Posts Tagged: reading

Two Reasons Why My Brain Might Explode in April

Just sayin’…

Anyone else a gigantic fan?  I’ve been reading the Song of Ice and Fire books for near on a decade now and I LOVE the Game of Thrones series.  So much fun.

As far as Mad Men is concerned, I don’t believe that needs any explaining.

Are we there yet?

How do you entertain yourself?

The Train Ride Home (by RGP)

This is one of my favorite photos I’ve taken to date.  It was shot Christmas day while traveling from my parents house back to Brooklyn and after staring at it for the zillionth time, I started to think about all the things we do to entertain ourselves in transit.

I tend to over pack, but not clothes and necessities.  I over pack my travel bag.  Always and even for short subway trips.  I know if I just bring a book I’ll want to do something else, so I end up with a bag full of knitting, reading, my camera (of course), video games, notebook and pens, etc.  It’s ridiculous.

Especially since I usually just fall asleep or stare out the window.

So,  how do you prepare yourself to travel?  Is a good book enough to keep you busy or are you an entertainment pack rat like me? 

Just my imagination…

The hardest part of this entire learning process I’ve been going through over the last 9 months or so is the attempt to reclaim my imagination. I mean, it’s still there but not nearly as strong as it once was.

When I was a kid, I could view a place like the one pictured above and instantly see a hideout.  I loved hideouts.  I would have made mudpies, beds out of leaves, tables and utensils out of sticks and vines, pretended to fish out of the small pond just to the left (you can’t see that…just imagine it) etc.

Now I simply imagine this because I have before, like an instinct.

So, how do we let go as adults when we’re so overwhelmed with the real world?  Especially in times like these when most of us want to rip out our hair.

Well here’s what I’m doing now, I’ll let you know if it works:

  • Watching fantasy flicks and soaking in all the little details.  For example, last night I watched The Spiderwick Chronicles and said to myself “Why didn’t I think of that?” when they suggest tomato sauce as the best weapon against a goblin.  Or perhaps Harry Potter is more up your alley.   If so, why didn’t you think of a set of stairs that constantly moves and changes or a photograph that comes to life?
  • Reading books I’ve read before like Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter, Eragon, etc. and paying attention to the little things I didn’t before.  Books that are born completely from inside the writer’s mind.  If you’d rather be a little more grown up, try Ursula K. Leguin’s Earthsea series (even non-fantasy readers get a kick out of those) or George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.  The key is a made up world with completely made up characters and circumstances.
  • Playing games.  It’s easy for us to play grown-up games like poker for instance, but when’s the last time you played Hide N Seek?  Thinking about it, a game like that forces you to be creative and hide in a place you think you know every nook and cranny of.   Maybe you don’t after all and there’s a perfect hiding spot you never even considered before.  I mean, have you even been underneath your kitchen table without a broom and dustpan?  Probably not.
  • Last, being completely aware of my surroundings, like a child.  Trying to soak everything in when I take my walks in the park.  Like the hoof prints in the mud from a horse, or the group of mushrooms guarding a path, or the bush with leaves the size of elephant ears, or something as simple as how the sun hits a set of tall trees.

Turning off my grown-up brain is the hardest feat I’ve come across in this creative adventure I’ve put myself on.  Trust me, I’m the first person to auto-think “This is silly.” when I’m forcing myself to do something ‘weird’ and different (like sit under a kitchen table which I have not done yet but now that I mention it maybe I’ll write my next post under there).

The worst thoughts I’ve aquired over the years are that there’s nothing left for me to imagine and doubting that I can ever be that creative again.

That’s grown-up talk.  Remind yourself what you would have done if stuck in an empty room with nothing but a cardboard box and a box of crayons.

Come up with anything interesting?  Tell me about it….

Reading and Writing

Rather than beat myself up for spending all of yesterday reading Blogher updates and being totally unfocused today, I chose to go to the bookstore.  I often peruse the writing section, hoping to find something that isn’t completely full of crap.  I picked up Stephen King’s On Writing  and read one of the first lines:

“This is a short book because most books about writing are filled with bullshit.”


I’m halfway through and it’s had me laughing out loud and even a little teary eyed.  For those who are weary of Stephen King, it’s not what you think.

What’s so different?  It’s not only a helpful book about writing, but a look back into where he came from.  The writing is conversational and forward.  It’s a peek in to Mr. King’s personality which I find surprisingly friendly and relatable.

If you’re at all interested in the art of writing, Stephen King or just a good read, you have to get this.  I am an insanely picky reader and don’t recommend lightly.  Nothing gets me more excited than a book I enjoy so much that I can read it in one sitting. For my multitasking mind, this is zen.

I also picked up a couple Richard Matheson books. I’m a gigantic fan of his.  If you’ve only seen the movie I Am Legend and haven’t read the book yet, I highly suggest you do so. It’s brilliant.

How about you? Any great recommendations?  I’d love to hear them. Always looking for something new!