me, so that I have it to hand tomorrow, or next month, or next year when I need it.lyndabarry4

Lynda’s books give permission by example, to play and create, each in our own particular way.  Did she intend that?  I don’t know, but this is the effect her books have on me–FREEDOM!  I am already playing and creating in my own way, and she invites me to explore farther and deeper, see what else I can make with my heart and head and hands.

lyndabarry3The book I am reading right now is ‘Syllabus: Notes From An Accidental Professor’.  This book is dense with image and word, pages from the classes she teaches, drawing and writing from her students.  So much to take in and learn here, to experiment with.

Thank you, Professor Lynda!