Sunday, June 26, 2016

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Dear Elizabeth,

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am a writer and I write for the pure joy of it.  But I fear of it.  I'm not good enough, or other people won't like it or I'm simply not talented enough.  You've helped me to say phooey to all those things I'm afraid of and you've shown me that as a writer, I'm not alone.  I saw myself in every chapter of Big Magic.

I wasn't a huge fan of Eat, Pray, Love when I read it. But I loved it more when a story I wrote about my puppy named Ginger who flunked obedience school, was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Dog's Life,  as "Treat, Pray, Love".  I loved the chapter about how ideas float around the universe searching for a place to land.  My first novel, One Clown Short is story about a woman who lands a job at a circus supply company.  It's a satirical look at the workplace complete with yahzoos and clown costumes.  While I made about $100 in royalties and occasionally I'm paid thirty five cents for a copy of the digital version,  The Office appeared to great success on television.  They worked at a paper company.  Hmm.  I understand completely that ideas belong to different people in varying degrees.

Big Magic is in me, I know it.  I have to let it flow and let go of my fear of not being good enough.  I am already good enough and my creative life will take me to great and wonderful heights, if I just let it.  I write for me!  It's not my baby, I'm its baby.

Thank you for sharing your insight through this book.  I needed it!  I still have my day job, but I am living a creative life and big magic is headed my way!


Linda C Wright
Creator of Big Linda Magic

Saturday, June 18, 2016

One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash

One Foot in Eden by Ron Rash

I have sweet little story to tell about why I read a second title by Ron Rash.  If any of you read my review of A World Made Straight, you're probably thinking why did she read another book by this author if she disliked the first one so much.  Well, here's why.

A couple weeks ago the Brevard County Library System sent me an email saying the book I'd ordered, One Foot in Eden was in.  I knew darn well I hadn't ordered any books, but I had a sneaking suspicion who had.  When the book club discussed A World Made Straight, no one really liked it all that much.  Yes, it had plenty of good qualities but lots of discrepancies to go along.  Our librarian, Lori, leader and book chooser appeared heartbroken.  She loves reading Ron Rash.

I went to the library to pick up the book and ran into Lori.  When I told her that a book had been ordered for me and I didn't remember doing it, her face broke out into a big smile.  I knew it was her and we had a laugh over my excellent detective work.  I took One Foot in Eden home.

One Foot in Eden is the story of a murder.  We know right away there's been a murder and who did it.  There is however, no evidence.  The story is told first from the point of view of the sheriff, the same story is told through the eyes of the farmer's wife, then the farmer and finally many years later by their son.  Ron Rash's prose is rich and interesting to read.  How he put this story together is unique and the pages almost turn by themselves.

Even though I liked this book, I have the same reservation about it that I had about A World Made Straight.  All the parts didn't seem to connect for me.  I couldn't escape the feeling I was missing something.  One thing I do know however, is that every book I read helps me to see the world from a different set of eyes and whether I think the book is good, bad or even mediocre, I'm a better person for having read it.  And I take my hat off to all the wonderful librarians who show us how to enrich our lives through the power of books.  Thank you, Lori!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Into the Magic Shop by James Doty M.D.

Into the Magic Shop by James Doty, M.D.

This book has a very long subtitle which I didn't write here.  I didn't read it or know it existed when I picked up this book or I probably wouldn't have selected it.  When I read the words "magic shop" I figured I'd enter a world full of math tricks and optical illusions like my husband keeps handy to entertain any children he meets.  Boy was I barking up the wrong tree.

The opening scene is a doctor operating on a young boy's brain to remove a cancerous tumor.  The boy begins to bleed and the doctor steps back, gathers his thoughts and clamps the bleeder saving the boy's life.  The tension was palpable.  I thought, "What in the heck did I get myself into?"

For some unknown reason I kept going.  Jim has lost his thumb, his fake thumb that he keeps in a special box with other trinkets and mementos.  He rides his bike to a magic shop to see if he can afford a new one.  There he meets Ruth, who sees something special in him from the instant she met him.  If he'll come back to the shop everyday for the rest of the summer, she promised to teach him something special.  Jim comes from a poor and troubled family.  His mother is severely depressed, his father is an abusive alcoholic.  Jim has nothing to lose and returns promptly each day.  Ruth guides him through the basics of meditation, setting goals and making affirmations.

