What if You Wrote a Book?

What if you wrote a book

What if you wrote a book? Would it be fiction or nonfiction? Would it be funny? Would it be a suspense-filled mystery? Would it be a romance novel? Would your book be a children’s classic or a self-help for struggling parents? Would you write your autobiography (a story of you)? What if you wrote a book?

This past weekend I had an amazing day with two of my sisters and our activities (of course) included a delicious and relaxing lunch. At our meal, I told my sisters of my goal to finally being writing the manuscript for a book idea that has been moldering around in my mind for awhile now. They were supportive and joked about if the book were about us.

In the book about us, each sister would get a chapter. My youngest sister’s chapter was titled something like, “We only had two beers, but I swear we were talking to an Angel named Holly and then he was gone.” (There is a story behind this title that will appear in a future blog post. Promise!) The other chapters are still to be determined but A LOT of great brainstorming went on with our second glass of wine.

I have written a few children’s mysteries and have gone so far as to talk to some artist friends about illustrating with me, but never pulled the trigger on getting those books out. I know there will be a time and a place for them in my writing future.  Continue reading “What if You Wrote a Book?”

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The Power of “Yet”

The Power of Yet

Do you know the power of “Yet”?

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu is a book by Joshua Hammer. I learned about The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu on Goodreads and I want desperately to read it. However, after laboring through the first few chapters, I realized that I do not possess enough knowledge about Timbuktu, Mali, or the plight of the Islamic peoples as they have been tortured by Al Qaeda. The words of Adbel Kader Haidara, the original Bad-Ass, were beautiful, terrifying at times, and wonderfully descriptive, but my ignorance of how to pronounce and process many of the words left me feeling lost. After page 70, I put the book back on my “To Read” list. I just wasn’t smart enough for this book.

When I told my husband about being confounded by the book, he told me that I would get it; I just might have to read it a few times. He was hinting at the “Yet.”

The Power of Yet 3.jpgA few days after re-shelving The Bad-Ass Librarians, I was speaking to my friend Donna. We were discussing The End of Your Life Book Club and the reads that were recommended in it. It was fun to compare what she had read to what I had read and what we both still wanted to read. It was then that I told her about Hammer’s book. I shared my disappointment in myself for not being educated enough to read the book. That is when Donna reminded me of the power of “Yet.” Continue reading “The Power of “Yet””

Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe

There were so many things I wanted to title this post… “Long Live the Tree Books,” “Becoming a Watch Deputy,” and (the title that almost made the cut) “Buying Books We Knock Over.” (I call dibs on all these titles for future posts.)

This past spring Aunt Carol recommended that I read The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe. The End of Your Life Book Club is a memoir of the books Will and his mother read and bonded over during her diagnosis and treatment for Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

I am not gonna lie. Reading this book made me feel smarter because Will and his mother Mary Anne read some AMAZING stuff. (I have an entire Goodreads book shelf dedicated to books I learned about in The End of Your Life Book Club.) It wasn’t so much the knowledge about the books they read that increased my intelligence; it was the way Will conveyed the powerful life lessons fostered by their reading, conversations, and the tremendous responsibility assumed because of their reading that made me feel smarter.

Will SchwalbeWill was announced as the author of the 2017 Capital READ in June. I was so excited! The date went immediately on my calendar and I ordered a new hardback copy of The End of Your Life Book Club from Amazon Marketplace.

Will Schwalbe 2When my copy arrived, I discovered that I had unwittingly ordered an autographed copy. I was bummed because I wanted my copy to be signed when I met Will. (Silly thing to be bummed about, right?) My signed copy ended up being a cool thing. Continue reading “Responsible Reading and Radical Listening – The Time I Met Will Schwalbe”

goodreads.com – My Newest Obsession

Goodreads.com is a home for book reviews, book recommendations, book lists, book clubs, and author bios and I am now obsessed with it.

If you already enjoy Goodreads, you might find humor in my newness or appreciation for the joy the site has brought to me. Please comment about any features you like or dislike on Goodreads. I had read about Goodreads from a number of other bloggers’ sites, but until our local librarian recommended it to me recently, I had not given it much consideration.

