Books From My Closet

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Writers: The Wanderers of Life

elizabeth_gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert

Hello Dear Followers,

I am on vacation this week so I thought I would drop in and write a new blog post.  I am currently re-reading “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I promise this blog won’t turn into an Elizabeth Gilbert fan page, I am still in the midst of finishing her new book, “Big Magic.”

I stopped “Big Magic” to return to “Eat, Pray, Love” for some life advice.  I assume many of you know, she keeps an active Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts, so I follow her regularly on all three.

I love reading her words of wisdom daily or almost daily and trying to figure out how to infuse what she tells us into my own life.  She is so wise.

I read “Eat, Pray, Love” for the first time around the time when it came out, in 2006.. I read it because it was the book to read at the moment.  But I never soaked in what she was trying to say in her book.

This time around, I read it again because I needed to.  I needed my dosage of Liz on a grander scale than just her daily posts on Facebook.  I needed her mentoring about life.  I wanted to know how she went through some tough times and got through, what was her method?

(Spoiler Alert ahead!)

Anyway, she recently announced that she was getting separated from the man she met in the last chapter of “Eat, Pray, Love.”  It was shock to all of her followers I am sure.  But it made me applaud her, she always ran to the beat of her own drum, a wanderer of sorts through life.  She was inspiring.

I then began to look back at other writers I loved in my life… with the exception of Laura Ingalls Wilder,  most of my favorite writers weren’t married.   Jane Austen, not married.  Louisa May Alcott, to my research… never married.

Liz was married once, and now this would be her second marriage.  These famous writers have something in common – independence.  They are strong enough in their own minds and hearts to carry on their own away from the confines of marriage.  I applaud them.

So many women these days, particularly women my age (33 and older)  feel that it is a must or be viewed as some sort of failure in life.  I am not married, even though I so want to be, but I also enjoy this life.

I am a successful writer, living on my own doing my own thing… I have good friends and family. I have accomplished a lot in my life.

I don’t pretend to know the reason behind Liz’s separation from her husband, it could be a myriad of things, but I still applaud her strength and ability to move forward with her life.

I applaud all of the other authors before her too, that found the strength to remain independent in their own lives and in their craft.

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

150 Pages of Big Magic

Hello Dear Followers,

Big MagicIn the short time I’ve followed author Elizabeth Gilbert, (particularly after “Eat,Pray,Love” came out),  I realized she isn’t just some author she is a good friend.  So it is no wonder when she wrote the following words that I thought of my dear friend who has been imparting the same exact wisdom that Liz is bestowing upon those reading her wonderful book “Big Magic.”

The passage that struck a chord with me is this:  “Let people have their opinions. More than that, let people be in love with their opinions, just as you and I are in love with ours. But never delude yourself into believing that you require someone else’s blessing (or even their comprehension) in order to make your creative work.”  

The line that struck me is this (wait for it) – “And always remember that people’s judgements about you are none of your business.” 

Done.

For me personally, this doesn’t only speak volumes in terms of my “creative work” but also in my personal life.  I have struggled tremendously with this over the years, and as I have gotten older I realized that I can’t stop anyone’s opinions no more than anyone can stop mine.  So why bother getting all bothered by it?

When I read this entire passage, I said,  “what did my friend have a chat with Liz about this?” Because she has been telling me those exact words forever.  And I still don’t think I can wrap my head around it.

Of course Liz had some other wonderful passages to share with her readers, but I will not give it away because you definitely need to take the time to immerse yourself in her book, especially if you are like me who is trying to live a creative life though writing and reading regularly.

To add to the passage above, here is another line I love – “It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to. Actually don’t even bother answering, just keep doing your thing.” 

Until next time folks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Cat for Cathy

Hello Dear Followers,

It’s been a while since my last post, but I wanted to share with you a new author that has recently published her first children’s book titled “A Cat for Cathy” by Theresa Miller with illustrations by Christina Sanchez.

It is simply a delightful book for children and adults alike will definitely enjoy.

