Books I Love But Others Love to Hate – Part 1

Reading is becoming a lost art.  FAR too many people have told me “I don’t read” or “I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished a real book before,” and it makes me want to cry.  And rant.  And (of course) write about it.  (Even though the only people who will read this are actually readers…)

I’m one of those people who became a bookworm and bibliophile the moment I learned to read.  I have my own personal library at home (I have about 140 books), and I’ve read all of them at least once (some of them more than 4 or 5 times).  Needless to say, I’ve read quite a few books – many of which have been novels and series that became popular within the last 5 years.  Of these books (the ones that have recently become popular), a few have been made into movies and therefore become hotly debated topics of conversation because of their added publicity and popularity.

So, in an effort to persuade people who “aren’t readers” to pick up a book “everybody else” is reading, I thought I’d start a series of posts about books I’ve come to love, but others love to hate.  I don’t know how long this series will last (it’s at least worthy of 2 or 3 more posts), but I’ll only cover one book (or series, or author) in each post.

For this post, it seems appropriate that I start with Stephanie Meyer and her books – The Twilight Saga and The Host.

Yes, I’m a Twilight fan – but not for the reasons I know all of you are thinking.  First off, I hate how people tend to lump the movies in with the books and call them the same thing.  They aren’t the same thing!  And this is coming from someone who has actually READ all the books!  Now I must admit, I do like the movies.  Yes, the first couple got off to a rough start because the cast wasn’t that great and they had small budgets, but once they got a little momentum, I think they’re a series of pretty well-made movies with mediocre-to-okay acting.

The books, however, are a whole different story (no pun intended).  I consider Stephanie Meyer to be a good author.  She’s simply a fantastic writer, and even though she’s been accused of taking cliches and somehow “remaking” them without actually remaking them well, her stories are deeper than that.  Beneath those first person narratives, there’s a pervasive theme that’s present in both the Twilight Saga and her novel, The Host: what does it mean to be human?  It’s a prevalent question!  All Meyer does is explore it in the context of a series of fiction novels.  In the Twilight books, the question is about whether vampires are still “human” in the sense that they retain essential elements of their humanity even after they’re changed into vampires.  In The Host, the question is whether the alien species that has invaded the earth and taken over humanity actually has elements of humanity in themselves, and whether being intimately linked with humans makes them more human.

Whether or not you care about these deeper topics, though, I think Meyer’s novels are worth reading simply because they capture a character’s perspective in a way that makes them easy to identify with and easy to understand.  Bella of Twilight and Wanda of The Host are admirable characters, and they have nuances to their personalities that you’re still discovering even as the story is coming to a close.  In short, Meyer’s characterization skills by themselves are worth witnessing.

One final note – because The Host was written after the Twilight Saga, the quality of writing is noticeably better, and it’s written more for an older audience than the Twilight books were.  Even if you’ve read the Twilight books and not liked them, I would still recommend reading The Host simply because it’s so different from the Twilight books.

What are your thoughts on this author?  What was your reaction when you read these books or saw these movies? Does my argument make you want to read them any more than you did before you read this post? I’d be very interested to hear your answers!  As always, thanks for reading!

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The Writer as an Artist

How would you describe a writer?  What definition would you give?  “Someone who puts thoughts and ideas into words,” perhaps?  Or maybe “someone who creates stories” or even “someone who can express themselves through the written word”?

My definition is much more simple: a writer is an artist.  Artists use their surroundings, emotions, perceptions and ideas as their material to create their own medium of communication.  That medium is their chosen form of art, and through that art, they attempt to communicate their unique and profound perceptions of truth and beauty.  This is exactly what writers do.  There may be many, many, many forms of writing out there, but there are myriad types and forms of art too – painting, pottery, sculpting, drawing, photography, animation, jewelry making, cinematography, acting, singing…  The list goes on.  Granted, there will always be disagreements about which forms of writing (and other art forms too, for that matter) actually qualify as art, but my point remains the same: writers are artists.

Some would argue that writing is a lesser form of art than the ones I listed above because pieces like paintings and sculptures are forms of “visual art,” and are therefore universally easier to understand because they lack a language barrier.  I would counter that any kind of visual art can be just as hard to understand as a piece of writing that isn’t written in your language.  Every piece of art has a profound concept behind it, and it’s the skill and intention of the artist that makes that piece of art easy or hard to understand.  Also, other types of art have just as many restrictions as writing does.  Pieces of writing can always be translated (even if some of the original meaning can get lost in the translation), but other forms of art have other restrictions that writing doesn’t have – such as being confined to one still image if we’re talking about photography or painting, or being restricted to a certain time frame if we’re talking about cinematography or animation, or even the restriction of one specific pose or shape if we’re talking about sculpting or pottery.  All of these restrictions put pressure on the artist, forcing him to refine and clarify his concept before pursuing it in his chosen art form.

I would even go so far as to say that writing might actually be a way of reaching more people than any other form of art.  Because no matter what picture you wish to convey in your reader’s mind, it will always look different to every eye that reads it.  You want to paint the image of a beautiful woman?  She will be beautiful, no matter what details you use to describe her because everyone who reads that description will imagine their own version of beauty.  It might not be your version, but you succeeded in communicating what you set out to.

You want to describe a desolate wasteland?  An emotion etched into a character’s face?  An object of rare beauty and mystical power?  Use the best language you can find, translating it from the image fixed in your mind, and if your skill can make the image breathe, you’ve succeeded in your purpose.

Because words are not color; they are the brushes.

Words are not lenses; they are the light by which you see the model.

Words are not the end; they are the means.