I checked out the site on Thursday and Friday created my account. Now I can’t stop reading reviews, searching for books that I have read or want to read, and am so enthralled by the give-aways, book clubs, and Goodreads blog that I am having trouble concentrating on what I wanted to type here.

goodreads addiction 6There are  many features to this site that I find beneficial. I love how the genres are organized. The search options are everywhere. I can even automatically search for the books I get from Amazon.

Good Read Addiction 2One of the best features for me is the ability to make a “Book Shelf.” I created a Book Shelf for the book club I sponsor at my kids’ school. I was able to find all of the book on the Mark Twain Reading list and add them. This will allow me to rate and review the books as soon as I read them. I can refer students and parents to this list and the sharing grows from there. Now I just have to get my hands on all those books. 🙂

I had the local library’s website open in split screen yesterday so I could start requesting some of the books that intrigued me from the Goodreads site. There is a way to find your local libraries and their catalogs through Goodreads and request your books. (I may wear out that Request button.) I still have to set the library request feature up on my account; searching for books and authors has prevented me from dedicating enough time to it. 

Goodreads is on Twitter (of course) and I have really enjoyed the prompt posts they have published and found some very positive reviewers and followers in the Goodreads’ throngs. Continue reading “goodreads.com – My Newest Obsession”

What Goes in a Book Review?

Seriously, what goes in a book review?

Book Review Insights Wanted

I have read many reviews of literature and all are different. As I embark on the journey through my summer reading list, I have found some amazing works to devour. I would love to share my thoughts on these books but am looking for guidance on what makes a successful book review.

png 1 It is always important to know if the reader recommends a book, but is the moral of the story as important as the author’s ability to build characters or describe scenes?

png 1 Is it better to give away the majority of the plot or build suspense with a few small snippets?

png 1 Personally, I love when reviewers share their favorite quotes from books. Does this appeal to you?

What gets you to read a book or at least a book review? Please share!

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I love recommendations for books to read too. 🙂

 

Make Life Work – Wise Words Wednesday

Make Life Work – Wise Words Wednesday

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This sassy little quote was found on Pinterest. I like it.

While I write about positive energy and intent everyday, it is extremely necessary for me to also practice flexibility, consideration, and acceptance of imperfection.

The pursuits of happiness and perfection are often considered to be connected, but in all actuality, perfection prevents us from being happy because we are too worried about becoming imperfect.

In reading This I Believe, Andrew Sullivan’s philosophy outlined the pursuit of happiness as such, “I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and challenge each other in spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching. I believe in the possibility of surprising joy, of serenity through pain, and of homecoming through exile” (Allison, 233).

Life isn’t ever going to be perfect. We have to make it work through the joy, pain, and homecomings. We can never stop seeking what it is to be happy or to assist others in finding joy. Our own self-definition is never complete. We have to work to keep the surprises from throwing us too far off our intended course. And we have to maintain diligence through the challenges and imperfections of life.

It won’t be easy, but we can make it work……life, that is.

We must put LIFE to work each day. Allow the challenges and choices of each moment define a successful and fruitful existence. Direct your energy and intent in ways that lighten the loads of your imperfections and chaos. It’s never going to be perfect. Make it work.

Perfect your own personal style for living life to the fullest, and you won’t ever have to worry about living the perfect life. It will just work.

By: Melanie A. Peters

P.S. I am totally ok with not being perfect, but I still try really hard sometimes. I just do. Oh well, I guess I will keep working at it. Nobody’s perfect, right?

Sources: Allison, Jay, et al. This I Believe: the Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Women and Men. New York, Henry Holt, 2006.

The Creative Power of the Unknown – Wise Words Wednesday

The Creative Power of the Unknown – Wise Words Wednesday

creative-power-of-the-unknown

The personal philosophies found in the This I Believe collection continue to amaze me. One that stood out to me in particular this week came from astrophysicist Alan Lightman.

In his personal philosophy he wrote, “I hope that there are always things we don’t know about the physical world as well as about ourselves. I believe in the creative power of the unknown. I believe in the boundary of standing between the known and the unknown. I believe in the unanswered questions of children” (Allison, 149).

