To All The Books I’ll Never Read

In my younger, more vulnerable years, I used to keep a list of all the books I read. I took pride in this, took pride in counting how many books I read in any given year.

I was one of the few who liked to read. It was a secret pleasure of mine, but as soon as I hit the thousand books milestone, it’s lost its charm to me forever.

Maybe I’ve read twice as many books so far, maybe I’m not that good at counting anymore.

In any case, there are billions of words I’ll never get to read. Millions of books, stories, poems, plays, and essays that I’ll never even know about.

I do my best to read two books a week, and if I were to…

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Showcase: Georges Seurat

Georges-Pierre Seurat (1859–1891) was a French artist and painter, known for his vibrant colors and the use of tiny brushstrokes of contrasting colors. His intense interest in line, color, color theory, and optical effects formed the basis of Divisionism, whereas the use of layering small brushstrokes and dots formed the basis of Pointillism. His iconic late 19th-century painting, A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte (1884), paved the way for the initiation of Neo-impressionism. 

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TMM: The Unreal

the unreal

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.” 

Chuck Palahniuk

Life’s all about cause and effect. A man without a cause has no effect on the world. A man without a cause crumbles under the pressure of the mundane. Day in and day out he struggles to find a purpose, a reason, a battle worth fighting. He feels as if wasting time, as if something bigger than himself is always running away, day after day after day.

No man is an island, and a way a man sees himself will affect the way he sees those around him. Those he wants to love. Those he wants to save. Those he wants to protect.

And a man must, at times, be willing to sacrifice who he is in order to do any of those things.

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How to Improve Your Writing… Right Now

Many of you would love to write better short stories or poems, more compelling blog posts, more intriguing articles. And you’ve probably heard all the old advice by now. Practice makes perfect. Get your 10,000 hours in. Just show up and write.

And of course, these are all great ideas, but implementing them takes a lot of time. It’s not like you can write for 10,000 hours in a week or so. It’s not physically possible.

Or as they say…

What if I were to tell you there are a couple of ways you can improve your writing right now? No years and years of practice required.

What would you say?

Well, you’d be glad you decided to read this post. 

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Dictionary of Unusual Words

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Words and language are at the core of our identity, they allow us to define ourselves, to share our stories, and they are essential to our ability to communicate with others.

This means that there are some words out there that are impossible to translate from one language to another, or describe incredibly particular feelings, objects, or states of mind.

So, without further ado, here’s a collection of some of the most unusual words we use.

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Book Review: The Woman with the Bouquet by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt

In his new collection of stories, Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, author of The Most Beautiful Book in the World, probes the paradox that the events that shape our lives are often the stuff of dreams, yet nonetheless true. Humor, tenderness, irony, and exquisite writing have always been the hallmarks of Schmitt’s work. Here, he adds a pinch of philosophy.

In one story, a lovelorn writer seeks refuge in Ostende, a remote and charming town on the North Sea. His host is a solitary and eccentric octogenarian. The fairy-tale setting starts to work its magic and the old woman begins to tell her tale—an extraordinary story of passion. Bewitched by what he hears, the writer can no longer distinguish what is real from what is not, and in the woman’s account he will finally find a response to his own deep-seated grief. Here, as in the other stories in this collection, Schmitt displays the combination of stylishness and insight into the human condition that prompted Kirkus Reviews to write of his tales that they “echo Maupassant’s with their lean narratives, surprise endings, mordant humor and psychological acuity.”

It is said that there’s no creature that does not try to escape reality. There isn’t a living thing endowed with a central nervous system that does not dream. The brain is what is called an exclusion system: its purpose is to decide what information is important and what is not. There is so much information in the world that we’d go mad if we tried to understand it all.

What does this have to do with this collection of short stories?

Well, because the characters in each of the stories have this in common: they want to escape reality, they are looking for a shelter against it. If you ever felt this gnawing sense of fear at the thought that you are simply waiting for life to happen to you, if you daydreamed to the point of it becoming an obsession, then this is the book for you.

Reality cannot be negotiated with, but our imagination can be bargained with; our dreams can show us a world that will never come true.

But that never stopped us from dreaming and wishing our dreams would, somehow, come true.

The Woman with the Bouquet is one of the most intriguing compilations of short stories I have ever read.

TMM: A Lonely Job

“An artist is always alone – if he is an artist.” – Henry Miller

Writing is a lonely job, no doubt about it. And no matter how successful you might become, you’re still alone. It’s the inexorable truth of the writer’s condition: you sit at your desk, in an empty room or in the most crowded coffee shop, yet you’re alone. You just do your thing.

Of course, this poses a rather interesting question: if you spend that much time alone, how do you find stuff to write about?

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