Tuesday Tip: Grabbing Opportunity

So I grabbed the Beneficent Mr. Hall and said, “They have telescopes set up for Venus transiting the sun. We need to be ready to go in 20 minutes.”

Now, honestly, the man was sitting at his desk, peacefully doing whatever it is he does at his desk. He knew about the whole Venus transit deal, but up until that moment, I hadn’t exactly gotten around to discussing the adventure I’d planned. So I suspect he was a little surprised to learn that he was driving 30 minutes to a park on the other side of the county (we live in a rather large county–the entire state of Rhode Island could fit inside Gwinnett) at suppertime, to look through a telescope to see a black dot on the sun. But he’s always had a soft spot for space stuff, so it was all systems go.

Then Youngest Junior Hall called to say he was on the way home, and what were we having for supper?

“Oh,” I said. “Ummmm…we’re sort of leaving in about 12 minutes to watch Venus transit the sun.”

“I’ll catch it next time,” he said. Well, he’s a business major, so he has a good excuse. Then I explained that though it was possible he might catch it the next time, the odds were not exactly in his favor. And he said, “Okay, I’m coming, too.”

And he did. Then we sat around, waiting for the clouds to move, and they did. So we milled about, wearing cardboard sunglasses made especially for viewing the sun, and we peered through telescopes, and we saw Venus transit the sun. And it was awesome.

Which is a long way of saying that when a great opportunity comes around, something that might help you become a better writer, grab it. Maybe it’s an author coming to town to speak, or a conference that’s only 2 hours away, or a contest where you can win a critique. Grab it!

Because you never know when an opportunity will come ’round again.


Friday’s Fun Find: You and Your Talent

Raise your hand if you do this: Feel lousy about the one thing you can’t do well and forget a-l-l-l-l-l-l about the tons of things you do really, really well.

Why do we do that? It doesn’t have to be about our writing, but since we’re all about the writing here, we’ll go with that idea. Just for an example.

So for example, why do we get a critique and immediately zero in on the mistakes rather than the parts of the manuscript where we excel? Why do we beat ourselves up over the writing skill that may be lacking, and completely overlook a-l-l-l-l-l the writing skills we’ve worked hard to accomplish?

Sure, we need to make our corrections. But first, how about we give our writing selves a break? How about we look at that manuscript, or article, or short story, and say, “Wow! I really nailed the _____(fill in the blank with your writing talent__.”

Doesn’t that sound like something fun for this Friday?  (Raise your hand if you agree.)

Out With the Old, In With the New (Books)

I just came across the most amazing gallery of repurposed books! Books as sculptures, books as lighting fixtures, books as jewelry…well, you get the picture. If you want to see the pictures for yourself, take a look here (Courtesy of the Sydney Morning Herald) to see these stylish creations.

I had to check out the featured This Into That Gallery‘s funniest works because I loved that artist’s sense of humor. And I even found something in my price range (okay, technically, the Beneficent Mr. Hall’s price range), as well as so very practical (always a plus when hitting up the Beneficent Mr. Hall for “artsy stuff”):

As much as I love repurposed book art, I can’t help feeling a little sad, seeing an orphaned Great Expectations or Complete Works of Shakespeare gutted or shredded or otherwise torn apart, especially when I consider the digital book takeover. I worry that someday, these works of book art may be the only honest-to-goodness books we have left. And I wonder if years from now, my grandchildren may consider books as antiques. Sort of the way we now look on typewriters. Even the electric ones.

Time and technology march on. And though I said I would never read books from an e-reader, that I loved the feel of a good, old-fashioned book in my hands, that nothing can beat the smell of a well-loved book, or that crackling sound when you open a hardcover book for the first time–I bought a Nook Tablet.

So far, I haven’t done any serious reading on it. We’re still getting to know each other. And I’m still sort of reconciling myself to the digital book explosion.  

I’m sure there’s still plenty of room in the world for e-books and hardback books. And really, I know that as long as there are books, in any way, shape or form, we’re going to curl up and read ’em.

Isn’t it wonderful that the written word, no matter how you read it, will never go out of style?