As a young boy, Jim embraced these teachings and realized real change in his life.  Against all odds, his dream of becoming a doctor came true.  He used these gifts to help others and studied how they affect the brain.  This is truly interesting and fascinating story about the mind and the power of gratitude.

I've read many books on the power of positive attitude.  I've studied Reiki, meditation and practice gratitude every day.  I know the difference they have made in my own life.  Into the Magic Shop has added a much needed building block to my foundation.  This is a great story with plenty of take aways to make all of our lives better.

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Good Earth by Pearl S Buck

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

What's not to love about Wang Lung?  We meet him as he's paying for his new bride who is a slave to a wealthy landowner.  Wang Lung is a lowly farmer who must have a wife who is a virgin to give grandchildren to his aging father.  He knows she'll be ugly since the pretty slaves are taken by their rich and self indulgent master.  What he doesn't know is the value O-Lan will bring to his family and his farm.

I've read The Good Earth many times and I always learn something new from it.  This time it's a book club selection and I was excited to read this wonderful story once again.  Not only do I love this  book because I love to read about the Chinese culture, but I adore the way this story is told.  Just as Wang Lung moves thoughtfully forward in his decisions, the prose transports the reader as if we are seeing the world through Wang Lung's eyes.  I could sense his pride as he harvested the rice from his field and the warmth of the silver coins the crop brought to him.  As the good earth sifted through his fingers, he discovered the meaning of life living deep within his soul.

The Good Earth tells the story of all of us. We are constantly searching for something more out of life, that which will make us happy.  Wang Lung is no different and grounds himself in his land that provides more than enough for his family.  He becomes a wealthy man and the one thing that never fails him is the good earth.

The Good Earth is one of those classics that shouldn't be missed. Thank you, Pearl S. Buck for your incredible insight and for sharing this story with all of us.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Feather in the Storm by Emily Wu

Feather in the Storm by Emily Wu

I love reading about all things Chinese.  The people and the culture fascinate me.  I've read many books both fiction and memoir about the Chinese way of life.  Feather in the Storm is Emily's story of her life and that of her family while caught in the middle of Chairman Mao's Cultural Revolution.

What struck me the most while I read this story is that this was all happening in the 1960's and 70's.  Emily is the same age as me.  There I was going to school, shopping in a well stocked grocery store and having a carefree childhood.  On the other side of the world, Emily is denied the ability to read books, food is rationed and she's shuffled from town to remote village and back again at the whim of the Communist party.  I was safely tucked into my same cozy bed each and every night. And when  my parents made me clean my dinner plate by saying, "There are starving children in China," they didn't make that up.  They had watched the evening news.

Much of this story is tough to read.  Emily is a sweet and loving girl who makes a lot of friends along the way.  And she learns how to discern between the good and the bad, or in other words how to play the game.  She reaches her breaking point many times, but she gathers her inner strength and keeps on going.

Feather in the Storm is a story that is a history lesson with a personal touch.  This memoir is a true testament to the strength and resiliency of the human spirit.  

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

Well I've made a huge leap forward.  I've finally discovered audio books.  I pop a CD into the car player and listen while I'm driving to work.  The written word takes on a whole new meaning when spoken.  So here we go!

I last read A Raisin in the Sun while in high school.  Being young and naive, I couldn't fully comprehend the depth of this play.  I knew it as one of those classics that should never be forgotten but I filed it in the way back of my mind with the rest of the things I've forgotten since my teenage years.  It's a play so this audio version comes complete with not only actors but doorbells, telephone rings and squeaky doors opening and closing. I got an inside look into this family that I never would have discovered by simply reading the words on the page.

The Younger family is waiting for a life insurance check.  Lena and her children, Walter Lee and Beneatha , Walter's wife Ruth and her grandson, Travis live together in a small apartment on the south side of Chicago in the mid 1950's.  Like all of us, they had dreams of building a better life.  Each member of the family had a different idea on how the money should be spent in order to find those dreams.  What they learn about themselves and the world they are living in is a powerful lesson.

What struck me the most about this play is how far we've come in trying to heal the racial divide in this country but how little we've changed now that we've arrived in the 21st century.  We've only made our differences more visible since the advent of 24 hour news.  It's sad.  I highly recommend that A Raisin in the Sun get dusted off, read or listened to, whatever works for you.  The story is thought provoking, real and current for today's world.  A classic for today, real change for tomorrow.

City of Thieves by David Benioff

City of Thieves by David Benioff It's World War II in Leningrad, Russia.  17 year old Lev elected to stay behind in the city when h...