Those of us who are writers can enhance our craft by reading. While I don't think I need to tear apart my current choice for leisure literature, I can add to my skills by paying attention to what I love (or hate) about what I read. Francine Prose tackled this concept in her book Reading Like a Writer. You can preview it here. Perhaps it's too pedagogic for your tastes, but maybe it's just what you need to get started.
My basic suggestion is that you read more. Expand your horizons. Use the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon's website to read the first part of a book. How did the author do getting your attention and holding your interest? HarperCollins has a great site for browsing their books--some are fully accessible, others are just a preview. Also look into sites with books online like Bartleby, Project Gutenberg, and The Book Depository (my book is available here--though you have to pay for it; but it does ship for free).
Read something today, and be inspired!
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
"Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore." Psalm 16:11
Ever feel strung out and empty? Life screeches past you like a subway train for which you can't seem to be on time? The voices in your head get so loud that you think the only way to snuff them out is to scream, and keep on screaming? You sit on the edge of your bed at night and wonder how the day's events prove your existence is worth it?
If you're like me, you feel this way more often than you'd like to admit. Sure, we all have our low points. But what about that gnawing sense of purposeless existence? The void that won't go away. What to do about that? Well, you can:
- drown it in a few bottles of Red Stripe
- lose it somewhere between sexual encounters
- keep it out of mind with the latest adult movie
- obliterate it in a puff of marijuana smoke
- throw a pile of projects, meetings, and appointments on it
- turn up your TV, your Ipod, or your ringtone
- read one mass market paperback after another
- go backpacking across Europe or try to find yourself in Asia
- keep yourself plugged into Facebook or Twitter
- champion the latest cause for peace
- pray it away
- fill it with church services and ministries
- scientifically prove that it's not a void at all
- blog about it till it's no longer relevant
- max out your credit card
- go to the gym twice a day
- eat it away
Or, you could snap out of it--it being your reality. None of the things in my haphazard list will heal the void. You could search from here to Cape Town and back, and still feel empty. If you're on the brink of giving up, that's a good place to be. You see, that hole in your soul is really more of a God-shaped USB. If you allow the connection, your life becomes enriched, starts to make sense. Even though I think He deserves your starting point, if you've tried everything else, why not try God? Ask Him to lead you to Him and discover completion. He promises that if you search for Him, you will find Him, if you do so with your whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13). Today, if you hear His voice, don't put up a barrier; try listening (Psalm 95:7-8). God wants a relationship with you. Filling your life with God is not the same as allowing God to fill your life. You have to reach the surrender point so you can recognize how much you need Him. Then let go and free-fall into His grace.
Check out this short film done by David Asscherick and company. Does God exist?