The Joy of Books

A stop-motion short film shot by Sean Ohlenkamp and his wife at Type Bookstore in Toronto, Canada.
Music by Grayson Matthews.


Truer than if they really happened

All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.

~Ernest Hemingway

Writing, for me, has always been a selfish endeavor.  I write to amuse me.  I write because it gives me an outlet for my time, energy, and creativity.  I choose when I put pen to paper.  I choose what my characters say and do.   I hold the reins and what I write goes.

But there’s more to writing than the writer.  There’s the audience.  They read to be amused. They read because its how they want time spent.  They choose what stories they want to read.  They hold the reins and at the end of the story, they determine if they’ve been satisfied.

The more I take writing as a craft seriously, the more I find the writer in me become selfless.  Sure, I write because its what I choose to do and I enjoy it, but I want readers to be swept up in the story.  I want them to see the scene and to relate to the characters.  The story has to be “truer than if [it] really happened.”

Oh, Mr. Hemingway, you hit it right on the nail.  If only it were that easy to write a story that belongs not just to me, but to everyone who reads it.  


Unusual, yet so familiar

Two days in a row.  I worked on my novel two days in a row.  Usually I would have talked myself out of working on the novel.  I would tell myself that there was more breakfast to be had or that I had something else, anything else, to do besides writing.

But there I was, talking myself into typing a page. It was a rainy Friday morning and I really could not think of anything else that needed to be done.  Couldn’t coax myself to another cup of coffee.  Just a measly page, I told myself.  If that was too much, just until you get tired.  Well, that page became two.  And today, it was three pages. No coaxing required.

Five pages in two days is such a triumph for me these days.  I hope that I can keep my morning novel writing bursts become a habit like how coffee drinking is for me.

Homework for the rest of my life

Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life.  ~Lawrence Kasdan

I may have only started my blog yesterday, but I already I feel pressure.  What do I write next?  Will it be well received?  Will anyone even read it?  These questions rack my brain.

Nonetheless, its a good kind of pressure.  I’m starting to remember the thrill of putting a story together:  brainstorming, typing, and, yes, even the editing.

And to top it off, I know what direction to take for this blog.

Why did I stop writing again?

The trouble with writing

Every writer I know has trouble writing.  ~Joseph Heller


Don’t know what it is about blogging, having a blog, or just writing generally.  Every now and then I feel compelled, like some strange, overcoming fever, to write and then to share what I’ve written.

I’ve had blogs before and I even have a couple of Tumblogs.  Heck, I even have a Twitter account.  That, I must say has sated me for a while.  One hundred forty characters were a safe limit.   I could come and go as I pleased.  Emphasis on the “for the while” part.  Gradually I felt like I had more and more to say.  I was growing out of my 140 character skin and it was getting metaphorically, well, unbearable.

Prior to this feverish need to share my writing in public, I was satisfied.  I wrote every now and then, no pressure.  Well, that was until I went to graduate school.   All of a sudden, every single word became scrutinized and analyzed.   I started becoming more of a word technician and less like a writer.  You could say that my stream of consciousness dried up.


So, cheers to the New Year and my attempt at putting the fun back into writing.