Some Notes on What I Read This Week: February 1 Edition

Like most writers, I love to read. L-O-V-E, love. I love reading the way my favorite writer, the late Nora Ephron, loved it: 

Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit order medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.

 From the essay collection I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman

And because I read – a lot – I’m forever finding phrases and lines and quotes and whole paragraphs I want to savor, to pin down and save for all eternity, like a collection of butterflies.  

Instead, I do this: I keep a Word doc on my computer desktop where I “collect” the most skillful, funny, inspiring or beautifully written prose I come across each week. Things that move me, or make me laugh. Things that make me feel sad or envious, because I know I’ll never have the writing chops of someone like Elizabeth Gilbert or Nora Ephron or Sloane Crosley. Things that make me feel blessed beyond all reason, because I get to soak in this work of great writers, writers far more proficient than I at rendering beauty on the page, each and every day. 

Anyhoo, I named this Word doc file “Lit Ephemera,” and when I looked at it recently, I thought, “Hey, I’m gonna make a series of blog posts outta this!” (I think in contractions.) 

These posts are mainly for me, an outlet to “do something” with my collection of favorite passages, quotes, sentences and phrases. I don’t necessarily expect the regular readers of this blog, all ten of you, to follow along, but if you do, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Or suggestions from your own reading list. 

And so here it is, the first “official” edition of Some Notes on What I Read This Week.  

Best quote: “Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.” ~Rudyard Kipling

Damn skippy, Rudy. 

Best headline or ad I saw this week:Lose 175 pounds, FAST!! – Divorce Attorneys for Women,” under a black-and-white image of women working out on old-fashioned exercise equipment from years gone by. 

Now see, there is a business taking a stand for the kind of clients they specialize in, and with a simple, concise and tongue-in-cheek headline, setting themselves apart from their competition instantaneously, with personality and wit.  

The most bizarre and beautiful thing I saw all week, featuring my favorite actor of all time, Jeff Bridges (scroll down past “Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes” and click on “See How Jeff Made It”):

Dreaming with Jeff 

 

Most inspiring passage from an interview with a writer I admire, wherein Elizabeth Gilbert talks creativity: 

What if you feel unqualified, or if you never had the opportunity to learn certain skills that seem essential to the personal creativity you crave? Is it too late to start?

Yes. If you’re not a professionally trained artist, it’s definitely too late to start now. KIDDING! I’m totally kidding! Let me say it once more: Creativity belongs to everyone. I myself do not have a degree in writing, for instance; I learned my craft by practicing my craft every day — which is how people have always learned their crafts. You have every right in the world to express your creativity however you want to, whenever you want to, regardless of whether you are officially certified or not. Start tomorrow. Better yet, start today.

Read more of the interview with Gilbert here:

Elizabeth Gilbert Has a New Book (and We’ve Got the First Look at the Cover!)

 

Book I searched high and low for this week, but couldn’t find in any of my town’s bookstores: Publishing: A Writer’s Memoir, by Gail Godwin 

Books I finished this week: Never Can Say Goodbye: Writers on Their Unshakable Love for New York, edited by Sari Botton, and The Education of Millionaires: Everything You Won’t Learn in College About How to Be Successful, by Michael Ellsberg. 

And there you have it, some notes on what I read this week. Feel free to share in the comments below some notes on what you read this week, or share your own reading suggestions. Many thanks! 

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