Keep your eyes open.

I promised another post, well, at least I promised myself another post. Writing, writing well, begins with books. As you know from my last post I believe all writing begins with reading.

Second– observation. Open your eyes. Pay attention. In order to write well one must live in another’s head so therefore it is imperative to observe, not only your surroundings, but interactions between people. In fact, the first person you can pay attention to is you.

Self-awareness is primary. If we don’t understand our own reasons and motivations, how can we ever provide reasons and motivations for our characters? At least, reasons and motivations a reader will believe?

So follow those butterflies. Will do you an immense amount of good.

butterfly

I’ll expand upon the notion of observation in a later post.

My father read to me before I was born.

My dad is unique. Unusual. One of a kind. He’s neurotic, insecure, brilliant, articulate, athletic- race walks three miles a day, reads three to four full-length books a week despite his advanced age (he still has 20-20 vision), and he says, he’s always said, “The most important thing you can do for your children is read to them.”

He didn’t play with us, not much anyway. Games made him nervous. Still do. Although by the time I was in the fourth grade he installed a half-court basketball court and a basketball hoop and he’d frequently come home from work in the evenings and play a couple games of HORSE with me.

What he did with his three daughters was read.

He began reading Moby Dick to me on the day I came home from the hospital. (Oddly enough I have this affinity for Melville.) And when he’d finished Moby Dick, he moved on to The Caine Mutiny, Crime and Punishment, and then War and Peace. Then there were his other favorites, Treasure Island, Mutiny on the Bounty, anything and everything by Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Jack London, Henry James, George Elliot, Byron, Tennyson, Whitman, Hawthorn, James Fenimore Cooper. He wasn’t a big fan of Hemingway, although I am fond of The Old Man and the Sea.

At eighteen months of age, I read Frankenstein on my own. I didn’t graduate to children’s books until kindergarten. Up until I began school, I didn’t know children’s literature even existed. (Nancy Drew became my guilty pleasure. I loved The Secret of the Old Clock– her roadster – and her pretty much absentee boyfriend, Ned.)

Was I a prodigy? Nah. We model those things to which we are exposed.

A child’s brain is soft, like a sponge. It soaks up information. My brain soaked up words.

The logical step, after learning to read, was learning to write. I began to write poetry at the age of three. Still love poetry. Pure word candy.

Where am I going with this? Oh, yeah, read to your children. It will make them smarter. Open their minds.

But, since this is a blog about the writing process, where am I really going? All writing begins with reading. I cannot imagine how one writes without an entire library of literature and poetry and history swirling about in one’s head.

Books, i.e., words, are how we humans communicate from generation to generation, how we preserve events for posterity, how we keep track of our property and possessions and protect legal records.

We know about ancient Sumeria (Mesopotamia) because of the cuneiform writing, the earliest system of writing discovered thus far (developed about 8000 B.C.E.).

But let’s get down to the bones– Telling stories help us make sense of our existence, or rather, the existential dilemma posed by our existence.

And, now listen up because this is important, telling stories is entertaining.

Writing is fun.

Next time— The Voices.

In the beginning…

there were books. Therefore books are where I’ll begin my tale.

Books shape the soul of a writer.

It is a need embedded deep in the human psyche– to record our stories, our lives. To communicate to future generations.

The pen (and the cave painting) is a long arm from the grave.

But I will not tell the story today. Sorry, distracted and busy, preparing for a trip.

April 13th is my birthday. I like to be away for my birthday.

I’ll begin sometime next week. Julia

There is a method to my madness.

(Right now I’m in first place in the Barrett Family Bracket but I have everything riding on Michigan State. Go Spartans! OMG this game is intense. Overtime!!!)

So this is a brand spanking new space. It will be about my books and my methods. I will discus my past, present and future and how each moment in my time relates to my writing~ i.e.~ my voice, my themes, my characters, my narrative, my style.

From time to time I may interrupt to inform you about WIPs, price changes, new releases, new covers, etc. Information about all my books is on my sidebar to the left. (All the links you will ever need!)

If you want to hear about All Things Jake and maybe a few stories about the crazy hubster, visit:  I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means.

For general information on my books, my archived blog posts, recipes and about me, my old website is still available for your perusal. I’ll update the site from time to time. Julia Barrett’s World.

Hey all, it’s good to be back. Love y’all. Julia