Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Rainy Day Musings

Maybe a rainy day can inspire great ideas!
On this dark and gloomy morning I thought I should sit down and work on a blog, but then I thought "I don't really feel like it." Which in turn got me thinking about the craft of writing. If you are serious about being fit, you have to work out regularly. If you are serious about getting a job, you have to look for one and fill out applications. If you want to get a college degree, you have to go out there and work for it. They don't just hand you one! So what would make me think that writing is any different? If you are serious about writing, which I am, then you have to simply sit down and write. Sometimes, even when you don't feel like it.

What I've noticed, is that even when I'm not feeling inspired, simply sitting down and starting is often all I need. It's not that I'm writing Shakespeare every day, but I am doing the important task of making it a habit. It's also therapeutic for me. I have a busy mind. I am a list-maker, and there is always a lot going on up there. Very often I am writing in my head even as I'm going about my day to day tasks. Sitting down and getting all those thoughts out onto paper, or the computer, as it may be, is like doing a big cognitive download, freeing up my brain for other activities. It slows down the spinning, whirling thoughts and allows me to focus.

So, why don't I feel like writing today, in particular? Maybe it's the endless cool and rainy days that are making up our alleged "summer." Maybe it's the pressure I feel to accomplish certain tasks before I head back to work in exactly two weeks. Whatever the reason, I was certainly not feeling the muse this morning. But look! I sat down at the computer and here I have already written three paragraphs that make sense, and have a point!

One of the most important things to consider is, why am I writing? And who am I writing for? If you are writing because you have to, and writing for other people, chances are your inspiration will wane. Writing will then feel like a job instead of a creative outlet. But if you are writing because you enjoy it, and mostly just to please yourself, it will be a joy. Not always, but hopefully, more often than not. So I asked myself these questions this morning. Why am I writing? Who am I writing for? Perhaps my answers would be different another day, but today I am writing because I have thoughts and ideas that need to be expressed. This blog is for public consumption, but I figure I have perhaps five loyal readers, so essentially I am writing for myself. Because I want to. Because I need to. If others enjoy what I write, that's just icing on the cake. So, if you are one of those loyal readers, thank you! But even if you abandon me, I will keep at it!

Of course, there is a book to be reviewed, and today it is "A Crooked Kind of Perfect," by Linda Urban. This is not a new book; it came out in 2007. This is one of the middle grade books I pulled off the shelf at the end of the school year because it just looked interesting. Isn't that a great cover? And those socks actually figure into the story.

Zoe Elias is a great protagonist. She deals with the unusual aspects of her life in a matter of fact and upbeat way. So, you wanted to play the piano and ended up with a wheezy old organ? Master that organ and enter a competition! Perhaps your Dad is a severe agoraphobe incapable of holding a job or driving you places you need to go? Accept him for who he is, embrace his good qualities, and hope for the best! And when your overtired, workaholic Mom forgets your birthday entirely? Even though you're mad, you don't bring it up or hold it against her, and you accept her apology later.

When you finally get invited to the popular girls birthday party and end up feeling completely out of place? Well, you realize those shallow girls aren't worth it and find better friends. Such as the class bully, who keeps following you home and eating your Dad's cookies. What do you do about that? Talk to him, get to know him, and realize he's really a pretty nice kid, who happens to have a rough life. (And maybe that crooked smile and floppy hair of his are kind of cute.)

You'll find yourself cheering for Zoe. And the musical exclamations of her eccentric organ teacher (Handel's Aunt Hannah!!!) will make you chuckle. This little book is a reminder that everyone has problems. Nobody's life is perfect, and everyone, no matter how flawed, has something positive to offer.

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