Finding writing inspiration

I’ve always been a big Fantasy and Science Fiction fan. I’m also captivated by the artwork of that genre. Recently, I stumbled across ArtStation which is: “… the showcase platform for games, film, media & entertainment artists. It enables artists to showcase their portfolios in a slick way, discover & stay inspired, and connect with new opportunities.” Immediately, I was drawn to the amazing artwork from some exceedingly talented artists.

Looking at some of the pieces I was filled with an overwhelming desire to write fiction again. The works of art became my muse and my inspiration to put words down on paper. Afterall, what writer’s imagination is not moved by this work entitled “Hexbridge Castle” by Liam Reagan?

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“Hexbridge Castle
Environment piece for University project adapting Gabrielle Kent’s Alfie Bloom: The Witch of Demon Rock”

If you are a writer and seek writing inspiration through art, I highly recommend checking ArtStation out. Good luck and happy writing!

John

I’m Loving It… But probably not the kids

Every once in a while McDonald’s becomes the biggest book distributor in the country.  Instead of doling out toys with their Happy Meals they give out books.  This I commend them for, the more books that can end up in the hands of children, the better.  As a parent, I actively try to nurture my children’s reading habits.  I wish they loved to read as much as their dad, but you can’t force people to love something, they have to get there on their own.  But you can try to build a fostering environment of success, and I do so by surrounding them with books, encouraging them to read, and also demonstrating good behavior by reading voraciously myself.

It is said that during the National Literacy Month McDonald’s will distribute close to 20 million books, that’s quite an achievement.  Their partnership with Reading is Fundamental (RIF) and HarperCollins Children’s Books is a good example of what can happen if entities come together for a good cause.

 

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What we got with our Happy Meals

And while parents might be loving books in their children’s Happy Meals, the children might be less enthusiastic about getting books instead of toys, but that’s also an important teaching moment, that you can’t always get what you want, and sometimes unwanted things become the most cherished treasures.  Until next time, read on!

 

Cheap reads… Surprising places to buy books on a budget!

If you are like me you love to read and buy books.  Though I love public and private libraries, there’s nothing like owning a book, having it in your possession or vicinity.  Ordinary people will never understand the satisfaction of a well-stocked home with endless rows of filled bookshelves.  Of course, you will get the contrarian “will you ever read all these books?  Why do you even have so many?”  That’s not the point, the mere knowledge that you can pick up any one of those books at any time and read it gives you joy.

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Books for sale at Dollar Tree

There will of course come a time when even the staunchest of bibliophiles must manage his or her budget.  One can ill-afford buying new hardcovers at even 30% off the publisher’s price at their local bookstore.  Even some used bookstores have some premium prices at times.  What can one do when one has a book buying habit to satisfy?

 

Here are three places that you might not have thought about: the Dollar Tree, Goodwill, and the Salvation Army thrift shops.  The Dollar Tree offers new hard and softcover books for, you guessed it, $1 dollar.  It’s hit-and-miss, sometimes they have something, and sometimes they do not.  You can liken it to shopping at TJ Maxx, a sort of treasure hunt.  These are new books too, maybe overstock from publishers or bookstores, and they are the retail versions and not book club versions of books.  At least that is what I think and have experienced.

 

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Salvation Army Thrift Shop book haul

Then there is the Salvation Army store, I picked up the books above for a total of $2.94 dollars WITH tax!!!  The paperbacks were 39 cents and the hardcover 74 cents.  That’s a steal in my book.  Goodwill stores are also wonderful places to pick up books, their prices range a bit, but I’ve found books ranging from $1.99 to $5.99 dollars.  What I like about the Salvation Army and Goodwill is also the treasure hunt feeling that you get, especially from donated books.  Sometimes I find personalized bookmarks in the pages, or messages inscribed, dedications, even authors’ signatures.  If somebody had an estate sale that didn’t work out, you can sometimes see that reflected in the book donations with a whole collection of classics being sold together.  I’ve never walked out of a Salvation Army or Goodwill store empty handed.  Even better, I’ve never walked out of one broke.

