The Virtue of Short Stories

You might have heard the tale before.

One of Ernest Hemingway’s friends once made a bet that he couldn’t write a story out of just six words, but Hemingway proved him wrong with his now famous story: “Baby shoes for sale. Never worn.”

Now this challenge is often used as an exercise for writers. I’ve tried my hand at it a year ago, and then, when it was brought up recently, tried again.

My favorites that I’ve written would probably be: “She hoped that hope would come,” or “Here, the ash rains like snow.”

For some people writing short stories comes easily. Or at least easier than it does more me.

It’s like trying to walk into a room filled with strangers, say something strikingly profound, then say something touching and raw, get people to cry, and walk out – all in under five minutes. Even when I do manage to write short stories, they end up being on the long side of the spectrum.

I’ve been thinking a lot about short stories lately. Partly because my local library is putting on a contest and partly because I’ve been trying to write one for a while now.

They (being a vague reference to published authors I stalk) say that short stories are the real test for good authors. To be able to write just a few pages and still move a reader is a sign of knowing how to use words the way you want. A sign of being concise and powerful.

And that makes perfect sense, but I still struggled to write that dreaded short story.

Oh that moment when I realized the contest had a word limit! A word limit of 2500 words.

But in the end I succeeded in my goal. I didn’t pass the word limit. That is… I wrote 2500 words exactly and sent them off to be raked through.

Now that I think about it, I hope the word limit wasn’t supposed to include the title.

Um… whoops. (:

Days of Ice and Snow

Another week of February has passed, and with it came more snow and ice. Our house was shrouded in glorious fogs and silver mists; our trees traced with beautiful white crystals.

I commented to my mother how it is on days like these I wish I had a nice camera. So she offered that I borrow her phone. 🙂


 

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~ our driveway ~
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~ icy pinecones and needles ~
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~ one of our bushes ~
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I just love trees covered in icicles (:
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~ our frosty forest ~
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~ a bush completely covered in thick icicles ~
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and another picture of the same bush because it was just so cool (:

 

How has your week been? I hope you’ve been keeping snug inside your home. Or if you live somewhere warm, enjoying the sun. 😉

Of Commonplace Books: A Simple Guided Tour

One of my older sisters first introduced me to the idea of a commonplace book. I thought it was a wonderful idea so the next week I began my own. Now I have had it for a couple years and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would give a short little step-by-step guide to starting your own. (:

 

First of all, what is a commonplace book?

Well, it’s simply a notebook purposed for the filling of quotes.

 

How to keep your own:

Step 1: Pick out a notebook.

That is one of the special things about the commonplace book. Instead of writing quotes here and there depending on the closest resource, they are all kept together, in one spot, for easy use.

Technically, you use any kind of journal, but I would encourage to use something more beautiful than a 90 cent spiral-bound notebook. This is something you will be able to use throughout your life, so you will want something that can last. (:

 

Step 2: Begin to fill it.

Write down quotes from books or movies or speeches, lines of poetry, bible verses, and prayers. Basically, any beautiful, funny, or touching handful of words that you really like and wish to treasure away. I’ve even written down one or two things a friend has told me, because it impacted me so much.

You can doodle around the quotes, illustrate them, or just write them down. There are many possibilities, so be creative if you want. (:

 

Step 3: Revisit it.

The point of the commonplace book is not to store away quotes and just forget about them. Every once and while, pick your book up again and read through it! Sometimes you can find fresh inspiration, or suddenly appreciate one of the quotes even more than before.

 

Step 4: Share it!

Feel free to just show friends and family your book. Or maybe included a quote at the end of a letter you write. Maybe you write one out on a piece of paper for a friend you’ve been thinking about. You could even start exchanging one quote every month with someone you know who also keep up a commonplace journal.

 

And that’s it! Pretty simple, right?

But before I go, I’d like to share a couple of my favorite selections from my commonplace book. Feel free to add them to yours. (:

 

  •  “It’s better to live life as you will want to have lived, rather than spend your time worrying about the end.” – Ember Falls by S.D. Smith

 

  • “I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I’ve made them right.” – The Book Thief

 

  • “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.” – Mark Twain

 

  • “Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process.” – E.B. White

 

  • “Pain is God’s megaphone.” – C.S. Lewis

 

  • “True glory consists in doing what deserves to be written and writing what deserves to be read.” – Pliny the Elder

 

And finally a quote from Dr. Seuss that I doodled:

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What about you? Have you ever kept a commonplace book? What are your favorite quotes? Do you have one for me to add to my commonplace book?

 

A New Begining

I must confess: This is not my first blog.

The other my twelve-year old self plunged into with overwhelming eagerness, plowing through posts without thinking. It was going to be amazing. It was going to be popular. I was going to become famous for my spectacular book reviews.

But since then I’ve learned a lot and changed a lot. The flurry slowed. My heart sank. I cringed to read over it all. For while I tried to slowly veer the blog the other way; pushing for it to be something it wasn’t; hating to be that person who creates a second blog.

Finally, I gave up. It was time for a fresh start. And I severely apologize to all those bloggers out there who graduated from one blog to another for all the judgement and disgust I dealt out to them in my mind. 😛

Well, now I understand, and so here we are. (:

A little bit about me:

  • I’m a Christian.
  • I’m a bookworm.
  • I’m a writer. I love words and stories and the way they can make you smile, laugh, and then make you cry.
  • I’m a homeschooler. (Yes, I have friends, and no, I don’t do school in pajamas. Thank you. :))
  • I’m both a big sister, and a little sister.
  • I’m a pluviophile: I love rainy days.
  • I’m an artist to a small extent. (: I doodle and paint here and there.
  • And finally, I also enjoy crafts. Things like loping yarn with metal sticks to create blankets and hats and scarves.

A little bit about this blog:

  • I view it as a palette for musings, for words, for thoughts, and poetry, plastered here for those who are curious enough to wander through.
  • And to create a routine, I plan to post every Friday, starting next week.

 

So that’s me and this is my new blog!

Welcome! (: