Writing Prompt: In your own time…

I suddenly find I have a lot of time on my hands. I’m on “gardening leave” from my company for a few months and while I miss the buzz of the office, I’m realising I have some time to get back to writing and learning things I’ve been too busy this past year to take up.

It’s funny, How often have we said, “if I had the time, I’d…”? Well, now that i have the time, I’m not squandering it. I know how rare it is to be master of your own fate, even if only for a little while. So, for the next two months, you’re going to be hearing a lot more from me.

Back in January, I posted a list of books I wanted to get through before the end of the year. I’m 4 into that list, or 4 behind depending on how you look at it. I plan to catch up. I’ve just started “As I lay Dying” – by William Faulkner and find that it’s the style that impresses me. When a story is pieced together by different points of view, it’s easier to see the whole picture, even if it comes together bit by bit like a jigsaw.

 Try this: Put together a narrative told from the point of view of no less than five characters. It’s harder than you think to weave together a story without favouring one voice too much over another, but it’s a good way to practice changes in point of view.

Have fun. See you tomorrow.

Quote for the day

 I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life… I wanted to live so sturdily and so Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life… to drive life into a corner to know it by experience and be able to give an account of it in my next excursion.  

– Henry David Thoreau

Today’s Poem: Pablo Neruda – Sonnet XVII

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
Or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
In secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms but carries in
Itself the light of hidden flowers;
Thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
Risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
So I love you because I know no other way

That this: where I does not exist, nor you,
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
So close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

Quote for the day

Like everyone else, I am going to die. But the words – the words live on for as long as there are readers to see them, audiences to hear them. It is immortality by proxy. It is not really a bad deal, all things considered.
– J. Michael Straczynski

Writing Prompt: Anything at all

I often ask myself, if I could do anything at all, if bills and time were not a factor, what would I do? The answer hasn’t varied too much over the years. So, how would I spend every waking moment of every day?

I’d shut myself up in my office with a coffee maker, my books, writing desk and computer. I’d nestle into my chair, (a director’s chair made of burnt orange canvas). I wish sometimes that I had two lives I could live every day. One in the office where I write and read and dream my days away. Another where I run around learning and speaking with people who work in my industry.

If you could do anything at all, what would it be?

Writing Prompt: Anything at all

Writing Prompt: The Book List

As you may have noticed through some of the other pages on the site, I’ve started a new book list for 2009. As I go through them, I’m writing down what I finish and adding a review. So far, I’ve read “Candide” by Voltaire (for the 20th time), “Fire in the Blood” by Irene Nemirovsky and “Boy in the Striped Pajamas” by John Boyne. I’ve loved all three in different ways and I highly recommend them all. Particularly the last one on the list. I read it on train journeys to and from work over two days. Having finished it tonight, it left me sad, a little shaken and with the total conviction that I’ll read it again. It was beautiful and although it ended in the only tragic way a book on that subject could, I didn’t want it to end. I’ve just picked up “Crooked Little Vein” by Warren Ellis and I’m sure it too will be completed in a matter of days, judging by the speed at which I’m turning the first few pages.

I’ve always been an ambitious reader. I make lists, set targets; I’ve spend thousands on books throughout my life and I’m proud of the little library I’ve collected and stacked on the dark wood shelves around me. There are some books there that I’ve had for years and never got around to, this is their year.

Tell me, if you could get through ten books this year that you’ve always wanted to go through, but never managed, which ones would they be? What is it about them that attracts you? Is it a recommendation, a genre, the author, the storyline? What we read speaks volumes about who we are. What does your list say about you?

From the books above, I’d say I’m a tragic-romantic prone to the darker side of life who appreciates irony….

Writing Prompt: The Book List

Closing off the book list 2008

Well, I gave it a go and here is how far I got in 2008:

1. A Certain Slant of Light – Laura Whitcomb

2. The Road to Avalon – Joan Wolf

3. Rope Burns – F.X. Toole

4. We Need to Talk about Kevin – Lionel Shriver

5. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole

6. Battle Royale – Houshun Takami

7. I Haven’t Dreamt of Flying for a While – Taichi Yamada

8. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson

9. Rape – A Love Story – Joyce Carol Oates

10. How to Survive a Horror Movie – Seth Grahame-Smith

11. The Ice Queen – Alice Hoffman

12. Breakfast At Tiffany’s – Truman Capote

13. The Book with No Name – Anonymous

14. Winkie – Clifford Chase

15. Lost Girls and Love Hotels – Catherine Hanrahan

16. Nefertiti – Michelle Moran

17. Tan Lines – J.J. Salem

18. The Fifth Child – Doris Lessing

19. Candide – Voltaire

20. Real World – Natsuro Karino

21. The Choice – Nicolas Sparks

22. Almost Transparent Blue – Ryu Murakami

23. The Tartar Steppe – Dino Buzzati

24. Out – Natsuro Kirino

25. After Dark – Murakami

So, just short of half my target. 2009 will have to be better. So, here’s my first resolution of the year. My friends will understand how difficult this will be for me, but I won’t buy another book until I’ve read 52 books from  my exisiting library.  I have about 200 unread books to choose from, so I shoudn’t want for options… wish me luck in 2009.

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