Our brains are so overworked with the little details of everyday survival that we forget to hold onto the magic of wonder. We limit our boundaries for growth.

I love when my children ask me questions that stump me. Those questions demonstrate the tremendous potential my children have for understanding and intelligence. It also reminds me that it’s ok to not be a know-it-all. We always have something to learn about our world or ourselves.

As you embark on your schedule-driven journey this week, leave a little room to learn and explore things that are new or unknown to you. Provide creative energy to your conversations and introductions. Allow the unknown to extend into your personal motivation. Continue reading “The Creative Power of the Unknown – Wise Words Wednesday”

The Right to be Wrong – Wise Words Wednesday

The Right to be Wrong – Wise Words Wednesday

the-right-to-be-wrong

“I believe that man’ noblest endowment is his capacity to change. Armed with reason, he can see two sides and choose: He can be divinely wrong. I believe in a man’s right to be wrong.” – Leonard Bernstein

This I Believe is a collection of personal philosophies. I am currently reading it and LOVE what I am reading. The history of This I Believe dates back to the 1950’s. The original This I Believe series asked individuals to write their philosophy and then share it on the radio. It was a huge sensation.

As I pour through the philosophies of tremendous individuals, both from the 1950’s and present, I am moved by the similar themes that continue to surface. Kindness, compassion, intelligence, and faith are key elements in all of the entries. Each of these traits requires us to grow and change. Our wrong choices set us up for opportunities to do just that. Grow. Learn. Change. Become better people.

As you encounter the mistakes of others and yourself, remember the right to be wrong is guaranteed to everyone. We cannot develop deeper understanding in our lives, if we don’t discover what works and what doesn’t.

Being wrong is different than being bad. Continue reading “The Right to be Wrong – Wise Words Wednesday”

What’s Wrong With a Dictionary?

What’s Wrong With a Dictionary?

via Daily Prompt: Perplexed

nothing-wrong-with-a-dictionary

As I am apt to do, I recently shared a photo with my class of something cool that happened at my home.

To my shock and dismay, two of the students paid no attention to the awesomeness I was trying to show them and were fixated on the idea that I have a dictionary lying around on my counter. The dictionary was in the background of my photo and clearly not the focus, but the class discussion quickly shifted to my frequent use of a dictionary.

What’s wrong with a dictionary?

“Oh, it’s just because you’re a teacher,” they said.

“Just look it up on your phone,” was another’s contribution to the discussion.

“I am too stupid to use a dictionary,” was the statement that broke my educational camel back.

What?!?

No one is too stupid to use a dictionary (or any other education tool for that matter!)

I reminded my students that they are in COLLEGE now. They surely must possess some intelligence and understanding of how to use the resources that are available. We went on to identify times in their lives when they sought knowledge and successfully found what they needed to gain that information. If nothing else, it was a lesson in self-esteem.

In our daily lives, we often forget about the resources that are there for us. So many free and willing tools stand at the ready to serve. Our independent spirits and stubbornness inhibit us from making sound use of those tools.  Continue reading “What’s Wrong With a Dictionary?”

Read + Know + Grow + Smarter = Stronger Voice

Read + Know + Grow + Smarter = Stronger Voice

The More You Read.png

“The more you read, the more you know. The more you know, the smarter you grow. The smarter you grow, the stronger your voice when speaking your mind or making your choice.”

I memorized these words from a bookmark I found at the library when I was 12.

Whenever people tell me they don’t like to read, I recite this poem to them. Often they ask me to repeat it a few times and agree there is merit to my message, but they still don’t like to read.

I understand. There are ways of learning that don’t appeal to me either.

Reading books or references works can be cumbersome. Reading instructional texts can be torture. Reading something you are interested in can change your life.

Books like You are a BadAss (Jen Sincero) and 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life (Cami Walker) helped me to find my voice in creating my blog. In the Meantime (Iyanla Vanzant) got me past the greatest heartaches of my life. The Holy Bible is a centuries old guide of how humanity has time and again been called to serve God and one another. I find a lot of advice in its pages. Continue reading “Read + Know + Grow + Smarter = Stronger Voice”