This spring has seen a lot of road trips — they’ve been exhaustingly fun, but have pushed a lot of the usual spring routines to the side. So spring cleaning is a little late this year. And since I’m characteristically messy, a little overwhelming. But to get myself in the spirit, I’m tackling the easier challenge of cleaning out all the dusty nooks and crannies of a blog space.
So with a general bent in the direction of reading, writing, and thinking, here’s what the past few months have accumulated for me.
One of the first reads of winter was Dear Enemy. This book was wonderfully written. It’s not often that a book gives me the can’t-put-it-down effect, but this one did, pushing a whole lot of my to-dos to the side, as I plowed to the end in one day. And even though I felt slightly cheated over the abrupt ending, the whole of the story was too good for me to really mind. A thoughtful and compelling WWII read. (Content-wise, it’s best for older readers, especially parts of Chapter 19).
I loved Mrs. Mike, even though some parts were incredibly difficult to get through. And by that, I mean how hard life was in the wild, not the writing. The writing was what got me to the finish — it’s simple and beautiful; but very forthright when it comes to tragedy and humor, two disparate qualities equally at home in Mrs. Mike. The blurb at the end for the sequel, The Search for Joyful, has me totally hooked, especially since the setting is WWII.
Incidentally, I seem to prefer my cold weather books in winter, don’t I?
And I’m still reading through Testament of Youth. It’s frustrating at times, and definitely heartbreaking. Vera Brittain has such a clear way of conveying the war — my favorite parts have been where she’s a nurse in the thick of things, as opposed to the parts where she shares her opinions on life. It makes me think her war years diary might’ve been better for me. But I’ll definitely see World War I differently from now on because of Testament of Youth.
As a side note, one of the chapters at Oxford made me want to have a hot chocolate study party very badly.
Blog-wise, I’ve found a lot of useful things at K.M. Weiland’s Helping Writers Become Authors. One article in particular helped get me past a bit of block in one of my writing projects down below.
And there’s also Storyshucker — I don’t think any blog I’ve ever come across has felt more like a front porch.
The Rooglewood Contest winners were announced March 1st — the stories look really good, and I’m looking forward to the release of Five Magic Spindles. My entry is still sitting proudly in my bookshelf — it didn’t win, but it taught me I can actually finish what I start. Soon I’ll get around to editing it once more, and brushing up those loose ends that me cringe on New Year’s, but for now, it’s getting a rest, and I’m eagerly hearing the snatches of news for Five Magic Spindles.
New projects? Hm. Well, I fully intended to have a WWII novel written partway by now for Camp Nanowrimo, but that didn’t really happen. A lot of doubt and an undecided setting really derailed it momentarily. So for now, I’m researching the neutral ground of a Great Depression idea that’s been patiently shelved since early last year.
What I have been writing is more fairy tale retellings. Cinderella got me first in January, western-style, and now I’m 10,000 words into another…any guesses which one? :) My version is a complete turn around from anything I’ve ever done – futuristic – and it’s been an oddly refreshing change of pace.
Spring is a lovely season for planning, everything from gardens to futures, but I’ve been realizing the present deserves my attention most. In focusing solely on the enchanting ‘what if’s’ of the future, I’ve been letting beautiful, blessed days slip by unnoticed. I’m not sure this quote is really by Mark Twain, but it has helped me to remember to focus my energy on the present.
Now that things have settled a bit (not school-wise though, sigh) I’m going to try to be more consistent with words, read and written.
Here’s to a new season, and tackling the task of cleaning! :)