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Posts Tagged ‘books’

Creative Sleep and Stephen King

In Freelancing, Writing on October 14, 2013 at 12:58 pm

stephenking_writing

The Art of “Creative Sleep”: Stephen King on Writing and Wakeful Dreaming

 

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Which is the “Most Massively Useful” the E-Book or the Towel? *

In Inspiration, Random, Writing on April 22, 2013 at 10:11 pm

I have shelves and shelves and boxes on boxes and piles of books. Saying I have a lot of books just doesn’t cover it. I have collected books over the years because they hold a story or information that I may one day need or want to read. I don’t own any books that I haven’t read except for a few that I have on my desk and nightstand that I am in the process of reading. Oh, there is also one in the car. I also have a Kindle and on my Kindle there are more books. Over one hundred novels and non-fiction books are stored on this one small device with a purple leather cover.

I adore both forms of the written word but here is what I have found. When I want information most of the time I hit a few keys on my keyboard or I browse the internet from my phone. Unless it is something very specific that is hidden in one of my many tomes, I usually can find the information that I need out on the World Wide Web.  As a person that is for the most part self-taught and 50 years old, I remember visiting the library whenever I had a question or wanted to research a subject. I would search through the stacks for the information I needed and sometimes I would find the book, check it out and carry it home. There were other times when the book was not available and I had to request it from another library and within a few days they would send it over. This process would prove frustrating to me when I was impatient for the answers that I was seeking. Now I push a few buttons and there is my answer.

The point I am trying to make is that I agree with Neil Gaiman. Amazon and Google are not the enemy. Future generations will learn faster and more effectively than ever before. The rate that we absorb information is astounding and ebooks and digital content provide us with the answers we seek almost instantaneously. Do I still want to lay in the bath with a “real” book? Yes. Will I still buy “real” books? Yes. But at the same time I find it fascinating to watch this new era of information gathering grow.

What do you think? Are ebooks and digital content improving our quest for knowledge or giving us too much for our tired brains to handle?

* The towel reference for those of you who don’t know is from The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy By Douglas Adams. Here is the expert ont he towel that I found on WikiQuote

  • The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has a few things to say on the subject of towels.
    A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitch hiker can have.
     Partly it has great practical value — you can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble‐sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a mini raft down the slow heavy river Moth; wet it for use in hand‐to‐hand‐combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or to avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (a mindbogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a bush, but very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.
  • More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: nonhitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, washcloth, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet-weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might have accidentally “lost.”. What the strag will think is that any man that can hitch the length and breadth of the Galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through and still know where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.
  • Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

towel

Also here is a reminder: Towel Day is May 25th. Participants carry their towel with them all day to honor the late great Douglas Adams.

BTW I have this book on my book shelf.

They’ll see how beautiful I am And be ashamed— I, too, am America.: Our Power is Our History

In Inspiration on April 14, 2013 at 10:06 am

It’s odd how some days have a natural theme of their own. Unintentionally you are surrounded with information that is all tied together. Yesterday was such a day. Yesterday’s theme was racism.

Earlier in the day I came across a reading of Still I Rise by Maya Angelou, this lead me to follow other YouTube links. In college I studied African-American history and literature. When I home-schooled my daughter I taught her much of the same. To me I think my fascination with this history is the strength of the human spirit. The beauty of the soul that continues to have hope in the direst of circumstances enthralls me. I came across a PBS special on a remarkable book and its background. Its title is simply, Slave Songs. The songs of slavery offer inspiration, painful naked truth and many were used to hide codes to lead escaping slaves.

 Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

HISTORY DETECTIVES | Slave Songbook | PBS

Here are a few:

McIntosh Country Shouters preform Adam in the Garden

Louis Armstrong: Go Down Moses

Black Gospel Quartet Singing: Roll Jordan Roll (Acapella)

And my favorite

Hazel Miller – This Little Light of Mine

There are so many more songs that I haven’t mentioned.

Still on YouTube I also found some wonderful videos about the period in history known as the  Harlem Renaissance. There was I. Too, one of my favorite poems. This is a very powerful poem by Langston Hughes, an incredibly talented man. Then there is one of my favorite authors of all time, Zora Neale Hurston,  read “Sweat” .

I, Too by Langston Hughes

The History of the Harlem Renaissance

Biography of Zora Neale Hurston

Today there is a book signing in the small town of Mount Dora, Fl. it’s a book about a dark part of Florida history. The book is called “Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America  by  Gilbert King  More of the  story of the Groveland Boys can be found on PBS’s site, The Legacy of Harry T. Moore “.This part of Florida’s racist history is a fascinating and terribly sad story.

Then there was a conversation I had with a friend. She is a beautiful 25 year old woman and she also is an amazing artist and one of those people that as soon as you meet her spirit attracts you. She is also bi-racial. Here’s what she told me when we discussed race.

“I am so offended when people ask me. ‘What are you?’ What kind of questions is that? What are you? Am I a dog or a freak? Who the hell do these people think they are? I choose to not let my race define me. I am me.” Me being me, I told her to answer, “I am a human being”, and walk away.

Racism is still creeping through our society and eating away at people’s hearts. It disturbs me on a profound level. The only protection we have against evil such as racism and hatred is our history and education. I find it terribly, terribly sad that so many people do not know the African-American history. When I took an African-American literature class the teacher pointed out to the class that I, a white woman in her 40’s and the only white person in the class knew more about their history than they did. She said it was shameful. Sounds harsh but it opened up a door in many of the young people’s minds and they started listening and asking questions. They became my friends and would talk to me about their history and we would discuss the good and the bad. I came away from that class having had the richest educational experience of my life.

One of the things that make me the proudest as a parent is that my children are color-blind when choosing their friends. My son’s best friend growing up was African- American and it wasn’t until years later that my son realized that when he was invited to join in a parade that was planned to celebrate Martin Luther King Day that he was the only white person in the parade. He never noticed. My children choose their friend by their character not their color.

There has been progress made in the fight against racism but there is so much further to go. I hope that in some small way this post has enlightened you, maybe educated you or at least made you think. Whether you are white, African-American, Asian, Latino or any other ethnicity the dark history of our world needs to be studied, if it’s not we are in danger of repeating it. We need to come together as the Human Race.

The introduction video was Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child, it is sung by Rev. Timothy Fleming Sr. at the Rialto Center in Atlanta, Ga.. Powerful.

A Girl Story: Education is Our Only Hope

In Inspiration on March 20, 2013 at 5:00 pm


This is just a portion of the video visit A Girl Story.org for the entire piece. It’s worth it.

In a class that I am taking for Flash another student posted this website as an example of a great use of Flash. I agree. But more importantly it is a reminder of how important education is and how lucky we Americans that we have education readily available.
I get greatly upset when I hear that the powers to be in our government from the county level through to our higher offices cut funding for our schools. That, in my opinion, should be one of the last places that we should cut spending. There is no hope for future generations without education. I also get upset when the best educations are unavailable to some of the brightest minds.
The video above is only the first 14 seconds. You should visit the A Girl Story.org for the full story. If you can donate, if not maybe spread the word.

Would Emmett Till Have Read the book “Wash” by Margaret Wrinkle?

In Inspiration, Writing on February 19, 2013 at 6:53 pm

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I am reading an interesting, thought-provoking book that at times made me feel like someone punched me in the gut and at others took my breath away with tenderness. This book tells of the complicated relationships that occur in a society where it is OK to own another human being.
The book is Wash which brilliantly delves deep into the minds of slaves and their owners in the newly minted United States of America. It blows my mind how she captures their individual voices. I have spent time in African American history and literature studies and I will say that this book should be included in the curriculum for both.
The economics of slavery here and around the world has always been complicated. This book delves picks at the festering sore on the body of a nation that allowed human beings to be a commodity. Richardson, a slave owner who returns after spending years in the Revolutionary War is released from a prison camp to come home to find his farm near ruin. He decides to use his slave Washington as a breeder-for-hire. Imagine that. Wash and the women of other plantations are forced to breed mostly under the watchful sometimes lustful eyes of their captors. Wash is shunned by the women and hated by the male slaves.
There are so many layers to this amazing work that I don’t want to go into here. I would love for you to pick up this book. As I tell my children when we discuss the sad times in our history when we forgot we are human that the only thing that stands between us and another era of hate is our knowledge of the past.
It is important to remember and educate our generations. I read about an incident recently that puts that in perspective for me. Rapper, Little Wayne, included some lyrics in a recent song that mentioned a young man named Emmett Till. If you don’t know who Emmett Till is please take a few minutes and educate yourself on what the hate of racism looks like on a 14 year old boy. The lyrics were very offensive especially to the family of Emmett Till. Stevie Wonder has also spoken out on this incident. In my opinion, if Little Wayne truly understood the history of African-Americans and what his forefathers suffered so that he can have the right to create the lifestyle that he has created for himself, he would NEVER had included Emmett in his song.

