What I’m Reading: 22/02/12

 The Complete Artist Way by Julia Cameron.

I bought this over two years ago, but every time I tried to read it, I would stall near the end of The Artist Way. Julia Cameron described it as making a Creative U-Turn, and likened it to a horse refusing the jump. I have made a lot of Creative U-Turns, so the visual stuck with me. And, after three U-Turns too many, I made the jump. I made a commitment to stick with it, and am now onto the next section Walking in this World. I’m enjoying the weekly walks. Sometimes, I still crave the endorphin-enduced high of a run. Perhaps I will get back into it, but for now I’m content to walk and enjoy the scenery and clarity that comes with it. This week’s chapter was all about doing things in small increments and learning to finish things. It couldn’t be more timely, what with my recent frustrations with Dirge. I think I will just have to hang my fears out to try and commit to a Fast (read: horribly imperfect) Draft if I am ever to finish it. Making it shine is Second Draft’s job….right?

Julia’s essays are always thoughtful and inspiring. While I resisted the technique of Morning Pages often and frequently when I first started this process, the method has become an invaluable tool. I can no longer stand to do anything until after my morning pages are written because they help to cluttered my brain. It sweeps away the cobwebs induced my early morning jitters and my usual bundled mess of anxiety. It is a great resource for budding artists of any kind. Though I admit, some of the exercises can feel tedious and “forced”, the rest are generally insightful.

Growing Up Native American Anthology

Mainly research for a character in Stars, and I haven’t gotten very far with. I’ve always been fascinated by cultural exchange and different perspectives, and this project has a strong multicultural influence. From the stories I’ve read so far in the anthology, I’ve found them to be poetically executed. In one particular story, Simon Ortiz talks about the power of language and how being forced to learn English (which he did rather quickly because of his natural inclination for words) only made him cling that much more tightly to his original language: Acoma. But by knowing both, he is empowered. He is in a unique position to see and understand and educate from both sides. I’ve always believed that learning languages is the key to understanding and appreciating different cultures and find it disappointing that we are not all privileged to do so, or that more emphasis is not placed on teaching languages (beyond Spanish, French, etc..) in the early stages of learning.

Oh…uh…sorry…</rant>

I’m certainly gaining a lot of insight and ideas for my character, that’s for sure!

Memory of Fire by Holly Lisle

I’d heard great things about Holly’s World Gates series and now I have the whole set! I really enjoyed book 1 and how the magic system worked. Every action has a consequence. Everything comes with a price. Every single character was interesting and felt fully realized. I especially liked June Bug’s arc. I’m holding off on book 2 simply because I’m going through How To Think Sideways again and there’s a lesson that draws heavily on The Wreck of Heaven (Book 2 of The World Gates). Don’t know if I’ll be able to make it, but I’m trying to resist!

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

The last book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. I loved these books so much that I wish I had written them. So much author envy/admiration. Though, I did refrain from getting emotionally involved in the romance plot because I hate love triangles and I don’t think anyone’s going to write a polyandrous YA story. (Prove me wrong someone?!)

The premise was the real draw for me and I enjoyed seeing Katniss’ character (among others: Prim, Gale, Finnick, Haymitch, Cinna, etc) evolve over the space of the books (through lots and lots of gritty violence. No, I’m not even ashamed.) I thought Mockingjay was a great conclusion to an epic series of books and I hope beyond hope that it gets made into a movie because some of those militaristic scenes would be sweeeeeeet!! The visuals presented throughout each book just lend itself so well to the cinema, it would be a damn shame if The Hunger Games does not do well enough to warrant green lighting the sequels. I’ve already lent the books to two very critical friends they both enjoyed the series immensely. I kind of hope Suzanne will think of a way to write more books in this universe, but I can pretty much guarantee I’ll buy her next book no matter what it is.

What are you all reading? I love recommendations!

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