I ripped (literally) this essay by David Gordon out of the New York Times Magazine months ago and have been carrying it around in a folder of random things about writing. It makes me laugh every time I read it.
“Big in Japan.” New York Times Magazine, January 10, 2014.
Yeah, my friends also barely ever applaud for me….
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?
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.
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.)
I found this amusing. And a little upsetting. I’m not sure that I actually say that 2-letter word a lot — but as evidenced by my other blog, I sure use it a lot…. Will attempt to eradicate it from future writing efforts. God knows, bloggers must be seen as “credible”.
“How a Popular Two-Letter Word is Undermining Your Credibility” Fast Company
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.