It tells the story of eight-year-old Cathy who wanted nothing more than a pet cat.  She didn’t think her parents would get her one, so she hatches a plan to get one. Cathy finds a stray cat and took her home in hopes her parents would let her keep it.  But little does she know, her Dad has a bigger surprise for her.

I enjoyed the book so much, and I think any parent who has experienced their child wanting a pet will enjoy this too.  Who doesn’t remember being a kid and wanting a pet and trying everything you can to get one?  I certainly do!

What I also loved about this book were the illustrations by Christina Sanchez.  It is vibrant and alive and really catches the true essence of the story.

Theresa Miller isn’t just a book author, she is also a wonderful co-worker of mine, and I just found out she was an author a few weeks ago and thought I would give her a little shout out here on my book blog.  I thought the best way for me to do that was to interview her myself, so here you go and enjoy!

A Cat for Cathy

 

DF: What made you start writing?

TM: At a young age I enjoyed reading. I remember in middle school, I picked out a book by Langston Hughes and I loved it. I can’t recall the name, but his poetry made me want to write. I started then. Whenever the teacher gave us an assignment to write an essay or story on a topic, my stories were always considered way to long. I remember one time the teacher said, great story but too long. Try cutting it down, I always thought if I cut it down, then there’s no story. That was the hard part. But at home I kept a notebook and just wrote, whenever something popped in my head, no matter what time it was I had to write it down. I have folders and folders of my poetry and other stories.

DF: Where did your inspiration come with “A Cat for Cathy?”

TM: I was visiting my mentee one day and she didn’t want to read. She was having a bad day. I said alright, how about I tell you a story. She said ok. I starting making up a story about a little girl that wanted a cat. My mentee said, hey you’re not reading out of a book. I said I know, it’s coming from my brain. She said I like it. At that very moment, I said to myself, hmm…if she likes it then what other child would. That’s how A Cat for Cathy was started.

DF: What have you enjoyed most about writing this book?  And Why?

TM: Thinking of different ideas, how to organize the book. Thinking of how Cathy should look as well as the cats. I rewrote the middle part several times. I wanted something that I knew I did as a child, and what my nieces and nephews did when they really wanted something. My older son wanted a toy so bad when he was young and I remember stick figure pictures on my dresser and he placed one in my purse one time. Those memories made me rewrite the middle. How Cathy came up with her game plan.

DF: What message do you hope to convey with this book and books going forward?

TM: I want children to be able to read about different experiences that children may go through. But enjoy the story as well. Every child has a story to tell. This story may relate to a child who actually thought of doing this or actually did.

DF: What do you think children and parents alike will enjoy about this book?

TM: How Cathy was determined to get a cat. How you don’t give up on what you want in life. How Cathy and her mother hung flyers about the cat she found in the park.

DF: When you aren’t writing, what are you doing?

TM: Reading. I love to read. Barnes & Noble and I are the best of friends.

DF: What was your favorite children’s book?  And Why?

TM: I can’t just give one answer. I will say this; my author when I was a child is Judy Blume. I loved her books. From Freckle Juice, Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Superfudge and many more. Her books were exciting and I remember waiting for the book order form that was handed out in class and I always ordered her books.

DF: What are your plans going forward?

TM: Going forward I plan to continue writing more children books. “Andy’s Ant Farm,”  my second book, is with my editor now. That should be available in March or April. While that is being edited, I am currently writing my third.

DF: Is there a part of this book you want to highlight?

TM: Yes, when Cathy finds the stray cat. I wanted children to know how important it is to find the owner. The fact that flyers were hung and a number was given, it showed that she tried, but more importantly they gave Forrest a home.

DF: What advice would you give other aspiring writers?

TM: Keep writing. Don’t give up. There is always a way to get your stories out. If you tried to get published, but received letters or an email saying no, not interested. Don’t give up. Keep going and keep writing. I did self publishing. I read up on it, I watched videos on you-tube. My support system, my family, encouraged me. Once A Cat for Cathy was completed, they were amazed, shocked and I was told it’s about time. Never give up and let a no discourage you.

