Reading Lists

I got stuck in a rut earlier today thinking about Albert Camus’ The Stranger. Not a great way to spend your mid-day, post-lunch, I can assure.

The things that have been weighing heavily on my mind – politics (both office and national varieties), what I want out of my “home life”, religion and faith – you know, the big questions, are still unresolved but I bled into that dark place today. Not good.

I contemplated (thought about, not considered joining up) Satanism, Libertarianism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Existentialism and Death. All in the space of about an hour. I was busy.

Where I meted out, personally, was the need to get some definition through perspective and experience. A little existentialist, a little pragmatist. You see, I’m going to Maui a week from Saturday and reading material is a must for plane rides and beach vacations.

Here’s my short list. Hopefully I come away with perspective, if not epiphany, serenity or my own new philosophy.

  • Engleby: A Novel by Sebastian Faulks
  • The new Bond book, Devil May Care, by Faulks under commission of the Fleming family hits bookstores tomorrow. I haven’t read any of his work and want to try something accessible before reading the very pulp-y Bond.

  • Everything Is Illuminated
  • I feel like I should have read this already. Much like The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier & Clay, I’m ashamed to admit that I’m so late to the game.

  • Grey by Jon Armstrong
  • I have an advance reader copy that is begging to be read.

  • Kerouac’s On the Road (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
  • It’s time. I’m on a bit of journey, it was mentioned in Lost and I got a copy for free.

  • Another book of your own suggestion
  • I’m looking for something entertaining (obviously) but one with themes relating to change, movement and self-discovery.

    I won’t laugh at you if you suggest Walden by Thoreau, but I won’t read it.

Happy Reading! (And hopefully happy me soon too, though Hawaii will help regardless of the book).

On Writing

Earlier today I had a chat that challenged my reasoning for wanting/needing to write. I had to discuss my motivations and really think hard about the desired outcome of all this output.

Do I want to be published?
Do I need the validation (to say nothing of wanting it)?
Do I define success already?
Do I do what I do well enough already?
Do I have a process?

There was talk of reading (Imagine that! Folks who want to learn to writer better talking of the bi-product of writing: reading) some helpful texts, specifically Stephen King’s On Writing and Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.

We also tossed around Ficlets (I know; I’m a broken record), bed-side notebooks, blogs, Twitter and “safe places”.

Deep, I know.

I’m focusing on a few key takeaways:

  1. Who(m) else I would include in this circle
  2. Concrete goals for my writing efforts/endeavors
  3. Finding more time
  4. Having more fun
  5. Sharing more of my writing
  6. Planning for additional meetings – both in frequency and length, but also purpose

Which is not to say I’m all business. Notice ‘fun’ is enumerated. That’s a sure sign that ‘fun’ will occur: writing it down on a list.

“You kids will have fun whether you like it or not” kind of a deal.

I also want to focus on the opposite goal: getting something written. Kinda obvious for a guy who wants to be a writer, but hard when I work full-time and have a wife and two young kids.

Still, I have enough snippets, thoughts, stray story-starters and ideas that, when added to my nightly allotment of WoW time should equal productivity in the form of characters, words, sentences, paragraphs and pages.

At least I hope it does.

So here’s to all of that, plus a dash of inspiration.

Writing!

UPDATE: Too many Firefox tabs leads to forgotten links. Here’s some more inspiration.