The liberties of the libraries here are enchanting. As many books as one wants. CDs and DVDs. Internet. Every Thursday, we go to the Library for Advaith to be part of the Kids Story time Reading and Art Activity .
There also seems to be a Writers Group which meets at the same time, reading aloud their stories and poetry to each other for discussion and applause.
I was thrilled to find the wonderful ‘bird by bird, – some instructions on writing and life ‘ by Anne Lamott. A hilarious, readable, very helpful and inspiring book on writing which I’d just heard about about in the marvellous news letter Brain Pickings .
I still encourage anyone who feels at all compelled to write to do so. I just try to warn people who hope to get published that publication is not all that it is cracked up to be. But writing is. Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do — the actual act of writing — turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.
I tell my students that the odds of their getting published and of it bringing them financial security, peace of mind, and even joy are probably not that great. Ruin, hysteria, bad skin, unsightly tics, ugly financial problems, maybe; but probably not peace of mind. I tell them that I think they ought to write anyway.
A new author discovered here was Eloisa James through her book, Paris in Love, which is actually an account of her sabbatical in Paris for a year with her family.
Here is someone who seems to have it all. ‘Eloisa James is the pen name of Mary Bly. She is a tenured associate professor of English Literature at Fordham University who also writes best-selling Regency romance novels under her pen name. She’s good looking ( ex model), with an equal looker in her Italian husband, two children, a beautiful house . Even the cancer that struck her disappeared but left behind a hole in her heart which she decided to fill by selling their houses and cars and moving to Paris for a year! Her joyful writing makes one forgive her all this blessedness though.
The third person I enjoyed here is an old favorite, PD. James, Queen of the Murder Novel with a great attention to detail. One enjoys the travel with a very intelligent mind. Each time I picked up another book of hers, the housework suffered because you just cant stop reading.
The person I spent the last few days with was Anthony Doerr who writes of his year awarded by the American Academy of arts and Sciences in Four Seasons in Rome . Deciding that timidity is a waste of life he moves to Rome with his six month old twins an young wife and embarks on a year of observation, writing, coping with two young babies, in a foreign land where he knows not the language and yet writes a delectable record of his joys and travails.
‘A good journal entry like a good song, or sketch or photograph ought to break up the habitual and lift away the film that forms over the eye the finger, the tongue, the heart.
A good journal entry ought to be a love letter to the world.’