I’ve been working on some writing while Mike is in Rwanda. I have no idea what it might amount to – but I am hoping to at least untangle some of my thoughts. I have a perfect little location to be holed up in, and despite missing Mike and occasionally getting needles in my eye, I am quite enjoying myself.
While I have been writing, I’ve been listening to Sigur Rós. Every time I encountered them or remembered them over the years, I have thought, “Oh, I would really like to listen to more of their music.” So, now is the time, and it is great music for writing to. I’ve also watched this video a bunch more times. It is incredible. I watch with my heart in my mouth every time.
Did you know that Madeleine L’Engle (author of A Wrinkle in Time) wrote adult books!? Well, not adult books. In her words,
“If you are not good enough to write a book for adults, you are certainly not good enough to write a book for children. I had written and published several ‘regular’ novels before I dared try my hand at a children’s novel. (I say ‘regular’ novel because I was gently told by a friend that today the word adult in front of novel means porno.)”
Oh, that made me laugh – partly because I entirely agree with her take on children’s books, but mostly because we keep finding when we are discussing movies with our friends and their kids, we qualify them as “adult” movies… and then we quietly correct ourselves when we realize what we said, “Um, I mean, movies for grown-ups.” I also love her approach to writing for children. I’ll confess that most of my favourite stories were written for children, and I have yet to meet a Newbery Medal winner I haven’t loved.
Anyway, I have been reading the Crosswicks Journals. It’s amazing to me that they were written 40-50 years ago, and yet many of the things she says seem very current. The books are funny, well-written, easy to read, and insightful.
Speaking of children’s novels, I just went through the Divergent series again. I remembered loving the first book, and then not much about the last two. So when I came upon a new epilogue, I had to start from the beginning. I’ll say this: the story is OK. But I was wrecked by the underlying theme of the new epilogue, “We Can Be Mended.”
It’s just a story, but it fills me with hope.
I’ve never been a huge fan of comedy – I guess I haven’t really seen the value of it. This has started to change over the last couple of years. One of the contributing factors was Hannah Gadsby’s stand-up special, “Nanette.” I’m pretty sure I never would have watched it, but my Dad wanted to watch it together, and I had no idea what I was getting into. At the end, we were all just silent.
One of the things that she said that struck me was about comedians taking shots at easy punch-lines – like Monica Lewinsky. She says, “Perhaps if comedians had done their job properly and made fun of the man who abused his power,” then some of the situations that are troublesome today may not have arisen.
I also heard (or read?) something Tina Fey said about writing sketches for Saturday Night Live. The gist of it was, that they were not trying to sway people to one side of the other, but to get to the truth of the situation through comedy.
I have never thought about comedy as an art form that can help us see our world more accurately. This year more than ever, comedy has helped me to interpret current affairs.
Finally, let me talk a little about Emily McDowell. I love her cards. (I have also awarded a few of her “medals” – to myself and a couple friends.)
She has also co-authored a book. If you have ever struggled to know how to appropriately express kindness to someone who is hurting, this is a thoughtful (and funny) guide to learning how.