Posts tagged ‘reading’

November 26th, 2010

Have You Ever Lost It?

by Madeleine Rex

Despite the picture above, today’s been a good day.

It began with waking up to the task of helping a friend decorate for Christmas. I’d slept over at her house for this purpose. It took over three hours to decorate because her house is magical at this time of year. Then, I went home and watched Eat, Pray, Love with my mom. What’s not to love?

It wasn’t until about 20 minutes ago, when I found myself contemplating what to do next, that something dawned on me. Not necessarily like a light bulb flickering to life in my head, but one turning off –

I’ve lost it.

The desire to do homework, tidy the house, bake, read, write. I’ve lost the motivation to do any of the things I used to fill my spare time with. Having four hours on my hands doesn’t bring with it the excitement it used to – the excitement surrounding free time in which to write or read or blog. It’s hard to connect to the me that wrote this – Why I Write – a few months ago.

I’ve lost the motivation to do the thing I thought made me who I was. I say I’m a writer. I think about my book and feel the desire to see it finished, but I don’t want to finish it. I don’t want to edit it. I can’t even fathom how I would if I did want to. There’s not a single person around me who can help with this. No one close – who I have easy access to – that can come over and help me dig in. Can actually sit down with me and give me the advice I need.

I feel terrible. I don’t blog as much anymore. I get home from school and feel like collapsing and doing absolutley nothing. The odd thing is, though, that I hate doing nothing. It’s counterproductive. It’s ending the day before it’s begun.

All summer, I lived in a dreamland. I cleaned the house, did the laundry, exercised, dreamed, wrote thousands of words every day, blogged every day, kept the house in order – in other words, overachieved. The contrast between now and then – when I’m lucky if I get the bird cage cleaned at weekly intervals – is heartbreaking to me. All I do is dream about doing instead of actually doing.

I want so badly to make The Lemonites beautiful. I want to feel as though I’ve accomplished something every day. I want to meet or exceed my expectations of myself. And yet I sit and sit and sit and live life as though it’s all in my head – as though dreaming and thinking about my ambitions and hopes and goals will help me achieve them.

Have you lost your motivation before? Have you ever been horrified by the fact that you can, indeed, do nothing? That you can not do the thing you thought was necessarily for you to live (writing, in my case)? What in the world happened to the person who did so much? Who used to put off meals so that she could finish doing the laundry? Who spent 6 hours a day for one week in the middle of the summer writing? How on earth did my books get written in the first place?

Maybe it’s my lack of guidance and the intimidating prospect of months of editing – a truly foreign concept to me – or maybe it’s that I’m just overtired, but something’s missing. Have you ever lost it, too? And, more importantly, did you ever run into it again?

Just For You:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPnQkFPKtJQ&playnext=1&list=PL71A7DD59CDA2B56A&index=39]

July 18th, 2010

My 2D and Paper & Ink Families

by Madeleine Rex

Please don’t tease me for using Castle examples again. You’re wasting your time. You should be recording re-runs, becoming obsessed, renting season one, watching season two online, and waiting eagerly for season three (because that’s really making good use of your time).

I’m back! Wondering where I was? I had to link that “Castle” up there, wound up on their site, and became engrossed in the Ask Castle videos (there’s some good writing advice in there!). Back to the post…

People make me happier in life than almost anything else. They make living a joy, because loving them makes the entire world seem better. This applies mostly to real people, but characters have nearly the same affect on me. My 2D and paper & ink families add laughter, smiles, and occasionally tears to my life, making it glisten brighter. People, fictional or not, are an integral part of the human experience. We have the ability to love so strongly. It’s an astounding gift, because, when you get right down to it, love is what makes life worth living.

I’m using Castle and Alexis as examples because I frequently tell my dad that they were misplaced. In my ideal reality, they would have been my uncle and cousin. Watching them makes me ache for their friendship. I can’t stop thinking of all the way we’re similar (and, best of all, Castle’s a writer!). They would both fit so well in my family that I feel like they’re missing. Their father-daughter relationship reminds me of the one I have with my dad; the ways I relate to them are never-ending.

I’m a crier. Really. I cry from happiness, excitement, frustration, sadness, etcetera. Oftentimes, I cry when I read or watch a TV show. I become so invested in the characters, so in love with them (not in the romantic way), that watching them go through hard times or happy ones resonates incredibly with me.

As readers, we hone our skills as people-lovers. Have you ever realized that the more a character has at risk, or the more likable they are, the faster we read? The more torn we feel when we’re done? Happy that we experienced what we did while reading but simultaneously wishing we hadn’t read it at all because we miss it so much? Even when the plot isn’t quite thrilling, the characters can hold a story on their own. Reading helps us to appreciate the little things, hold back presumptions and wait to see what people are really like. From reading, we learn that people can change, we witness it happen. We give more people the benefit of the doubt. If we’re not doing these things, we need to. We don’t have an excuse because every book we read teaches us that value of people. Every person is valuable to the story, every person is valuable in our lives, whether to teach us a lesson, to help us strengthen our patience, or to give us more reason to love.

As writers, we have the opportunity to create friends. To add more people to the world. We’re giving readers the opportunity to love more. We’re teaching ourselves about the ins and outs of human nature and giving ourselves the opportunity to appreciate what people are, to appreciate their weaknesses, because we learn that even their weaknesses contribute to their character. Most importantly, we are creating people that will resonate with a reader, give them goosebumps, make them cry, make them laugh, make them love life a little bit more.

These 2D and paper & ink families are crucial. Imagine all the people out there. Tucked within book covers or scripts. People who might just be our meant-to-be cousins. Or our role models. Or mentors, crushes, our bosom friends.

Open a book, read. Turn on the television, watch. Open a Word document, write.

Create people. Meet people. Love them or hate them, but let them contribute something to your life.