17 March 2013

For the Love of Reading and Writing

This morning I was doing my usual round of blog browsing and came across this post about The Art of Reading.  It describes a book called Shadow of the Wind.  In it, a young boy is taken to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.  He is asked to choose one "making sure that it will never disappear, that it will always stay alive." One character tells the boy, "Every book ... has a soul. The soul of the person who wrote it and of those who read it and lived and dreamed with it. Every time a book changes hands ... its soul strengthens."

I immediately thought of my favorite book from childhood.

The story.  The illustrations.  Be still my heart.  My mom read this to me countless times.  Then I read it myself.  Again and again.  Andrew Henry is the middle of five kids, sandwiched between two older sisters and two younger brothers.  He is left out and misunderstood.  Andrew Henry has a passion for inventing and building.  He builds the most clever, hilarious things that have all his family members annoyed.  When everyone has had enough, he moves to a quiet meadow and builds a home for himself.  One by one, he is joined by the town's other misunderstood children- the girl who loves birds, the one who has too many pet rabbits, the boy who loves fishing.  The list goes on.  Each child gets a specially-designed house and before long, they have a lovely little village.

Eventually, the families go looking for the missing children.  The reunion picture is one of my favorites.  This illustration amazes me with the fact that pen and ink can be used to convey sheer joy.  The faces, the embraces, arms flung open, children running to their parents, even thankful sisters and brothers.  I scoured the internet but couldn't find the image to share with you.  In the end, everyone has gained an appreciation for each other.

That is why I immediately thought of this book to save from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books BUT... it would appear, after searching the internet, it is not so forgotten.  I found several blogs that wrote about sharing this book with their children.  I even found information on a film adaptation that is in the works.  That makes me happy and sad.  Happy with the possibilities that it could be a fabulous adaptation, sweet and meaningful.  Sad with the thought that it could be an over-the-top modern day adaptation relying on fart jokes and smart-mouth kids for laughs.  I'll remain cautiously optimistic, hoping for the best.  Either way if you are interested in the story or sharing it with your children, I suggest you buy a copy and enjoy it before the film version threatens to ruin it.  But that's just me.  I consider myself a bit of a "book Nazi", requiring reading any book before seeing the movie.

Now back to Shadow of the Wind.  Near the end of the book, there is this quote:

On page 444, "Julian had once told me that a story is a letter the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise."  And on page 484, "Bea says that the art of reading is slowly dying, that it's an intimate ritual, that a book is a mirror that offers us only what we already carry inside us, that when we read, we do it with all our heart and mind ..." 

What fabulous thoughts on reading and writing.  I love when an author presents sentences that feel as if they pierce your heart, take your breath away and make you sit and ponder them.  These ideas combined with the Cemetery of Forgotten Books have me wanting to add this to my already-too-long list of books to read.

What's on your to-read lost?  What book would you save from the Cemetery of Forgotten Books?

Happy St. Paddy's Day,

15 March 2013

For the Love of Blogs

I love browsing blogs.  I love ALL kinds of blogs- mom blogs, style blogs, fashion blogs, craft blogs, food blogs, blogs with lots of writing and blogs with mostly images, blogs written by young, urban singles and blogs written by homemaking country dwellers.  All this blog hopping often has me wanting to be a better mom, dresser, crafter, cook, baker, home decorator, writer, photographer while relocating to the inner city with a weekend home in the country.  All of which has me paralyzed and dazed in front of my computer not sure who I am or where to begin...accomplishing...anything.

Most of the time, however, it is fun to read others experiences and be inspired by new ideas, recipes or even just eye candy.  I found a blog called Eat Drink Chic.  It is a cool design blog hosted by a graphic designer.  My last visit to her blog had me linking to a website called Typo and another called NoteMaker, both perfect for fueling my paper obsession.

While browsing the assortment of notebooks and NoteMaker, I had to laugh.  There is a search that allows you to narrow down what you are looking for.  First is brand.  Well, I don't want to limit myself since I am not familiar with any of the brands listed so I choose ALL BRANDS.  Next comes size.  What size?  Not just small, medium and large, which would be distressing enough.  No!  Those three standards are joined by pocket and extra large.  Don't even look at the options for your cover.  And then there is the debate over ruled or unlined which is actually not a debate for me.  I am too much of an anal perfectionist.  I need those lines to make me feel safe.  So I choose ALL on every option, except ruled and am completely overwhelmed by notebooks.  Of course, this is the first and last notebook I will ever buy.  I am marrying the notebook just like I marry my hair color and coffee creamer.  Then I shake myself back to reality.  An intervention of sorts occurs.  "M'am, step away from the notebook website!"  You aren't even really going to buy one of these, Dina!  You would never buy a notebook you couldn't see and touch in person.

You can see the fun of browsing through blogs.  How else can you feel completely inadequate, totally inspired and in need of an intervention to stop your hyperventilating without leaving the comforts of home all in one afternoon?


10 March 2013

Steps, big and small

Sunday mornings are such a treat.  Coffee, computer and time.  Sweet, sweet time.  No rushing out the door.  No lunches to make or permission slips to sign.  Weekday mornings are a flurry of activity.  Saturday mornings are a bit of a flurry as well with a teenager who has a job and dance lessons for almost everyone else.  Sunday mornings are when all the dust settles.  Sure there's Mass but 10:30 seems so blessedly late when compared to other mornings.

Last Sunday I was reading one of my favorite Mom blogs and she mentioned a program she had started which included a link.  I was intrigued and followed it.  The program is called Couch to 5K.  It didn't take me long to decide this is just what I have been looking for.  My brother-in-law shared a website called Zen Habits as part of his New Years' resolutions.  It is a great blog about forming habits slowly and thoughtfully.  I am really enjoying it.  So far, however, I have been enjoying the IDEA of starting a new habit but haven't had the courage to actually pinpoint something and start.  Well, Couch to 5K was just what I needed.  It follows the principals of Zen Habits, forming the running habit slowly.  The plan is all laid out for you so there is no thinking about it which for me leads to also thinking about NOT doing it.  There is an app on my phone that tells me what to do every step of the way.  DING!  Begin warm-up now.  DING!  Begin walking now.  DING!  Begin running now.  It's fabulous.  The best part is I convinced my 14-year-old to do it with me.  Mom-Daughter time and getting into shape.  Who could ask for more?  Well, me...

I decided to take this plan a few steps- well, miles actually- further.  I had been inspired by a friend's post on Facebook about her participation in the Disney Princess Half-Marathon.  I liked the IDEA of having a goal, especially a fitness one and seeing it to completion but had no idea how to even begin.  The Couch to 5K program has all the steps to get you first to 5K then to 10K then half-marathon.  So, we have set our sights on participating next February.  It's just shy of a year away, a very doable goal.  Yet, it isn't so far off as to lack real motivation.  Today is day 3, which sounds so silly but as the saying goes,

 The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Now if only I could find the Couch to Novel website with mobile app that walks me through writing a book...