 

Happy book collecting my fellow bibliophiles, and don’t forget to read what you buy!  Yeah, right…

How I improved my reading habit

If you are like me you love to read, and a true bibliophile will even read about how to read. No doubt most of us have come across the classic “How to Read a Book” by Mortimer Adler, which is an excellent read but a little dry at times.

Recently I stumbled across Thomas Frank‘s YouTube channel College Info Geek and his video Read More Books: 7 Tips for Building a Reading Habit.

One of his suggestions has already dramatically improved my reading habit, and that is the simple idea of reading 25 pages a day. That’s it, just read 25 pages per day. There isn’t the pressure of having to read a book a day, week, or even a month. The beauty of this method is that it’s very manageable and falls easily into the SMART framework that Thomas Frank expounds upon in his blog article: Goal: Read 25 Pages of Non-Fiction Per Day.

I took Mr. Frank’s suggestion even further and now I read 25 pages out of several different books each day. 25 here, and 25 there, and pretty soon I’m reading more books than I did before, and I actually finish them! Give it a try and let me know how it works for you. Good luck!

George Catlin on the plains Indians…

I love reading old books. As Ecclesiastes 1:9 (KJV) tells us: 

The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.

I like to think similarly about books and writing, there is nothing new that hasn’t been written about before. Remember the old quip “if you want a new idea, read an old book.”

Walking past my bookshelf today, on a whim and curiosity I picked up C. Fayne Porter’s “The Battle of the 1,000 Slain and Other Stories Selected from Our Indian Heritage.” Flipping through the pages I stumbled upon this passage from George Catlin’s Last Rambles Amongst the Indians of the Rocky Mountains and the Andes (London: 1868).

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Given our current political climate rife with animosity, our seemingly increasing narcissism, the apparent disregard for our environment, and the overwhelming push towards the accumulation of wealth, and penchant for mindless entertainment; this excerpt hit me like a ton of bricks. Maybe our Native American ancestors had it right. Their philosophy and world outlook definitely feels more comfortable to me. Of course this might be a romantic sentiment, and no doubt they had their own battles and weaknesses, but I find their view of life and the environment a little less self-destructive than that of our contemporaries.

The pencil and the book

Do you consider yourself a bookish purist? You know the type, the one that won’t mark by bending a page or use a highlighter? Any alteration of the book is a mortal sin and even the removal of the dust jacket will get you banished from the library. Do you tear out the page that you like or make a photocopy, perhaps even dutifully scribing by hand into a Moleskine?

Like most people I’m a complicated man, sometimes I highlight, sometimes I don’t. When I do mark pages or write in the margins, I prefer using the old-fashioned pencil. There’s something immensely satisfying with pencil writing. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but ink just doesn’t have that timeless feel to it. I’m in no way against pens or ink in any form or shape. I just prefer pencils.

Tonight I stumbled across this book and passage from Ian McEwan‘s novel On Chesil Beach and immediately recognized myself. Enjoy.

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“She thought he was original, unlike anyone she had ever met. He always had a paperback book, usually history, in his jacket pocket in case he found himself in a queue or a waiting room. He marked what he read with a pencil stub.”

Return to the beginning

16422733_10154728730485339_1711581012349097472_o (1)My name is John Weibull and I’ve been blogging for over a decade on a variety of platforms and sites. In fact, I can’t even remember some of the blog names and sites I’ve used and been on. I was always a spur of the moment kind of blogger. I got inspired, I created a blog and wrote a couple of entries, only to abandon the blog when I got bored or time constraints caught up with me.

Recently, I caught the blogging bug once again. I want to get back into the game after a hiatus. But this time it will be different. Instead of using some pseudonym or catchy username, I’m going to use my given name. I’m going to stand by what I write because this blog is going to be about real life. It’s going to be about my life, the highs and the lows, the good and the bad. It will be about things I see and experience. It will be about my thoughts and opinions; minute details and grand essays. I’m an autodidact engaged in continual self-improvement, enlightenment and the pursuit of knowledge and attainment of wisdom. I believe you can learn a lot about life from the experiences of others, this is why I’m a voracious reader, and this blog will be heavy on content that I glean from readings I’ve devoured.

I want to personally thank you for stopping by and I hope that you will join me on this journey through life. Don’t forget to live, love, and read!

– John Weibull