I used the story of Emmett Till’s to teach my children what damage racism can do. I believed that by them being shown what happened to someone their own age that was hated solely for the color of their skin that they would understand racism in a more personal way and they do. They are now grown and when I mentioned the Little Wayne controversy they were appalled and saddened.

Read “Wash”, share it with your children, other family and your friends. Thank You Margaret Wrinkle for an amazing journey.
If you do read this book I would love to hear your thoughts.

On The Way To Your Mountain: Neil Gaiman Commencement Address

In Uncategorized on February 18, 2013 at 12:50 pm

This video is inspiring, funny and a must-see if you are trying to do anything. As Neil says, ” When things get tough…make good art.” I don’t strive to be the best, what a weight that would be to carry. I strive to be the best I can be. On that day. Doing what I am doing at that time. If I worked every day to be THE BEST how much work would I get done? I would constantly be erasing, revising, rethinking. I wouldn’t get done what needed to be done. But if I am trying to the best I can be that day, well I can succeed. I don’t allow impossible to exist because most of what I know I taught myself in bits and pieces. I’m not completely uneducated but when someone tells me there is only one right way I usually ignore them and figure out my best way to do that thing. Now there are some things that there is only one way to do them and I try to listen to these instructions or remove myself completely from that situation. These things usually involve fire, weapons, traffic and anything with a warning label.

We all have to find our way and our walk to the mountain takes different path and some of us walk slower than others but hopefully we will get there.

By the way, if you have never read the book Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen. Read it. Wonderfully writing and a great story. This is one of the books that I will always keep on my bookshelf and every once in awhile I reread it so I am reminded what great writing can be.

Last Day to Sign Up For World Book Night!!!!!!!!!

In Uncategorized on January 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

What a wonderful idea. An night set aside to give the gift or reading. Wow.
Here is a link so that you can sign up. Today is the LAST day!

http://www.us.worldbooknight.org/

Orson Wells Speaking About His Friend Ernest Hemingway

In Uncategorized on January 14, 2013 at 11:26 am


Brilliant stuff. One brilliant man discussing his time with another brilliant man. Well worth the few minutes it takes to watch.

On the Way To Your Mountain: Neil Gaiman Commencement Address

In Uncategorized on January 13, 2013 at 11:36 am

This video is inspiring, funny and a must-see if you are trying to do anything. As Neil says, ” When things get tough…make good art.” I don’t strive to be the best, what a weight that would be to carry. I strive to be the best I can be. On that day. Doing what I am doing at that time. If I worked every day to be THE BEST how much work would I get done? I would constantly be erasing, revising, rethinking. I wouldn’t get done what needed to be done. But if I am trying to the best I can be that day, well I can succeed. I don’t allow impossible to exist because most of what I know I taught myself in bits and pieces. I’m not completely uneducated but when someone tells me there is only one right way I usually ignore them and figure out my best way to do that thing. Now there are some things that there is only one way to do them and I try to listen to these instructions or remove myself completely from that situation. These things usually involve fire, weapons, traffic and anything with a warning label.
We all have to find our way and our walk to the mountain takes different path and some of us walk slower than others but hopefully we will get there.
By the way, if you have never read the book Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaimen. Read it. Wonderfully writing and a great story. This is one of the books that I will always keep on my bookshelf and every once in awhile I reread it so I am reminded what great writing can be.

You too can get your own copy of Good Omens by visiting this link: http://amzn.to/UgLv7V

“Notoriety wasn’t as good as fame, but was heaps better than obscurity.”
― Neil Gaiman, Good Omens

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