Art and the Act of Creating

Today I’m over at Off the Page, writing about art, creativity, and creation:

The afternoon is spent with friends, but before I go to bed, I sit down with an old book and skim through pages until a few words jump out at me. I tear the page out, not so carefully because this creation is just for me. My roommate introduced me to blackout poetry, this idea of taking a page covered in words and focusing on just a few of those words, blacking out the rest so that out of something existing, out of some unwanted book, comes something new. And so I outline the words I want to keep in pencil, then get out a paintbrush and some paint and block out the rest of the page until only a few words are left. Out of a page of words comes a poem. Blackout poetry reminds me to look for the beautiful and the profound and the true in even the unexpected places in life, the places that I’ve given up on or dismissed as unimportant.

Read the rest here!


My Bookshelf–well, bookshelves

Kathryn at In the Depths of Dreams had an open tag on our bookshelves, which looked like so much fun! So, here goes…

Describe your bookshelf and where you got it from

Bookshelf? HA!

In my current apartment, not including the bookshelves I still have at home, I have four bookshelves:

The real bookshelves I inherited from various people; the top left bookshelf my roommate and I made from bricks and planks, because it is both cheaper and so much easier to move than a real bookshelf is. (Although I probably do own as many books as are in these pictures, most of these bookshelves I share with my roommate)

Also, some other places that I keep books since my bookshelves are always overflowing and disorganized:

Yes, those are boxes. I didn’t even take pictures of them all! 🙂 And piles. I love keeping the books I’m reading or soon want to read on my windowsill.. As you can see, they often migrate to my bed through the day.

How do you organize your books?

That’s optimistic. I do keep school and personal books separate, but I’m pretty willing to live in chaos. I organized my personal books by author when I moved in, but as you can see I didn’t keep to that organization very long. I know where my books are; I’m happy!

What’s the thickest/largest book on your shelves?

The Bible?

What’s the thinnest book on your shelf?

Any one of my Avatar: The Last Airbender comics.

Most expensive book?

Besides textbooks, probably my copy of the complete Chronicles of Narnia.

The last book your read on your shelf?

Sabriel, by Garth Nix.

Do you have more than one copy of a book?

Currently, no!

Do you have a complete series?

Many, many, many. These are the ones I have here:

Not pictured (they’re still at home) include:

  • Sherlock Holmes
  • Harry Potter
  • Hunger Games
  • Gregor the Overlander series, also by Suzanne Collins
  • Wrinkle in Time series, by Madeleine L’Engle
  • C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy

Star Wars series:

  • Heir to the Empire trilogy
  • The Jedi Academy trilogy
  • Callisto trilogy

What’s the newest addition to your shelf?

I picked these up from a professor who was cleaning out his office. Woohoo free books!

The oldest book on your shelf??

The inside says it’s from 1837. It’s a book of devotional stories.

A book you’d hate to let out of your sight? (a.k.a. no one is ever borrowing it, ever?)

Honestly, nope.

Instead, I just decided to brag about my beautiful books:

Those two are my most beautiful books, the kind where the book’s beauty just makes reading them that much more of a joy. These are Momo and The Neverending Story by Michael Ende in the original German. Momo has the most beautiful, breathtaking illustrations I’ve ever seen, and The Neverending Story has wonderful colors and illustrations that fit so well with the story. A close second to these two is my copy of the complete Chronicles of Narnia, which has all the original color illustrations.

Most beat up book?

My 1837 devotional. Unsurprisingly.

Most pristine book?

Most of them? I try to not be too cruel to my books.

A book from your childhood?

I don’t have any of those here, and I’m pretty brutal about cleaning out books. I’m not sure I have any from before late elementary school anymore, and a lot of my early books were borrowed from an aunt who has since claimed them back.

A book that doesn’t belong to you?

I actually don’t have any right now! However, my copy of I, Jedi by Michael Stackpole is currently with a friend.

A book that is your favorite color?

My favorite color changes with the day and mood, so probably all of them.

Any signed books?

Only Biblical commentaries. #seminaryproblems


Thanks for joining me! Now it’s your turn. Consider yourself tagged, if you’d like to give a bookshelf tour. Or let me know below-favorite books on your shelf?

What is success?

As I prepare to graduate, and as I approach the date with no long-term plans for afterwards, I find myself thinking about my writing. My prospects are slim for getting a job straight out of my summer internship, and one goal I have is to make writing more than a hobby.  More than something I do in odd moments and only for myself. 

That goal feels so far away. The viewing numbers of this blog are pathetic. My novels are all half-written at best. The list of publications I’ve been paid to write for is nowhere close to becoming a double-digit number. The money I make from writing is barely a trickle. 

Yet, when I list my writing achievements to others, they are always impressed, even enthusiastic. “That’s so amazing!” they say, with utter sincerity, and “You could do far worse than the places you’ve been published in so far.” 

I have accomplished something as a writer. Sure, there’s more to do, more I’d like to do–always–but I have written pieces and reached goals that are worth celebrating. Sure,  I haven’t reached the point where I could live off of my writing, but I do make money, and I’ve worked hard and reached so many mile marks in the past year alone. Having farther I’d like to go doesn’t mean I haven’t already come far. I can be proud of what I’ve accomplished so far but still have more that I dream of doing.

So, that’s where I am right now: proud of what I’ve accomplished, but dreaming and planning and writing still.