Didn't love it as much as "Out Stealing Horses". The narrator spends so much time wandering around, and I became confused by the shifts in time/point-...moreDidn't love it as much as "Out Stealing Horses". The narrator spends so much time wandering around, and I became confused by the shifts in time/point-of-view (POV). Re the latter - it wasn't that I was confused as to which time/POV it was, but why the shift had occurred and what dramatic point the shift furthered.
Classic tale of depressed temperament. I love me some depressed temperament. Loved the sense of environment. But just not the story so much.(less)
Erin Hart's meticulous attention to detail - whether in character, place, or plot - transported me to Ireland's bog country. "Haunted Ground" let me g...moreErin Hart's meticulous attention to detail - whether in character, place, or plot - transported me to Ireland's bog country. "Haunted Ground" let me get lost in the layers of a story (two mother-child murders occurring several hundred years apart) -- a perfect motif to the archeologist's careful work of discovery. Ultimately, "Haunted Ground" depicts the devastating, long-lasting impact of family secrets; uncovering the brutal truth behind a family myth is fraught with peril, heartache, and, potentially, healing.(less)
To be honest, I shied away from Jill Jepson’s Writing as a Sacred Path for a long time because I was put off by the title and the concept it suggests....moreTo be honest, I shied away from Jill Jepson’s Writing as a Sacred Path for a long time because I was put off by the title and the concept it suggests. This is not a criticism of Jill, but an indication of my own tastes. I’m as far away from approaching anything mystically/spiritually as it comes.
But something caught my eye in Jill’s introduction to what turns out to be an entirely useful and practical guide to motivating the writer. To paraphrase her: the writer’s impulse, which all writers share, requires a long, often fruitless, labor that is not terribly fun, exhilarating or delightful. We labor alone, and are not a good judge of our output, and often the external judgment is a negative one: the rejection letter.
Our most ardent supporters – friends and family – are not well-positioned to give us what we need: they can’t possibly understand, unless they are writers themselves, why our art makes us crazy.
If they attempt to provide solid criticism, they know they risk our hurt feelings. Even positive feedback from our inner circle can’t be trusted as we suspect people are trying to be nice. So it’s a lonely road.
And an unpaid one. We learn early our motivation cannot come from any external, monetary reward, as the pay for the most part is entirely nonexistent.
Jill characterizes the true source of our writerly drive as a calling, for why else would we insist on the head-banging-against-the-wall experience otherwise known as the writer’s life. That was a revelation to me, and it came at a time when I was down in the dumps about an aspect of my writer’s life, and considering, for the umpteeth time, of stopping the madness.
Jill’s approach helped me understand why, for the many times I’ve told myself I’d never write another word (after the constant piling on of dissapointments, a.k.a., rejections), I’ve come back to my computer, my journal, and find myself at it again. And if this was the only nugget I took away from Writing as a Sacred Path, it’s a great one. I can stop asking myself why I do it. It’s a calling much like some people are called to their faith. In fact, I came away from the book with an insight about faith as well.
But beyond providing salve for a particularly weary writer’s soul, Jill offers a number of thoughtful exercises, some falling into the very basic category (writing by mixing the senses – or synaesthesia ), and others unique (coping with the many forms the ‘demon editor’ assumes, including the internal one) , any of which might help a writer through a block – whether that’s starting from scratch, or revising existing work. The book works for both beginning writers, and those needing fresh inspiration. It would be useful for a handbook of exercises for a writing group.
The ‘exercises’ are labeled as ‘sacred tools’ and I know that the point of doing that is to give that sense of writer’s calling its due respect, but I’d have preferred a less sacrosanct description in this branding-obsessed world. The fact of the matter may be that the truth is I hold the “sacred” in higher regard, it is not a servant of ink-stained mortal pursuits; and perhaps I don’t believe that writing needs a touch of the divine as some kind of endorsement of its worthiness as an avocation.
I may eventually find the idea of a “sacred” path less disagreeable. For now, it’s enough for me to think of my writing obsession for what it is, elevate it to a calling, and use the fresh ideas Jill offers in Writing as a Sacred Path to help me answer that calling. Jill also blogs on the same topic, offering additional fresh ideas and thoughts. http://writingasasacredpath.blogspot.... Jill Jepson(less)
Elling is an anxious neurotic. His roommate, sex-obsessed Kjell Bjarne, is not so much simple-minded as he is single-minded. They are the odd couple o...moreElling is an anxious neurotic. His roommate, sex-obsessed Kjell Bjarne, is not so much simple-minded as he is single-minded. They are the odd couple of released mental patients, Elling the Felix, and Kjell Bjarne Oscar the slob. Both need each other to function normally and the relationship between the two men grows and deepens, in unexpected ways.
As the book opens, they are given their own apartment in Oslo and told to learn how to survive outside the mental institution they've been released from or be forced to return to it.
It's almost a comic novel, but not quite: many humorous moments as the men struggle to cope in the world. But both have beautiful character arcs. The pacing is tight, and, like the best plot-driven novels, the story moves along not so much because things keep happening in their external world, but because both Elling and Kjell Barnes' internal worlds change at a frightening pace and the reader is left wondering if they will make it.
The movie adaptation of the book is faithful to it as well.(less)