Your writing has improved

Your writing has improved, she said.

And I agree. I can feel it, experience it, as I write. But also as I go back a year, two, three, to revisit what I wrote back then. My writing has definitely improved, it’s getting better and better, and what I notice is how it’s taking on it’s very own tone and voice. My tone and voice, something that has never before been expressed and explored like it is now. Taking shape before my eyes, the lines, colors, texture of it gradually coming into being, letter by letter, word by word.

The tone and voice of the books I read (and I am an avid reader!), is something I give thought to. If the tone doesn’t reverberate within me, I put the book down (something which I never allowed myself to do before when I was still oh so harsh against myself. If I’d started to read it, I couldn’t be a quitter…. Oh Helena, how harsh you were…). Pick another. Start to read. Going for a book that vibrates in tune with me.

That vibration doesn’t have anything to do with the topic, or whether or not it’s fiction or non-fiction, No, it’s the use of words, how they are placed on the paper, the pace of it, sometimes who the speaker is, and how he/she speaks to me. There are writers whose tone I love, and those that I just cannot get myself to read.

And my tone is slowly growing, with each word I pen, with every blog post I publish (as well as those I don’t…), slow and steady, a blog piece a day, I am honing my skill at writing. The beauty of blogging is that it’s visible, my journey as a writer is there for all to witness, including me.

As I’ve revisited my blog posts of years gone past, I’m getting the feeling there are topics I’d like to get back to, write about, again, to see what I might be able to do with the same topic today, as a slightly better writer than before.

Better and better….

Don’t misinterpret me, to think I am judging what I used to do, as no good. I’m not. I am merely stating facts. There has been a shift, and hence, what I write today is, in my view, most often of a higher quality than before. But I am not judging myself for having been a bad writer before. No. I merely rejoice at the progression I notice, and take pride in it. Patting myself on the back, for sticking with it, for growing, developing, finetuning and honing my craft.

We all have to start from the beginning, learing the alphabet, to read and write…. and then, gradually, as we learn more and more, as we receive formative feedback, what we produce when writing evolves.

I am happy I’ve rediscovered writing, so that my writing also started it’s very own expansion journey. My writing was at a stand-still for many many years, hibernating, in a state of being neither here nor there, neither alive or dead.writing

But now. It’s alive again.
Out of hibernation. Expanding.

It’s the most wonderful feeling.
You know it too?

DAY 2 #NAJOWRIMOPROMPT: What inspired your creative self?

Yesterday you wrote about ways you express yourself creatively. For today’s journal entry, write about you creative influences. Who and what makes you feel creative. Who and what do you draw creative inspiration from?

Creative influences. Now that’s a questions I can probably provide a multitude of answers to, but nobody but me can make me feel creative!

I find it a bit odd that I read thousands upon thousands of blog posts (most notably school-related ones as well as Seth Godin, Leo Baubata, Arvind Devalia and the likes) up until I started blogging myself. Then, I basically stopped following blogs. I still read some occasionally, but I haven’t followed a blog for years. With one exception, that of my friends Wivan and Anders, as it’s one way to ensure I know what’s going on in their lives as they travel the world.

Since I started blogging myself, I listen to podcasts. (So yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised to see myself pick up podcasting and then cease to listen to other podcasts?!) All through out this year, my Sunday blog post has been, and will be, a podcast tip from me. My absolute favorites are On Being, One You Feed and Good Life Project. There are other as well, some Swedish ones, such as 100%-podden by my friend Charlotte Rudenstam (there are a few episodes in English as well, so do check it out) and Värvet with Kristoffer Triumf, but also English ones such as Freakonomics Radio, Peak Prosperity Featured Voice and several NPR shows with Invisibilia and Serial as my most loved ones. And yes, I draw an immense amount of creative inspiration from these podcasts!

appleNature is also something from which I draw creative inspiration. Walking about. Sitting down. Looking at a tree, a lake, a rock, a straw of grass, ants in an ant hill… anything and everything, nature is a marvelous source for inspiration!

And family and friends of course, it’s like having my very own treasure chest full of creative inspiration! I like to witness and observe, both the ongoings of my family and friends as well as what happens within me when I am in interaction with the ones close to me.

Since I’ve stopped reading blogs so much, perhaps you think I no longer get creative inspiration from written material. Well. That would be a faulty assumption. I read books, I love books, and I get a lot of inspiration from them. Fiction is more to let my mind just be, without triggering it too much, but I also read a lot of non-fiction, which definitely does just that, triggers my creativity, my curiosity, a wish to sit with a certain question or topic, and see what happens within as I do so. A lot of that comes out as blog posts.

Do I have other sources for creative inspiration. You bet. I could jot down another ten sources, easily, but no, I’ll stop here. But what about you? Who and what do you draw creative inspiration from?

