Blindly Chosen, Faithfully Read

2 Comments

To build up a library is to create a life. It’s never just a random collection of books. –Carlos María Domínguez

March is just around the corner. Before we leave this heart-centered month, I wanted to mention an idea that came to my attention through my favorite hangout – our local library.

blind date with a book

 

On Valentines Day, the Bud Werner Memorial Library  provided an act of kindness through their Blind Date with a Book program. They set-up their library patrons up for an enjoyable night of entertainment.

The gift was wrapped up in brown paper, tied up with string, including a clue or two to help the reader make  their date selection. The title and author’s name was hidden and the reader had to accept on blind faith that what was “between the covers” was something good.

But as on any blind date, the only way to get acquainted with a character is to learn something about them. With time we get to know whether a character is as a mystery, a hopeless romantic or ready for a wild or steamy adventure. Sweet idea!

I’d like to conclude this writing today by repeating a bumper sticker that is frequently seen here where I live. One is on my car. It says “I came for the skiing and stayed for the library.”

What an asset to have a wonderful library in any community.

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, award-winning author of Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Exploring Tomes and Tombs

Leave a comment

energy-saving-lamp-shape-heart-8297227So my purpose for today’s blog is to remind to myself that “energy flows where attention goes,” an adage that I used to motivate myself when I was engrossed in writing my memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” Once again, I need reassurance from myself that time spent writing will be worth every minute in personal fulfillment payoff.

There is a person of interest in my family who I have begun researching. The information about my ancestor here-to-fore has been very sketchy and for me, of little interest. Thanks to help from a genealogy librarian, I now have more reason to turn my attentiveness to this person, a blood relative removed by a few generations.

I have been inspired by members of the genealogy club and the genealogy writers group at the Bud Werner Memorial Library to move forward with the knowledge. The tracing of the story will most likely require some intercontinental research. I’ve seen through other people’s genealogy projects how in this  day and age of digital technology, there are fewer obstacles to finding out information originating in other countries than there was decades ago.

If you are interested in genealogy, you might enjoy the PBS Show Finding Your Roots, with Henry Louis Gates, a Harvard scholar. The purpose of the show is  “to unearth the family histories of influential people helping shape our national identity.” See the website to confirm when it is broadcast in your area.

To sum things up,  I am pursuing an interest that begins with my family roots. The historical value in the family member should not be allowed to smolder and die. To me it’s important and hopefully to others it will also be interesting.

Ultimately I’d like to shed more light on the historical story through my writing if I can do it in a way that will not take the rest of my lifetime!

This blog brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard.

 

Flaws in Character and Writing

Leave a comment

Two weeks ago Charles Shields, author of 20 histories and biographies for young adults came to the Bud Werner Memorial Library to talk about his knowledge of Harper Lee and her two publications, To Kill a Mockingbird and Go Set a Watchman.

Shields publications Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee and I am Scout: The Biography of Harper Lee reveal a multitude of little known facts about Lee’s childhood life prior to becoming an author.

41ylFwhNs2L._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_

51djZQmaIIL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_

 

  • She left law school and moved to New York City to become an author. However, her dreams of becoming a full-time writer were delayed because she needed to find a way to pay her expenses, so she became an airline reservationist for a period of about eight or ten years.
  • A neighbor and playmate was Truman Capote, author of In Cold Blood
  • She and Capote hauled a 12 pound Underwood typewriter up to their tree house where they’d sit for hours and write and discuss ideas for stories.
  • Upon her fathers death, Harper Lee inherited her father’s watch, which she in turn gave to Gregory Peck who played her father (Atticus) in the 1962 movie To Kill A Mockingbird.

In his book talk, Shield’s certainly provided the audience with a wealth of information about the author and her two books. To sum it up, Shields says that “Mockingbird” asks the reader for compassion, while “Watchman” asks the reader for forgiveness. I agree with this statement. It helped me to  lay aside my own profound sadness for Scout when she finds out at the end of “Watchman” her father was not the man she thought he was.

During the Q & A session one of the audience members mentioned that she was bothered by the fact that “Watchman” was released in it the same form the original manuscript was written. I personally appreciated that the publication was released “unpolished.” I hope the lady in the audience can forgive and understand perhaps why “Watchman” was released without copy editing. I believe the “raw state” of the publication adds to the historical value to the writing from a Pulitzer-prize American author whose work has certainly held up to the test of time.

Tonight I look forward to the community discussion to wrap up the One Book Steamboat series, which has received attention from the National Library Association newsletter.

Thanks once again to Bud Werner Memorial Library for a fulfilling opportunity to learn all we can about one of America’s most beloved authors.

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Hey Boo: Best Movie Words

2 Comments

Life was always waiting for the right moment to act.” ~ Paul Coelho

No one ever expected Harper Lee to publish another book. The writer’s destiny seemed to be an author of a sole publication that has sold over 5 million copies. She surprised the literary world when it was announced that a second novel was in the pipeline for publication. Fifty years after To Kill a Mockingbird was published Go Set a Watchman was released. If you haven’t read either publications, as far as I am concerned you are missing out on very important American literature. I believe “Watchman” will also become known as an American classic in coming years.

harperlee_flatLast week I attended the second in a series of community events at the Bud Werner Memorial Library geared around Lee’s publication Go Set a Watchman. The screening of the  documentary film Harper Lee: From Mockingbird to Watchman (previously titled Harper Lee:Hey Boo) was at the center of the evening. In the film, interviews of famous people in the literary and media world talk about what the classic To Kill a Mockingbird has meant to Americans who love this book.

marymurphy_creditchriscarroll_m8398After the screening, the filmmaker Mary McDonagh Murphy Skyped in to take questions from the audience at the library. I had the opportunity to ask my question. “As a filmmaker what did you learn from Harper Lee about storytelling through the production of this documentary?” Her answer included remarks that to tell the story well, it was a juggling challenge.  She had to go back and revise and edit the film to include information about the 2015 release of “Watchman” by Harper Collins. She also mentioned that more revisions to her 2015 documentary will be necessary as the full impact of “Watchman” on the literary world is made known in coming years. For more information on Murphy’s film which has also been aired on PBS, visit the filmmaker’s website.

