Monday, January 17, 2011

Reading and Writing Novels

I got a typewriter for my 9th birthday.

It was light brown plastic with a dark brown top, and old fashioned keys that had to be pushed down hard to make the metal lever move. There was no whirring, like my mom's electric typewriter that sat on her side of the desk in my dad's office. It was as simple as they come, but it was MINE.

And I decided that made me a writer.

That summer I would try to act grown up and lay out in the afternoon sun with my sisters, trying to get a tan and be fabulous. But in truth, I was far too antsy to lay there and do nothing. So I would haul my typewriter out onto the lawn, set it in front of me on the blanket, and begin my novel.

It was then I decided I would write short stories instead.

Because coming up with a novel at nine was hard. It took more words than I knew and more patience than I had developed. I remember thinking I couldn't wait for the day when I had something to write about.

In the interim, while I was waiting to live more life so I would have something to say, I instead immersed myself in books. Words melted on my tongue like chocolate and shivered my skin like the tart apple off our trees. Words made me feel emotions I hadn't experienced and took me places I would never travel. I had to wait to be a writer until I had something to say, but I never had to wait to be a reader.

Being a reader helped me know how to fully embrace life. Good authors are still teaching me just that.

I've been a behind-the-scenes-girl for a little while with the Bloom Book Club, and they have just announced the big move of combining Bloom into (in)courage. I'm so honored to be a part of both of these amazing groups, and the fact that they are merging into one is pretty incredible.

The first book selection for Bloom (in)courage sums up all the reasons I hauled my little plastic typewriter outside every day that summer. Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts is a book that does for me now what I wanted books to do for me at nine years old.

Her writing melts on my tongue, it provides shivers of recognition and conviction... her words are ones where, after reading a sentence, you go back to read it again just to let it sink into your brain.

Jessica has called Ann anointed. I can't think of a better word for her or her writing. She makes me ready to immerse myself in a book once again.

If you want to join us [you can find the new page here], you can purchase Ann's book through the (in)courage/Dayspring site, and participate in the discussion on the Blog Frog forums. Jessica, Angie and Ann have already made videos discussing the chapters, so you'll be able to hear about the book from the voice of the author herself. It's a pretty incredible experience.

I really can't wait. And I already know her words will spark a post or two here, as she always gets me thinking. Thankfully, technology has created typewriter keys that are a lot easier to type on than the old plastic model, but I'm still sticking with short stories.

Because, apparently, novels don't get any easier to write as you get older. ;)

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