Monday, April 22, 2013

Less is More

I have a confession.

I like to act out my own scenes sometimes. (When no one is home; I definitely cannot act). I like to do this, though, because it gives me an idea of what exactly is going on in the scene. It gives me a really clear picture of what I want to happen, because usually I can only describe what's happening if I can see it first.

The problem with this is I see everything, so my first instinct is to write everything. I think, "well, I see him turn on his back and do this, so I must describe every little movement so the reader knows what's happening."


Every book would be three times as long if every writer did that. The thing is, the reader doesn't need to know what I see in my head. I give them enough words so that they can take the words and use their imagination to fill in the rest. It's amazing what you can do with a few words. It's easy, for me anyway, to think if I describe it enough, they'll see it perfectly. In fact, I think the opposite is true. You just have use the exact perfect words so that those words trigger the imagination in the way you want them to, so they see a bit of the picture you see (of course, it will never be the same picture).

And that's really hard. But whoever said writing was easy?

Monday, April 15, 2013

On Wanting Someone to Love The Same Books You Do

“The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.”  Katherine Mansfield (1888 – 1923)

My mother sent me this quote that she found a few weeks ago, and added the comment that she loves when her kids read the same books as her and then we can discuss. My brother, my mom and I have read a lot of books around the same time, usually popular YA series (we read Patrick Ness' Chaos Walking kind of at the same time, as well as The Hunger Games and my brother I fought over who got to read Mockingjay when it came out).
I definitely agree. There is just something incredibly enjoyable about being able to talk about a book with someone, especially with someone who has similar ideas and opinions as you. People like to like things together. That's basically what the website tumblr is; people liking things with other people.

So, naturally I would find it kind of disappointing if I really REALLY loved a book that no one else I knew was really into at all. I want someone to love books with me (most of the time).
I was thinking this a few days ago, and then I started imagining that there was someone with the exact same reading tastes as me and we loved the same books. Then I could always have someone else to love a book with me.
But then I realized that would be really, really boring. Part of the fun of reading or recommending books is finding that person who will fall in love with that book just as you did. No two people have the exact same reading tastes, I think. The world is a colourful place, and I love it.
What would you do if you met your reading taste clone?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Tangerine and The Ways A Book Can Affect You

Do you ever have those weird thoughts that pop up sometimes, randomly triggered by something in your everyday life? I don't know, maybe you don't, but I do.

To backtrack a bit, the other day a fifth grader checked out a book called Tangerine. Strangely, the cover and title seemed vaguely familiar to me. I realized that at some point in the past I must have read it. My memory of the book slowly returned, although all I could remember at that point was that it was weird.

The fifth grader returned it, so I checked it out and am now in the midst of reading it. I'm only a few pages in, but I've come across a pattern. I've realized that a ton of those weird thoughts that pop up when randomly triggered came from this book that I read who knows how many years ago (when I was in elementary school, at least).

First of all, there's this part in Tangerine where the MC Paul is talking about his damaged vision, and how his teachers and parents use him as example, because the rumour is that he damaged his eyes from looking straight into the sun. "Teachers and other adults always seemed to value me as an example. I was the living proof that you shouldn't look at an ecplise or you'll go blind; that you shouldn't play in an abandoned refrigerator or you'll suffocate; that you shouldn't go swimming right after you eat or you'll get stomach cramps and drown." I recall that every time someone said to wait to swim after you eat I thought of this book.

Secondly,  in the book the school has portable classrooms. Ever since I read Tangerine, the thought and idea of portable classrooms kept coming back to me.

It's a really odd experience rereading a book you'd almost completely forgotten about, but that has affected you in so many ways and that you remember so well. Other than the memories, I don't remember anything particulary special about Tangerine (although I'm not done rereading yet so I guess I still could remember something). I almost feel like this book haunts me or something.

It's fascinating, the ways a book can affect you, isn't it?

(P.S. I know I'm not doing very well with my blog-every-Monday promise. But at least I'm still posting this week!)

Monday, April 1, 2013

Some Pictures of the Philippines

I don't know! I don't know what to write about today. So I guess I will just post some pictures of some of the cool things I've gotten to do this year.

In October I went to Tagatay. This is the view of Taal volcano from where we stayed. Unfortunately it was cloudy most of the time.


In January I had the opportunity to climb Mount Pinatubo. This is on the way to the start of the hike, riding on 4x4s.

Mount Pinatubo climbing group! I'm the one in the Canada shirt. :)

The inside of the volcano.

In February I went to Corregidor island. If you know any history about the US in Asia in WWII, you might know about Corregidor. So much history. I love it. And so beautiful.

We camped on the beach under the stars at Corregidor. This is what I saw when I woke up.

The view of our campsite from way up on Malinta hill on Corregidor island.

The view of Corregidor from the lighthouse.
 I think climbing Mount Pinatubo and going to Corregidor for a weekend are my two favourite things I've done here in the Philippines so far. This is only a small picture of the Philippines, though. It certainly doesn't always seem so beautiful, especially when you're living in Manila with so much pollution and poverty.

If you're ever on this side of the world, though, I'd definitely encourage you to visit. :)


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