Monday, November 15, 2010

A Great Book, a Cool Song and a Goal

    I've never been a New Year's Resolution person, but goals I do pretty often. Last week I reached a personal goal for 2010 by reading my 100th book. The best thing gained by reaching this goal is that by reading all the time it has greatly encouraged both my boys to want to read more. Son#1 is excelling and out-reading most of the kids in his class and Son#2 will actually sit and let me read to him. Son#1 hasn't been competitive before and its a big deal for him to strive to push himself and out-read his friends and getting the most AR points. Considering #2's favorite thing to do with a book used to be to throw it across the room, his asking us to read to him is a huge improvement as well. Of course the books #2 enjoys all involve some kind of bug or lizard and lots of creepy-crawly pictures but I'm not going to get picky about it.
    My personal motivation for reading so many books was to flex my atrophied brain muscles. No one gives us new mom's a handout at the hospital that explains how having a baby will rot your brain if you'll let it. A few Christmas's ago my brother tested me on his Brain Age game and I was horrified when it told me my brain was 80 years old. At the time, we were living in Minnesota and I had a six month old baby who didn't sleep so that's not so hard to understand. Still, it shocked me enough that I realized I had to get the lead out and do something about it.
    Reading also helps to pull me out of my own story and rest my brain. Sometimes the old creativity battery needs a recharge, especially if the scenes or action in my story gets too intense. I read a piece of information a while back that says if you want to write successfully that you should also be reading at least 80 books a year. At first I thought that was nutty then I started to see the benefits and now I understand that statement and completely agree with it. Most of all, reading so much has eliminated television from my life. I wasn't a big TV person before but I had certain shows I enjoyed. NCIS, Biggest Loser, Criminal Minds, those were the ones I used to watch regularly. Now, I only catch a re-run here and there if K is watching it. And even then, I unusually start reading again after a few minutes. Needless to say, my reading sometimes irks my television-loving, anti-reading husband. I still enjoy a good movie but I just couldn't careless about most of what's on television these days. The fact that most of it is brain-draining reality shows has a lot to do with that too but don't get me started on that crap.
    My one guilty television pleasure is VH1's Top Twenty Video's every morning. I've always been a lover of music. I have specific artists that I enjoy all their work, John Mayer, Avril Lavigne, Sara McLachlan, Train, Eric Clapton, Cold Play and then lots of others that I pick and choose over their work. Music has quite a staring role in how my stories are formed so there's always some kind of music playing around here when I'm working. I've never been much of a poet so I totally respect the skill involved in writing the lyrics of a song. Writing a book is a lot like talking to yourself so that's easy for me but if you told me I'd have to write a song that would be a bad thing because I totally suck at it. There's nothing better than a good song to either get you up, strum your heart strings or even cause tears to bubble up to your eyes.
    In the coming weeks, I'll be posting parts of my first book and also the corresponding songs from the play list. My stories are meant to be enjoyed a certain way so I believe in giving a reader the whole experience. Read the words but listen to the songs too and I promise you will be able to tap into the emotion that fills the writing. Today, I'm singing along with The Script, Muse, Paramore, Jack's Mannequin and Kings of Leon. Some of these are parts of the play list but most are just for my enjoyment. Today I challenge you to find a good book to read, turn the stereo up loud and jam out to a good song and set a goal for yourself.
Till Then,

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