A Bringer of New Things

Musings on personal growth, books, motherhood, writing, and more.

Summer Mind Cleanup

Cedar Lakes in Ripley, West Virginia, where I went for the WV Writers Conference earlier this summer

Cedar Lakes in Ripley, West Virginia, where I went for the WV Writers Conference earlier this summer

I know my blog has been quieter than usual this summer. Mostly, I’ve been writing! More below on that. But for the past few weeks I’ve also been pretty busy with various summer activities, such as a huge yard sale we had last weekend. (Whew! I was the one who pushed for us to do it, but I didn’t fully realize how exhausting it would be!)

But now I’m ready to take a moment for a “mind cleanup” and tell you about what I’ve been reading and writing.

On WordPress

I’m sorry to say I haven’t been reading other blogs very much lately, but here are a few posts I have seen and enjoyed:

Nillu Nasser Stelter: “On Self-love and People Pleasing”
I can relate very much to the feelings that are so honestly expressed in this post.

onehungryghost: “Appreciation as a social tool”
Related to the previous, this post, along with the one that follows it (“An economy of mollification”), expresses the costs of making nice and offering false praise when people expect it just so they won’t feel threatened by you.

Megan Has OCD: “5 Ways to Reduce Anxiety”
As someone who also struggles with chronic anxiety, I appreciate Megan’s thoughtful reflections about ways she deals with her anxiety.

In My Reading

I’ve been reading a lot of fiction this summer, and I feel like I still want more! I’ve been trying to consume more popular YA titles—partly to know what’s out there, but mostly for fun. 🙂 Here are some of the fiction titles I’ve enjoyed, with my boiled-down impressions:

The Boston Girl by Anita Diaman—loved it! Interesting both historically and humanly.

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen—loved this original and engaging story.

Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant by Veronica Roth—of course I enjoyed being in this dystopian, action-filled world with loveable Tris! I might have done a few things differently with the last book, myself…but no spoilers here!

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green—just nice and sweet.

Twilight by Stephanie Meyers—I watched the movie first and liked it better than the book, but I’ve heard others who read the books first say they liked the books better, so I guess it just depends on which you do first!

Agatha Christie books: The Clocks, Appointment with Death, The A.B.C. Murders, Peril at End House—I always love Agatha Christie mysteries, and I dread the day when I’ve read (and remembered) them all!

Alexander McCall Smith’s The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (Mma Ramotswe) series—I think I’ve just about read them all, and each one is like a delicious cup of tea. (Red tea, specifically—you’ll see why if you read them.)

Dorothy Howell’s “Haley Randolph” mysteries, all of them up to Evening Bags and Executions—reading these is super fun and also good for my training in assertiveness!

Picadilly Jim by P.G. Wodehouse—I’d been meaning to try Wodehouse for a while. He’s very clever! This book read more like a play than a novel to me—which I guess isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

And The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, which I’m still reading. I’d never read it before, and didn’t think I would like it—but so far, I really love it. It’s eloquent, engaging, interesting, powerful, and, above all, human.

I’m also reading a few good nonfiction titles, including:

The Moral Landscape by Sam Harris—so far, I’m really impressed with Harris’s arguments for his thesis that there is moral truth and that science can address it: if there’s anything that we all intrinsically value, then it must be the wellbeing of conscious creatures; and it is increasingly the business of science to say whether something is good or bad—more or less helpful or hurtful—for the wellbeing of conscious creatures; therefore, science can say whether something is good or bad. That’s not nearly as eloquent as Harris puts it: check out the book!

Finding Balance: 101 Concepts for Better Self-care by Dan Rosin—I plucked this off the shelf at my library, and it has turned out to be a great buffet of idea-offerings for people who tend to be driven, Type-A worriers—like me—to help them toward living balanced and healthy lives.

In My Writing

I’ve been trying to write a little every day on a big YA novel I’m working on. I’ve been plotting/creating it for a couple of years now and am finally well into the first draft. I know it’s going to need some serious revision—I have to tell myself that in order to keep moving forward, that is, stop myself from going back and starting all over or trying to fix what I don’t like. (I was inspired to take this approach at the always-wonderful West Virginia Writers Conference that I went to in June.) It’s a rather huge project that may turn out to be a trilogy rather than a novel. In keeping with the current trends, it’s a dystopian (but in the past) world with a tyrannical authority that the main characters, teenagers, have to fight, but it involves religion and several other unique features that I don’t want to give away just yet!

After I do my daily work on that, even if it’s only a sentence, then I turn to my other projects, which are basically endless and always changing. I’m all over the map: children’s stories and silly poems, fiction exercises and short stories, song lyrics, personal essays…right now I have a real hunger for that kind of variety! I’m sure I’ll start posting some of my creative jottings again soon, but lately it feels good just to keep them contained in my head and my notebooks.


I hope you are all having a good summer. We’ve been drowning in humidity here all summer, but fall is on the way!


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This entry was posted on August 6, 2015 by in Mind Cleanups and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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