That One Book

Writers must be readers. In fact, writers just can’t help but be readers and they’ve probably been voracious readers since they first began sounding out words.

Looking back, is there a book you read that created in you an urge to write a book?

If so, what was it about the book that created the urge?

Where do you get your ideas and inspiration now?

For me, as silly as it sounds, “Alice in Wonderland” had that effect on me. Perhaps it’s the silliness of the writing and the whole story that made it so. Between the ages of 12 and 20 I read the book three times. I also read its companion, “Alice’s Adventures Through the Looking Glass.”

Today, my inspiration comes from hearing another story well-told. From an excellent turn-of-phrase. From watching people simply being the people they are.

We are a glorious lot of humanity with our gifts, our frailties and our idiosyncrasies.

Happy writing.

Ten Things I Can’t Do While Writing And What To Do About Followers

Besides re-blogging a post from another WordPress blogger, I haven’t been busy with The Fruitful Life lately. I haven’t any excuses; just a few reasons.

In March, I spent a week in the hospital and when I got home, spent more than a week catching up. (No details; it’s all too ugly). My life had been interrupted by something that, while necessary, was a pain in the neck. That’s not to say, neck pain was why I was hospitalized, but you get my meaning.

When I told a friend how frustrating it was, she said, “I know your personality too. You needed to have everything back in order immediately, didn’t you?”

She knows me well. That’s why I can call her a friend. However, things didn’t get into order immediately. Since I didn’t have Internet for a while and I was locked out of my laptop to boot, I had to go to the library to use their computers. I told you it was ugly.

A Broken Pencil
I thought about getting back to the blog because I hadn’t posted in so long. I even had a couple of back burner articles to post. But it seemed my pencil had been broken and writing got put on hold a little longer.
broken pencil

To tell you the truth, real life just plain got in the way of the writing life. Members of my writers’ group tell me it happens to them too. I just never thought it would happen to me. So here I am blogging again and I have to acknowledge things that I simply cannot do at the same time I’m writing.

1. Work on my Bible study
2. Engage in a hobby
3. Housework
4. Gab on the phone with my son, daughter and grand kids
5. Listen to the Detroit Tigers on the radio
6. Watch that new release movie I want to see
7. Shop for groceries
8. Sit down and pay the bills
9. Cook and eat a meal
10. Sleep

You may argue that some items on the list aren’t necessary for my household to stay up to snuff. To that I say, “All work and no play…”

Is Anybody Out There?
When I got back onto the blog, I noticed The Fruitful Life had nothing listed under Top Posts & Pages. There had been traffic, but not enough to rate, I suppose. Funny. I took a keen look at Twitter and the number of  ‘followers’ had done some wild stuff there too.

The surge of emails in my absence let me know I had new followers, but the actual number shown on Twitter didn’t reflect that. I’ve never been that great at math, but something didn’t come out right.

Now, I’m not all that concerned with numbers. It’s why I don’t have a counter on my blog or a notice below the Follow button saying how many people do (follow). The Twitter thing was one of those strange deals I just shook my head over. I figured as far as “followers” are concerned, I needn’t get too upset about it.

Not little old me.

Jesus, the sinless Son of God, lost followers too. Because he said some fairly harsh things and some outright difficult-to-understand things, folks stopped following. (See John 6:60-66) I haven’t used the term “brood of vipers.” I haven’t suggested people are going to hell. Nevertheless, I can’t consider myself in the same league as Christ Jesus.

[As an aside, if I really thought about the lives at stake, I would talk about hell. Gently. Accurately. Truth be told, quoting Jesus’ words about hell for a good reason would be more responsible than misquoting scripture to suit my own uses.]

Anyway, since the blog is supposed to reflect joy in my spiritual journey, I needed to write about this period of not facing the page in front of me. Writing is one of those things I feel very strongly God has given me a talent for and a calling to do. Besides, the writing itself gives me joy.

Now that I’m home and the groceries are bought, the laundry’s done, the bills are paid, I talked to my kids, and I even watched a new release movie, my broken pencil is back in action.

You’re certainly welcome to “follow.”

An Offer I Couldn’t Refuse

Susan, the manager at our local library branch knows my book tastes. Through our many conversations, she even knows a lot of the books I’ve read. So when she told me about the release of a book about Harper Lee , I told her to put it on hold for me as soon as it became available.

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

“The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee” by Marja Mills, reveals just about everything we want to know about the author who took her Pulitzer and seemingly disappeared. Over the years, I’d heard her called a recluse. Many asked why, if she was so talented, she didn’t write another novel. People also commented that “If your first novel won such a prestigious award, why bother to write another?”

Deciding to not be out in the limelight was probably just a part of Lee’s personality. Maybe going to cocktail parties and having to answer the same questions repeatedly became wearying to her.

Mills’ book about Nelle (Harper is Lee’s middle name) explains a lot of what people wanted to know. But in her opinionated and straightforward way, Nelle said her life hadn’t really been one of seclusion at all. She began to stay in her New York City home less frequently and eventually moved back home to Monroeville, Alabama with her sister, Alice. She knew the people well in the town where they grew up. Life there seemed to make her content.

Now, exciting news for fans says that another book written by Harper Lee will be released in July. “Go Set a Watchman,” a sequel to  Mockingbird, is creating just as much of a stir as when Lee left the public eye following publication of her prize-winning novel. And the stir doesn’t seem to be all positive.

It seems no one has ever been nor will ever be happy with whatever happens.

“To Kill a Mockingbird,” Harper Lee’s Pulitzer-winning novel published in 1960 is my favorite story. There are many which rank right up there with it, but I’ve read this story three times and I can’t even remember how many times I’ve watched the movie.

For my part, if Harper Lee wrote another book about Atticus Finch and his daughter, Scout, I’m not going to question it. I just hope my friend Susan asks if I’d like to be put on hold for it. How could I say “no”?

It’s an offer I can’t refuse.


Features For Fridays

Beginning tomorrow, February 6, I’ll be featuring a post which moves away from the typical. Features For Fridays will fall into categories that I hope will be ongoing based on my favorite things to do: read, watch movies and cook.

In addition to this little switch-up/addition, there may be a new look to the blog itself. Nothing fancy; I’m just trying to get a handle on some of the mechanics of blogging aside from the actual writing.

This Friday’s feature will probably be about reading. News, a short review and letting you in on what I’m reading right now.

What are you reading right now? What do you like best about it?