Theresa’s book is available as an e-book on Amazon.com.  I also strongly encourage you  to visit her Facebook page  “Reesee Books”  too!

The Next 50 Pages of Big Magic

Hello Dear Followers,

As I read the next 50 pages of “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, so many thoughts came to my mind.  This book,  is very much like a tutorial on living a creative life and has been at times all over the place with thoughts and ideas that it was often hard to keep up.

Here are some main points that caught my eye that I think are worth sharing:

Read more…

The First 50 Pages of Big Magic

Hello Dear Followers,

Today is a good day!  Author Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book “Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” has arrived and it is simply wonderful!

Of course, I had to have it today, I couldn’t wait one more day for it, so after work I ran to Barnes & Noble and grabbed my copy.  Let me let you in on a little secret, Amazon has one coming to me on Sept. 29, but I couldn’t wait that long and what is wrong with having two books?

I didn’t want to wait to read it either, while I am in the middle of many other books at the moment,  I simply had to start reading and devouring Liz’s book.  And so far it is excellent.  Big Magic

It is an easy read filled with anecdotal stories and inspiration.  And I swear I can hear her as I am reading this book, I hear her humor and wit.

For those of you that haven’t started reading it yet, (because you aren’t crazy like me who ran through a mall parking lot quickly grabbed the book and ran back to her car before the meter maid could ticket her), I won’t give too much away.

But here are some things you should know from the first 50 pages of the book:

  • Embrace your fears about creativity, understand that they will join you on your journey, but never under no circumstances let them direct your path.
  • Be brave and have “stubborn gladness” in your pursuit for creative living.
  • We all have “buried treasures” within us that are just waiting to be discovered if we want to.
  • Fear is boring. It only has one single message. (I won’t tell you what that message is – read the book and find out!)

So far ( as most of her fans figured) Liz shines and she is a true hero to us all.  I strongly encourage you to pick up “Big Magic” tomorrow and get started on reading it.

Until next time!

My Journey to Self-Love

Hello Dear Followers,

I know I have slacked big time on keeping up with this blog, and I always promise to get back here and read a book a month, but time is just not with me these days. I am involved in so many things that taking even 45 minutes to read is a huge feat.  So of course I’ve decided to write a book.

Because you know, we all have the time to do that?  Mine is a non-fiction book on self-love.  I am writing it because at 32-years old, I realized it’s time to love myself.  While I am no where near the end of my journey, very much at the beginning with some challenges still ahead,  I am keeping notes of thoughts, experiences, what I hear – anything and everything I’ve doing that is a devotion to self-love.

I don’t expect to write and publish anything that is drastically different that what is probably already out there, but I am not worrying about that, this is my journey and what is already out there does not matter to me. I am on a path where I want to not only help myself, but help others as well. I don’t think of myself as the best writer nor am I the worst, but if even one single thought on this subject can help another person’s life, I am willing to try.

Also, this book won’t be ready anytime soon, I am in the research phase, I am in the phase of listening and experiencing and talking to people about it.  It could be a few years before this book sees the light of day, if at all.

For a few years now I have struggled on a topic for a book, I had originally wanted to write a fiction novel, but that didn’t feel right, not yet anyway.  This topic, feels right and I am excited about it. So I must continue on this journey, right?

I don’t force anything with what I am writing, if a thought comes to me that I want to be part of the book, it gets written down.  It is really a book of the senses at the moment, I don’t have a formula or a real outline like most authors do.

I have a rough idea of how I want this book to look and feel and be, but all of it is still in very preliminary.

Several people have told me I should be a teacher and that I should or am destined to write a book, and I feel like this is my chance.  So I am moving ahead and doing it.

The reason I am writing this post and revealing to you what I am writing is because I need your help.  I want to hear about what you think self-love is? How would you describe it? What are some of the challenges you face with it? What have been some of the rewards from the practice?  What have you learned most about self-love that you didn’t know before?  I want to hear it all.