Visual artists can only show you one picture, but words can not only show you the whole story, they can become every perspective, conform themselves to every individual’s imagination, and even communicate an ideal in its truest, purest form.  Because the idea behind the words is an essence even the blind can understand.

And everybody knows that even the blind can read.

 

SoundCloud – Reading My Poetry

Hello all!

I’ve recently been doing something new with my poetry – something that has been picking up in popularity within the literature community on deviantART (my most active site).  Usually the words of a writer are confined to the page on which they were written and the hearts and minds of the readers, but recently I’ve been experimenting with recording myself reading my own poetry and then posting the tracks online for my readers to listen to.  I’m using a site called SoundCloud to do this, and I think it’s proven to be a success so far.  My deviantART readers were thrilled to hear their favourite pieces read aloud, especially by me, the author, so I’m hoping my readers on this site will like it too!

The first recording I did was of my poem “Untitled.”  I’ve posted that piece here before, but I’ll re-post it below for those of you who like to follow along as something is read aloud to you!  The link for the sound recording will be right above the poem.

Thank you for reading, and please let me know what you think of this idea!  I’ve done several other recordings so far too, so those will be posted sometime in the near future!

 

https://soundcloud.com/mistressofquills/untitled

 

Untitled

1.
inexplicable things
that we sense
like wings fluttering
in the shadows

or chest rising with the effort
of feeling

crystal chandeliers
so fragile in the wind

shards of memory
piercing the stillness
and screams silenced
with agony

the lashes to our eyes
hurt and bleed

come again
and wound me

so close to breaking
I can see the cracks.
they widen
and begin to disintegrate

the holes patched
the pain “forgotten”
(as if things
like that can just go away)

I see light
cold and clear through dry eyelashes
whispers in the ink
and music that sings

2.
inexplicable things
darling and sweet
unmistakable
…and there

I see the light in your eyes
I hear your warm heart

I know your thoughts
…I feel you here

there it is
on the raven’s wings:
happiness…
on the feathers of pain

I can see the black
far away

but always close
as a dream (nightmare)

I am not lost
I can see beauty
light is fun to watch…
dancing in the eddies

hands are warm
inviting and open
new for me and my still heart
who are you?

a new word is mine
never mine before
glass – fragile with color prisms:
happy.

3.
inexplicable things
so incomprehensible
and wrong
opposite and backwards

impossible to understand
I don’t…

a paradox
brows furrowed

flashes and color
exploding
rampant, run wild
and be beautiful

yes or no?
stutter in silence

numb and trapped
words with no explanation

behind the scenes
a fairy (or elf?)
pulls the strings
marionette or voodoo doll?

highs and lows
intense beyond measure
tears and smiles
either or, or even together

what is this creature?
the piano plays on
rising notes
in question

Ramblings and Updates and Poetry!

Yikes…..it’s been a whole month since my last post…..oops.  Sorry guys!  I’m working a summer job right now, and in the time between work shifts, I’m trying to finish a commission that’s long overdue, so that’s why I haven’t been very active.  I guess I might as well say this – I probably won’t be very good at being active until the end of the summer – which for me is late August.  I do intend to keep this blog going, so I’m sorry for being so sporadic, but right now my schedule is too crazy for me to be able to promise regular posts. When I do get on, though, I’ll be sure to show you guys more of my writing!

If you’re the impatient type, though, and you want to see more of my creative writing that what I post here, this is the site that I’m by far the most active on:  mistressofquills.deviantart.com

I also have a facebook for MistressofQuills, and a twitter @mistressofquill  (I know…lame that I couldn’t fit the ‘s’ at the end -.-), and also an instagram (username MistressofQuills) if you’re interested in seeing some of my amateur photography!  I have a tumblr too but I’m even less active on there as I am here….  Hey don’t blame me, if I have too much internet in my life, I won’t have time for writing! (…it’s happened before…)

So!  Follow me on any of those websites if you so desire, and I’ll just continue tryyying to be more active on here…. TRY being the key word.

Now that I’ve rambled enough, let me show you another piece of poetry, since my creative writing is the whole point of this blog(:  This was written last September, so it’s actually a little weird for me to look this far back and see how far I’ve come…  Anyway, thanks for reading, and as always, please let me know your opinion!

 

Lights and Love

If I lit a little crimson candle
for every crystalline tear I cried,
for every shaky breath I sighed
and every time I’ve almost died
when you looked into my eyes…

My house would be filled with light,
and the heat of a thousand flames
that writhe and dance and play games
of flickering fun and flirty aims,
as if to taunt me and my pain.

So I pick them up, one by one,
while they continue their wild dance,
with a deep bow and a little prance,
as if their devious aim is to entrance.
They don’t understand: their purpose
is to light my heart and warm my soul.

They light the pier in a soft glow
that doesn’t rival the moon’s show…
silver brilliance, beams white as snow.
My eyes gleam with tears unknown.

The beauty of the night is lost on me…
the moon, the stars, the candle light…
the little flames dance with growing fright
as they bleed red tears in the night,
their life burning and bleeding away
as I sit there and weep and pray
for the day we are together again.

Because, my love, I miss it when
we could part and say “until then,”
and simply mean the next day…

I ache for that time to return.

So until then, my dear, know that I remember all the tender caresses.
I remember the gentle words, whispered in secret, fingers tangling in silky tresses.
Know that my love lives on, past the forced silence and the painful distance.
That I will wait for you, as long as it takes, for I possess an unwavering persistence.

Live, with those words in your mind,
Laugh, with that promise in your heart…
Love me, till the end of time.