Book delivery

I ordered some books last week and picked them up today. Oh, how I long to get started on them. Summer is saved.

As if my book case wasn’t already jam-packed with books I’m longing to read!

books

 

Here’s a quick rundown of these books:
* Synchronicity by Joseph Jaworski I read a month ago, and it made such an impact I just knew I had to buy it (I’d borrow it from a friend). So I’m gonna read it again. And likely, again, and again, and then again. You get the picture!
*The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking by Christopher Hansard comes highly recommended from a friend, who’s opinion I hold in high regard. I can’t wait to read this one.
*Letters to a young poet by Rainer Maria Rilke is a book that I’ve heard Krista Tippett refer to in numerous episodes of On Being, my absolute favorite podcast, so I finally got around to ordering it too. I haven’t quite figured out what kind of a book this is, so it will be an adventure to dive into.
*My coach Carla have read poems to me, by both John O’Donahue and David Whyte and they have touched my soul. So now I have two books of my own, to dive into. The invisible embrace of Beauty and The house of belonging, respectively. I’m not a very skilled reader of poetry, but I’m practicing, and enjoying myself!
*And finally The Parents Tao Te Ching by William Martin. Pages from this book have floated around Facebook, intriguing me a bit. So I figured – why not give it a go, maybe I will find something there?

If these are the only books I plan on reading this summer? No. Not by a long shot. But it’s a good start, don’t you think? Have you read any of these? If so – what feeling were you left with after reading them? Based on this selection, do you have any other book recommendations for me?

 

 

 

 

 

Winter of the world

I love to read. I love books. And honestly love physical books more than ebooks, however digital I’ve become in other ways. The only time I truly prefer ebooks is when I am travelling. Then they absolutely rock!Bok

Anyway, I finished a huge book last night, and I wanted to share it with you. I love to read really thick books, but it’s been a while since I read such a thick book as this one. Just over 900 pages. Yeah!

The Winter of the world by Ken Follett is about Europe during the twenties to the forties and it’s a gruesome story of power struggles, war and politics mixed with love, connections and hope. Ken Follett is an author I’ve read quite a lot by, but not for a while. And he’s productive, so I have a few more brick like books to entertain myself with over the summer. And actually, this is the second book in a trilogy, and I haven’t read the first one, so I have to get a hold of that one ASAP. I’m gonna order it at the library right away.

What’s your favorite type of book?

Books anyone?

I love the concept of putting books in public spaces free for anyone to pick them up. I especially like it when you write a little something in it, passing your experience of it along. But I’ve seldom seen such a great example of it as this, shared by a friend of mine, it comes from her neighbor:

20140416-090731.jpgKinda makes you want to go build one by yourself, doesn’t it?

The Ink Bridge

20140217-214705.jpgRead The Ink Bridge by Neil Grant, and found it mesmerizing. Beautifully written, a bit on the mystic side. You know, when it’s not fully clear what is intended with the words? Like there is a hidden meaning somewhere, just waiting for me to figure it out myself.

It’s classified as a young adult-book, but for the life of me I cannot figure out why. Except perhaps that the two main characters are teens during most of the book. Might that be a reason?

In the book are two passages that I returned to once I was finished reading it. One of them reads like this (the other one I save for a rainy day):

Below the metal bird, tiny boats rose and dropped on waves. Islands swelled like mountains from the cloudlike sea. Omed could not believe the world was so big. He had read of such things – towns, cities, oceans, countries, people – but a reader can only imagine with what he already carries inside. His father has said, Omed, you cannot make a cup without clay. You cannot make something from nothing. By seeing, he could gather clay.

That wakes a whole bunch of thoughts inside of me – about books, the art of reading, education, dreaming of a more wholehearted society and so forth – do you get the same reaction?

The Rainbow Troops

My brother suggested I read The Rainbow Troops by Andrea Hirata. So I suggested the book for the library to purchase, and lo and behold, it worked this time around as well. I got a note saying the book was ready for me to pick up, and I did.

20130826-091806.jpgThe story is about a group of children going to a dirt poor free school on the island of Belitong in Indonesia. It’s a fascinating story, told with beautiful language.

As I am very interested and involved in the Swedish school debate, trying my best to add some depth to it, by asking the question ”Why school?”, the most interesting part comes at the very end. There [on page 285 in the hardback copy in the picture] the two paths schools seems to be taking in the world are clarified:

  1. Schools as a means to provide individuals with knowledge which leads to self-value, celebrating humanity with dignity, joy of learning and the light of civilization.
  2. Schools as a means to materialism, to making money, getting rich, gaining power and fame.

Those are two ways to answer the question of ”Why school?” – my question to you is: What’s your answer?