Please feel free to comment below and share your thoughts with me.  Thank you!

Daniela

The Book Barn!

Hello Dear Followers,

I know it is has been a tremendously long time since I last wrote. I will admit life definitely gets in the way of reading and writing for pleasure.  Today I went to wonderful new place called the Book Barn. I am sharing this because it was truly a wonderful experience.

The shop is located in Niantic, CT and is a used bookstore. But this isn’t just any used bookstore, it is four shops under the same name right by the ocean. I instantly fell in love!  IMG_5629

It was a treasure trove that you must definitely spend some significant time in, I suggest an entire day if you can.  I started my day at the Book Barn’s downtown shop for a few minutes, before I ventured off down the street to the Main Barn.

I spent several hours in the Main Barn, just quietly looking at every possible book I could, I didn’t want to miss a thing!  My friend who was with me today had been speaking about this place for years and I had never gone with her until today. I can now understand what the fuss was about.

This is definitely a bibliophile’s dream!  If you are like me, who doesn’t enjoy reading digitally, but has a strong marriage with the smell and feel of new and old books,  I strongly recommend doing this for yourself!

Lately, in the midst of all that is going on in my life, I have been trying to take a lot of time doing stuff I enjoy and make me happy.  I feel it is very important for your heart and soul.

After I spent a significant amount of time at the Main Barn, I went up the road to Store 4 3/4, a small shop that is really an extension of the Main Barn.  Not finding much there, I went back downtown to the Midtown Shop before coming back up again to the Main Barn and making sure I hadn’t missed anything.

The rest of the day spent eating good food and finishing up exploring the rest of the shops!  I will definitely be back! I also encourage if you are spending any time in Connecticut, that you stop by this quaint beach town and the the Book Barn!

Until next time!

Elizabeth Gilbert: A True 19th Century Writer!

Hello Dear Followers,

I finally finished “The Signature Of All Things” by Elizabeth Gilbert and words can’t describe how much I enjoyed this book! I have not read a book that carries the reader from birth (or pre-birth) to death like Liz does.  What I loved about reading this book, is that it even though it is a big book (500 pages) it reads so easily and surprises you when you least expect it.

When you’re reading Liz’s book, you can’t help but feel as if you are reading a 19th century writer, she got the voice of her characters perfectly and brings you into the story to a point where you find yourself thinking about it for hours after you’ve stopped reading.

For those that don’t know anything about this book, it tells the story of Alma Whittaker, a 19th century botanist that comes into her own in the world of plants and evolution.  I really connected to this character, and I have to admit at first I didn’t think this would be possible, given all the mention of science.  But it reads so easily that you won’t be able to put it down.

Liz definitely did her homework when it came to the research for this book, I can only imagine what went into learning all there was to learn about mosses and botany as a whole.

I will say that throughout reading the book, there was such a sad undertone, so many of the characters, especially Alma had made so many sacrifices in their lives and lost so much.  You will have to read it to understand more about what I am talking about here.

This book is definitely worth a re-read and it is definitely a book that belongs alongside books like “Pride and Prejudice,” “Jane Erye” and “Wuthering Heights.”  Liz is the master of the written word and deserves a major applause for this book!  I can’t wait to see what she will be writing next!

Until next time!

Books From My Bedroom…

Hello Dear Followers,

When I began this blog a few years ago, my books were in my closet, (hence the name).  Recently, or three months rather, I moved out of my home with my parents and went out on my own, bringing all of my un-read books with me.  After three months, I finally found a bookshelf and my books are on display.

They aren’t in my closet anymore collecting dust begging to be read, but front and center in my new bedroom.  As I was putting my books on the shelf yesterday, I began to wonder what would people think of my book choices that sit here?

I love history so there are books about Abraham Lincoln and other biographies of major influential people in my collection, I love Nicholas Sparks novels so there is some of that in there too.  I have the classics like “Charles Dickens” and “Jane Eyre” and “The Grapes of Wrath,”  these were books I had always wanted to read, but never did until now.

