Sunday, March 23, 2014

Writer Self-Indulgence

On a weekend morning, I sometimes browse through other writer blogs to see what's on their minds. A writer can learn a lot from her peers, and I often think writers or aspiring writers make up the biggest portion of the population who actually pick up a book or click through a blog to just read for pleasure every once in a while. So, I believe it's a good thing that so many people want to write and that everyone has a book in them, because it is nature's way of keeping the reading population healthy.

Betsy LernerBetsy Lerner's blog is one I have perused in the past as much for her biting sarcasm as her emotional insight into the writing process. She is an writer/agent, like so many agents, or writers who were once agents, are. Below is something she wrote about Tom Clancy, golf and writing that I just found this weekend that made me laugh out loud. It starts like this:

And then she goes on to remember playing golf as a child, the advice her father once gave her about it, and whether there is such thing as a Muse. This then leads her to free-associate working with Patti Smith, playfully pun on the concept of Mad Men and sum it all up with the joy of "did I pull that out of my ass or what?"

Before you click over to her blog though, I feel like I should offer a warning : Read in small doses, especially if you are a writer, because she packs a punch that can knock you down. Writer loneliness and self-loathing are her specialities.

Back to work for me!

SUNDAY, February 23 2014

BuzzFeed Me

BuzzFeed has become more interesting lately. I think they finally discovered how to attract those looking for news sites that seem both entertaining and personally relevant.

They are using lots of quizzes now, which appear on social media sites as conversation starters. They have appealed to our narcissistic, but how does it relate to me, society. I recently followed some links and took a few of their quizzes. Like verbal personality selfies, here you go:

What Career Should You Actually Have?

What City Should You Actually Live In"

What 90s Alt Rock Grrrl Are You?

What Kind of Bird Are You?

Click on the links above to take your own quiz. Enjoy!

SATURDAY, February 1, 2014

Talking to the Ground: One Family's Journey on Horseback Across the Sacred Land of the Navajo, by Douglas Preston

Talking to the Ground has to be one of the top ten books I have read in the last decade. I found the writing to be truly evocative of the land – in many ways the hero of the story – the place that grounds the Diné in their sense of self.

Talking to the GroundThe travelogue follows a path of Monster Slayer and his brother, Born for Water, took through a Navajo creation story. Preston, his fiancée and her little girl, travel on horseback and camp through four hundred miles of trails, beginning at Navajo Mountain, Utah, travelling on through Monument Valley, across the Utah Strip and Chinle Valley, and on to Canyon de Chelly, the Lukachukai Mountains, ultimately to finish in Shiprock, New Mexico. The accounts of people they meet throughout their journey and the way the author skillfully weaves in the history and mystery of the place is what makes Talking to the Ground such a riveting read.

As someone who has spent a significant amount of time on the Navajo Nation, I was impressed by the research and life experience that went into the story, which brought the bits and pieces of legends I have heard throughout my own life together in a more cohesive way. It is a magnificent journey over a desolate, yet obviously animated land. In fact, going on and off the reservation I have always felt the energy change, and this book helps to explain that shift in a deeply meaningful way. The journey and the resulting book by Douglas Preston is an inspiring achievement.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

New Exchange Progam Initiative

This is interesting. The State Department has put its weight behind fostering more regional student exchange programs between the United States and Latin America. Although some of this is driven by economic interest, I haven't seen a better action promoting diplomacy in the region in the last twenty years!

100000StrongAmericasExchangeProgramAnnouncement

More information about the initiative is here.