Thursday evening, October 15, 2015 is the third event for One Book Steamboat. Charles Shields, Harper Lee’s biographer will be at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in person. He was one of the first persons to be aware of Lee’s manuscript for “Watchman” that had been locked up in a safe deposit box for decades. I look forward to his presentation.

I have never been so immersed in the full study of an author before and it has been an extremely fulfilling experience. Thanks to Jennie Lay at Bud Werner Memorial Library for programming all the surrounding events of One Book Steamboat for this community.

This blog is brought to you by EVVY award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard.

Links to Past, Present and Future

Leave a comment

My first duty is to write a gripping yarn. Second is to convey credible characters who make you feel what they feel. Only third comes the idea. ~ David Brin

Did you read Friday’s post on All Things Fulfilling about stitching yarns together? Today we are going to continue the conversation from a slightly different angle.

In my first publication, the award-winning memoir called Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected, I wrote a first hand account of my memories.The facts were all there as best as I could remember from my childhood.

For years I have been told some interesting stories about a character of interest on my mother’s side of the family tree that I did not write about previously.  The tales could be full of baloney because they are a bit sketchy. I need to determine if they are fact or fiction.

96473887_107harts

In order to find out the truth of the matter I recently joined in with a genealogy group at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs, Colorado to see if I can stitch together the vague pieces of information that I have been given my mother. If there is some truth to the matter, this figure from my heritage could prove to be a fascinating fellow.

Great resources are available at my finger tips! The Bud Werner Memorial Library (BWML) is an affiliate of the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Some people find great fascination in tracing their family back many generations, I am not sure if I am up for the task. “But how will I know whether I’ll find that kind of research fulfilling or not if I don’t begin somewhere?” I ask myself.

I’ll keep you posted….

This blog is brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, EVVY award-winning author of the memoir Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected and short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

Tred Carefully

1 Comment

Since I was young, I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”Veronica Roth

A few weeks ago  I did a presentation on memoir writing. On Thursday I look forward to a similar presentation when I’ll talking with a geneology group at the Bud Werner Memorial Library in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Throughout my various book tours and presentations, I’ve had numerous people say to me that if they wrote their life story it would be filled with people who have taken advantage of them or made their lives difficult for one reason or another. Thus,  I am very aware of the need to mention “that sadly not everyone’s life story is happy and some people write for cathartic reasons.”

words have power“Something to think about,” I say, “is to share your experiences in a way that helps other people.”

The typical response is “I hadn’t thought about that approach, I just was thinking of voicing my anger.”

If you have had an unpleasant childhood or difficult life experiences, memoir writing is a great way to rise above it. Your readers will be looking for something they can relate to and learn from. Give them your story of challenge to triumph. Everyone likes to hold onto stories of champions and hope.

Here is a good article about why it is beneficial to read memoirs. http://memorywritersnetwork.com/blog/eight-benefits-of-reading-memoirs/.

Things to keep in mind as you go forward with your memoir writing.

This blog is brought to you by award-winning author Sue Batton Leonard. Click on the title for information on these publications:  Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected or short stories Lessons of Heart & Soul.

 

Hiking the PCT with Strayed

2 Comments

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
~ Dr. Seuss Oh the Places You’’ll Go

This week I’ve hiked the Pacific Crest Trail. It’s a place I never thought I’d visit. I hiked it with author Cheryl Strayed
and saw bears, rattlesnakes, a Texas longhorn bull and more.  At times throughout the journey I felt desperation set in, unimaginable fright, gratitude, inspiration, relief and grief.  Strayed’s thoughts of accomplishing what she set out to do, were familiar.

crossroads in the woods

No, Strayed was not alone  in her story, good authors always find the company of readers who appreciate what their characters have gone through and can often relate. I decided to travel along with Strayed by reading her book, so that when she shows up in Steamboat, at the Bud Werner Memorial Library http://bit.ly/16nUuYj  on April 11th, I’ll able to envision exactly what the Pacific Crest Trail looked like.

Wild is exactly the kind of book that reminds us why even when things are scary and uncertain, it is best to push through it, and accomplish the goal. Then we can look back and find the lessons within, and how challenges help us to rebuild our life.

Seuss’ words of advice are well-meaning. We need to do better job of teaching children there are so many fulfilling places to see and things to do in this world, and not to let obstacles stop them.  Books teach children and adults that we  never travel alone, there’s always a path thats been traveled and beaten before us.

And when you’re alone, there’s a very good chance

You’ll meet things that scare you right out of your pants.

There are some, down the road between hither and yon,

that can scare you so much you won’t want to go on.”

~ Dr. Seuss Oh the Places You’ll Go

Return tomorrow to All Things Fulfilling, where sharing independent thoughts, words and views is all part of the business. This blog is brought to you by www.CornerstoneFulfillmentService.com.