I have books that are trending at the moment, like Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of all Things.” Last night before I went to bed I counted how many books I actually that are un-read and including the ones on my iPad, I have 162 un-read books.

You can say I have a bit of an obsession, but lately I have to admit I have neglected this blog and the purpose of it.  The other day I met Elizabeth Gilbert again  and when I come across other authors that I favor (Louisa May Alcott, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Mitch Albom etc…)  I felt the thirst to return to my creative side.  The side the writes her thoughts down, the side that reads regularly.

I can’t make any promises because I have broken so many with this blog, gosh, I hope I still have followers!  Oh! and I am not changing the name of this blog because my location changed…:-)

I thought I would share this before I go to sleep tonight!  Thanks so much!

 

Daniela

Newtown

newtownML1-198x300Hello Dear Followers,

It has been several months since I last wrote, ( I have to be honest, I lost my password to this site).  But several months ago I read the book, “Newtown: An American Tragedy”  by Matthew Lysiak.  A journalist like myself,  he spent several months following the attacks learning all he could about the tragedy.

I read this book in less than 24 hours, it was a great book, with the exception of a few mistakes the author made since he wasn’t from Connecticut or checked his facts regarding the area in which the tragedy took place.

I read it because I wanted to know more than what I already knew about this horrific event in our nation’s history.  I was one of many journalists living in Connecticut during the time of the shooting that reported on it.  I still remember that day like it was yesterday.

I was actually at home the day it happened,  just had my morning coffee, I was on Facebook when the news broke.  Of course, I immediately called my editor ready to do what was needed to cover this story. My editor had me stay back (I think to protect me from what I was going to see and hear about this tragedy)  my two co-workers were the first in our company to cover the story, while I stayed back and covered anything that was needed for social media.

At the time we didn’t realize how big of an event this actually was, news was coming out in pieces, the numbers of victims were growing and news crews from all over the country wanted a piece of this story.  This small town had now become the focus of everyone’s conversations and fears, laws were being created to prevent a horrific situation like this from happening again in another school.

Sometime during that morning when I had heard the principal had been shot and killed and news reports had released the name of the principal, I realized I knew her.  I had interviewed her numerous times when she had been in another school district before Sandy Hook Elementary.  I had heard her give several presentations during board of education meetings,  I wrote the story about her leaving the school district for Sandy Hook.

It was a shock to the system to know that this woman I had seen so many times had been brutally murdered by senseless sick individual.

Like I said earlier in the post,  I thought the author did a great job with the book, he paid close attention to detail. What I didn’t care for was hearing about the shooter’s life and his family’s life and who he was. I didn’t believe that much attention should have been given to someone who deserves no glorification whatsoever.

I almost felt like the reporter wanted us to hear the shooter’s side, like there was some justification for what he did or that we should as the public feel remorse for him and his family.  The shooter and his family deserved none of this.

I understand that when writing a story, any story for that matter, you must tell all sides in order to be accurate, but I felt too much time was spent doing this.  I found myself skipping chapters here and there. I didn’t want to hear about the mother or  her son.

I read the book because I wanted to see how accurate the story would be told, would the author/reporter leave anything out, would he be gracious to this small town that had everyone’s eyes on them for several months.  I do believe he tried his best to tell the story the way he knew how.

After the shooting that cold December morning,  we immediately (my fellow co-workers and I)  went to work. I wanted to do a story about the principal since I knew so many of her friends and former co-workers in the district I covered.

My co-workers covered other aspects of the story,  clarifying rumors that had circulated, trying to get in touch with family members of victims and so on.

While many believed that the media had intruded on this small town, some of us did our best to be respectful despite what the public wants to believe. While so many of us thought it was crazy to see people like Anderson Cooper standing in a town no one would ever know about if it wasn’t for this tragedy,  as Connecticut reporters we felt we needed to tell the story because Connecticut was our home.

Until next time… (sooner than this time I hope!)

 

 

 

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