The Life Mosaic

Thank you for subscription over the years. I’ve started a new blog at The Life Mosaic and hope you’ll subscribe there as I suspect this blog will remain fallow.

Again, thank you for all of your support and I hope to see you at The Life Mosaic.

Regards,Nate

Writing About a Utopia

If you’re going with the idea that wherever characters are gathered is a utopia, remember there is no such thing as a utopia. It usually takes an outsider to see it. The insiders love where and when they are. And even if they don’t, they have put themselves – or one of their own has put them – into the mindset that whatever sacrifices are required to create what appears to be a utopia is worth the price.

The outsider needs to experience the world before denouncing it. It has to be a place they’ve always known in their heart they NEED to (actually, THINK they need to) explore and be a part of. It has to look so good, better than they thought it would be even. They need to see the flaws emerge, though, and be torn by them. Conflict of the heart. All of that needs to happen in a perfect, utopian story of experiencing a utopia.

Or, it doesn’t. 🙂

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“The War of Art” for-two-bucks sale is here!

I warned you last week and now it’s time. Get your credit card ready to pay a measly little $1.99 to get your electronic copy of Steven Pressfield’s phenominal book, The War of Art. It’s on sale today and tomorrow with a price spike after that so get in while the sale is good.

FastPencil offers the book in both .epub and .pdf formats. I’m still new to electronic books (I still don’t have a Kindle, though my relatively-new Droid X displays Kindle books, no sweat) and thought I may have more use for a .pdf file. At least, I know what I can do or not do with it and so that’s the route I went. If anyone wants to tell me why .epub is the better route to go, I’m all ears and willing to shell out another $1.99 for one of the most inspirational books about changing my life I’ve ever read.

Does that last sentence sell you, dear reader?

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Elmore Leonard’s new book, Djibouti, has arrived!

Elmore Leonard is pretty much my favorite writer ever (I say that today; tomorrow I might say Neil Gaiman, the next day I might say Walt Whitman but for today let’s stick with Dutch).

Monday was Elmore Leonard’s 85th birthday, his fortieth novel, Djibouti, came out on Tuesday, and the trailer for the second season of the FX series Justified came out Wednesday. Three great reasons to celebrate what a prolific, generous writer has gifted readers like me. Here’s the man, the book, and the video after the jump: Read more…

“War of Art” for two bucks.

Steven Pressfield announced the eBook version of his excellent, inspiring, and challenging book on creativity The War of Art will be on sale next week, October 20 and 21, for only $1.99.  He’s working with a company called FastPencil to get the job done (while Amazon reported they sold more Kindle books than hardcover books this summer, the Amazon Kindle version of this book has a few kinks to work out, apparently, if you read Stephen’s post) and if you miss the sale it will still be available for a fairly low price beyond the sale dates, according to Stephen.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you can see what I’ve written about The War of Art on this blog here.

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Writing with the door closed.

One of my favorite books on writing is, well, On Writing by Stephen King. I’ve never actually read it, only listened to it. I first heard the audio version in 2002 and ever since I have listened to it at least once a year, usually right at the beginning of the fall semester, as a sort of rejuvenation of my writing spirit. King reads the book himself and it’s a great presentation. I’ve heard it so many times – and enjoy it so much, to be honest – that listening to it at the end of September, I had fun seeing how many times I could say the lines right along with Stephen. Surprisingly, or perhaps not-so surprisingly, it happened pretty frequently. I guess you could say I’m a King convert when it comes to many of his ideas about writing. I have close to ten copies of the book in its print form, by the way, and they get loaned out to friends on occasion (and were used by the Ron Book Team last week for the October book club discussion) if you’re in the area and we’re on first-name basis.

I’m writing today to bring forth one of King’s great ideas, one he cribbed from a newspaper editor he worked with in high school: Read more…

Michele Norris wrote a new memoir

The only thing I want more than to read Michele Norris’s new book, The Grace of Silence, is a few hours freedom to actually sit and read it. Norris relates stories of her own family’s experience to the overall backdrop of race relations in the United States, both then and now. Specifically, Norris examines how her family remained silent on some of their most personal racial incidents, including Norris’s father being shot by a police officer after serving in WWII and her grandmother’s job – no joke – as a traveling Aunt Jemima.

Using the intimacy of personal story to extrapolate grander issues is one of the most powerful ways memoir can touch us as readers. It’s a way of using true-to-life specificity as a relatable experience that readers can compare and contrast with their own. I say this as one who detests anecdotal evidence and meandering anecdote, something one of my instructors would likely call a “bathtub story.” However, listening to Norris report on a wide variety of prescient, fascinating topics over the years, something tells me she knows precisely how to make her family’s story not only interesting but relevant and meaningful to readers who are willing to explore their lives and how race relations affects it.

Listen to Tom Crann’s 12-minute interview with Norris from Minnesota Public Radio news today.

If you’ve read the book, please let me know what you think.

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