My random assortment of awesome pictures and words.
But there is a third thing in the poem - your voice. The one who saw it. The one who could stand and witness, the one who turned the pain and terror into this beautiful lyric. So maybe when we can say things, when we can write the words, when we can express how it feels, we aren’t so helpless.
I thought after reading your poem today that I might want to try to be a writer, too. Even though I don’t think I can ever write a poem as good as yours, it made me think that maybe I can do something with all of the feelings in me, even the ones that are sad and scared and angry. Maybe when we can tell the stories, however bad they are, we don’t belong to them anymore. They become ours.
And maybe what growing up really means is knowing that you don’t have to just be a character, going whichever way the story says. It’s knowing that you could be the author instead.
Ava Dellaira (Love Letters to the Dead, 2014)
List 10 (or more) books that have stayed with you in some way. Don’t think too hard. They don’t have to be the “right” books or great works of literature, but they should be ones that have affected you in some way.
1) The Road by Cormac McCarthy—I never knew that books could be so devastating.
2) Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien—If you know me at all, I don’t need to explain this choice.
3) The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner—A narrator who lies to me? And he’s a thief? Yes, please. Brilliant storytelling (check out the entire series) and my favorite book character of all time. It’s not just because he’s a thief.
4) Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien—Wait, animals have feelings too? How am I falling in love with a rat? Also, see Redwall for more animal tales.
5) Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy—My hatred, intense and everlasting, for a character in this novel was like a challenge to write one just as selfish. Challenge accepted.
6) The Hollow Kingdom by Clare B. Dunkle – This was when I realized that I wanted to be writer. Also, my favorite heroine of all time.
7) Unwind/Bruiser (two separate books) by Neal Shusterman—Change one thing, something impossible, and set it loose into the real world. How does that change your perspective about forgiveness, emotional abuse, legal conversations, or self-hatred? Prepare yourself to make social commentary personal with a side of excellent tension.
8) The She by Carol Plum-Ucci—Disorienting and driven by the unexplained, I liked having my beliefs about monsters challenged and then made as irrelevant as the main characters’ by the end. I still don’t know what to believe. Huzzah.
9) Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman—The word “ineffable,” and descriptions as unwanted as an angel seeming “gayer than a tree full of monkeys on nitrous oxide.” Also, who lost the antichrist? I’m so glad they did.
10) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte—Madness and romance should always go together.
11) The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan—The darkness of superstition and judgment is far greater than that of disability or isolation. For the first time I realized that there are some things that can never be communicated, and there are sides that will never see eye to eye.
12) An Acquaintance with Darkness by Ann Rinaldi—History has some pretty great tension when you think about it. Which I hadn’t before this novel.
13) The Squire’s Tale series by Gerald Morris—Hilarity and loveable characters, both of which make me jealous as a writer. Plus it’s Arthurian lore.
14) Howl’s Moving Castle—Because Dianna Wynn Jones.
(By Madeleine Dresden)
Read, read, read. Read everything — trash, classics, good and bad, and see how they do it. Just like a carpenter who works as an apprentice and studies the master. Read! You’ll absorb it.
Then write. If it’s good, you’ll find out. If it’s not, throw it out of the window.
In a good bookroom you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.
I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else.
The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.
I woke up thinking a very pleasant thought. There is lots left in the world to read.
I think dystopian futures are also a reflection of current fears. We live in a time of some uncertainty and volatility. This generation has witnessed a major economic downturn (some would say collapse), America’s near-constant participation in foreign wars, and environmental instability. Dystopian novels help people process their fears about what the future might look like; further, they usually show that there is always hope, even in the bleakest future.
Until a few days ago, humans had been little more than legend to him, and now here he was in their world. It was like stepping into the pages of a book — a book alive with colour and fragrance, filth and chaos — and the blue-haired girl moved through it all like a fairy through a story, the light treating her differently than it did others, the air seemed to gather around her like held breath. As if this whole place was a story about her.