Period.

I enjoy Paul Mackie’s Pop Culture Lunch Box because I like the way he writes, he does some cool things, and often — not always (e.g. Shangri-La) — I like the same stuff he likes.

One post in particular sticks with me — much to my surprise it made me think “Why, Paul’s not just a good writer, he must be an awesome dad!”

In it he explains that — since he grew up up one of three boys  — the arrival of his daughter inspired him to maybe try to understand girls a bit better. How to understand girls better, you might ask? Why, read Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, of course. I love that reasoning.

Judy Blume a Must Read for Pre-Teen Girls (and Boys, For That Matter)

Pre-teen me was a huge Judy Blume fan — I still vividly remember buying Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret at the Glenbrook Mall bookstore (and feeling so clever, but a little guilty, that my mom thought it was a-young-girl’s-guide-to-praying type of book). I hadn’t thought much about Judy or her books in years – except to continue to be surprised that her books still keep her on the American Library Association’s  list of “Most Challenged Authors“. Seriously? Still?

However, not too long ago I was driving along half-listening to NPR and out of the blue JUDY BLUME herself was speaking — about Margaret and all her other characters — and I had to pull over because I started crying. Wow. Where did that come from? I guess there’s still some pretty deep rooted emotional reaction to her writing in my desiccated ole middle-aged heart. And if that’s not a great compliment to an author, I don’t know what is.

Now, Paul, since I grew up one of two sisters and have shockingly ended up mom to three of these goofy creatures called boys — what’s the one book I should read to get a handle on their psyches?

 

Show it!

I have a wonderful little resource to suggest to anyone working creatively who’s wondering “How do I get my stuff out there and get noticed?”. I am in love with this inspiring — yet also just chock-a-block full of practical tips — book:

Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon

Here’s the Amazon link, but I found my copy serendipitously while wandering around downtown St. Louis’ fabulous independent bookstore: Left Bank Books.

I have never underlined and starred and exclamation-pointed (new word?) a book so much in my life. I could share a tip or two with you, but just go get the darn thing! It’s not expensive; it’s super fun to read; and it will give you some fresh ideas about how to share what you love to do (and benefit from that sharing).

Okaayyyyy, twist my arm… here’s one tip [p.67]: “If you get one thing out of this book make it this: Go register a domain name. Buy www. [insertyournamehere] .com”

OF COURSE, I like that suggestion. Setting up bethbehrendt.com was one of the very first things I did when I decided to go all out on writing. And nobody else told me to do it, and I wasn’t really sure why I did it, and I’m still not really sure what I’m doing with it…. But it’s mine. And as Austin writes, “Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine. Online, you can become the person you really want to be….Whether people show up or they don’t, you’re out there, doing your thing, ready whenever they are.”

I am ready whenever you are.

 

 

Christina.

Half-sister (sorta). Eclectic reader (definitely). Book blogger (finally)!

My cousin, Christina, has always read the most interesting books. She is my go-to-gal for recommendations. And she’s finally blogging about the great stuff she reads at:

The Book Broad

Oh, and I say she’s my half-sister not because of some kind of weird “I am my own grandpa” story in our family, but because our dads are identical twins — we have half the exact same genes! (Right? I’m a writer, not a geneticist.)

 

A blog.

For writers. For readers. For readers who like to read about writers. For writers who like to read about readers.

And, frankly, for me.

I constantly run across articles about reading, writing, and language that I find fascinating — or at least highly entertaining. I want so badly to share them — it pains me to keep them to myself.  I bookmark them or tear them out of whatever old-school-format reading material I’m holding (unless it’s from the library — I know I will rot in librarian purgatory if I ever tear, or even dog-ear, a page from something from the library). Then I wonder: “How can I remember to reread this wonderful thing? How can I remember to share this piece of awesomeness with someone else?”

While gazing at my sadly neglected food blog realfoodfor5.com — I was pondering why it’s just not as adorable as it used to be.  And — probably using the same poorly fashioned reasoning behind the arrival of a lot of 2nd children — I thought, “I know. I need a NEW blog!”

Don’t get me wrong — I will always love my first blog. I still love thinking and writing about food (and cooking and eating it, too). I won’t neglect it. But now that I am trying to actually make a living off of these writing shenanigans, I think about writing ALL THE TIME. I get a charge out of reading anything about the art, process and general craziness of this “profession” and the people who populate it or enjoy its labors.

The first thing I want to share with you — not because it’s the best or the most important — it’s just something I enjoyed reading today. AND it’s Diane Keaton. Diane Keaton chatting about books — somehow finding a way to wrap sadness, silliness, architecture, memories and a book about penises all into one chat. What is not to love?

“Diane Keaton: By the Book.” The New York Times Sunday Book Review. May 1, 2014.