Monthly Archives: July 2012

What I’m reading: An Object of Beauty

A few weeks ago I went to Barnes and Noble, where it seemed that half of my current reading list was on the bargain table. After a mini-shopping spree, I then had to buy another bookcase. One of the books that I picked up was Steve Martin’s An Object of Beauty. Being by Steve Martin, I expected the book to be good. He has an incredible work ethic. I also expected it to be funny.

I was right and I was wrong. The book was incredible. It wasn’t a comedy though.

An Object of Beauty follows the story of gallery girl-turned art dealer-turned gallery owner Lacey as she navigates the New York art scene as a young woman from her early twenties to mid thirties. Within the book are references to both famous artists and artists I’ve never heard of, including some pictures of images. Martin’s prose is powerful: I fell so in love with some of the art just from his descriptions that I had to look it up myself.

It’s a powerful and rare thing for the author to draw you so far into the story that you feel like you are the narrator, but Martin does that through the voice of Lacey’s journalist-friend. You become part of Lacey’s circle but never completely understanding her motives nor can you begin to predict her next move. I found myself wanting to talk to other people about the book for the entire three days it took me to read it (yes, it was hard to put down, but life intervened). I’m passing it on to a friend. Check it out yourself and let me know what you think!

Reading diaries

Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, Paris, Winter 1887/88, Metropolitan Museum of Art, (F365v)

Self-Portrait with Straw Hat, Paris, Winter 1887/88, Metropolitan Museum of Art, (F365v)

This morning, I read this blog post and was inspired by how honest it, and most of her posts are (I can’t say all, because I haven’t read them all). It’s not that I’m dishonest in my posts, I’m just not very transparent. There is a lot about me that I keep to myself.

Which isn’t neccessarily a bad thing.

But there is undoubtedly a connection that occurs when we are fully transparent, warts and all, with each other.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about that today.

There are many different schools of thought around journal writing and how it helps the creative process. I was an undedicated journaler in high school and college, but once I moved in with Chris I stopped for fear that he would find and read it and find out what really goes on in my head. Mostly, I just process thoughts verbally. But as I write and create more, I am seeing my unresolved thoughts forcing themselves out onto the page, into the lives of my characters. It’s my unconscious saying okay, if you won’t deal with this, I’m going to make Characters A & B act it out for you. Deal with it.

So I’m thinking about going back to journaling, even if it is irregularly. Then I saw this article about five great published diaries and my thought process changed from “how can I be more open” to “oh my gosh I would come back and haunt anyone who dared publish my private writings after I’m dead.” It feels a bit like an invasion of privacy to read someone’s diary, or any writing that wasn’t intended for the world.

But I am inconsistent in this thinking, because I am curious about what I can learn about artists through these writings. I recently purchased Dear Theo. Matthew Perryman Jones’s amazing song O Theo was inspired by the letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother, and I watched A Brush with Genius on Netflix. Before this, really all I knew about Van Gogh was that he was an amazing painter who cut off is ear. I named my dog (also missing most of one ear) after him. But I never realized how consumed he was buy his art. Obviously, his consummation reached a critical level. But if I could be only a fraction as committed as him, how much more could I accomplish?

I haven’t read The book yet, but I plan to. Which once again makes me nervous to process my thoughts in a journal or diary.

What do you think? Am I just nuts (entirely possible) or do you sometimes wonder how the authors of the diaries/journals that are now published would have felt if they knew their words would be read? I’m curious.

What I’m writing: honesty

I’m not going to share an excerpt with you today. Instead, I just want to talk about what I’m working on.

My book, Home, started out of a conversation I had with a good friend about how sometimes I just want to stay home all the time. I got to thinking about how easy that would be to do these days– especially if you don’t have a family and work from home. And Ashley (the main character) was born.

The story progressed and I wrote the entire first draft in just a few months. By far the longest and most complete first draft I had ever done.

Then I started to revise.

Now, the story has changed. Ashley no longer has a sister, she has a brother. Her boss, who in the first incantation was a one-time love interest but otherwise a very minor character, is a felon, and Ashley may be implicated in his crimes simply for being so close to him.

All of these middle details have changed, but (as of right now) I still feel like the end of the book is essentially written. Which means I have to completely change the story to get from point A to point C.

I started out trying to take the material that I already had and make minor changes/additions. I realized this week that isn’t working for me. I am going to need to essentially throw away the middle of my story and re-write it.

I’m going to be honest here: this really sucks.

I wrote some good stuff.

Yesterday, I spent much of the swinging back and forth on the decision pendulum on whether I should keep the original story structure and just work on strengthening it as it is, rather than starting from scratch. It would be so much easier. It would take so much less time. It would mean the book would be done soon.

Then I remembered what I had read somewhere, I can’t remember where, or the exact quote, but the gist of it is: To get to your best writing, you’re going to have to trash a lot of really good writing.

So I’m going to trust the process (even if I don’t trust my self) and start over. I sat down this afternoon and already mind-mapped the majority of the new story, so it’s up to me to write it.

The twiggy set

Earrings: Dangle earrings, multi-color earrings, wire-wrapped earrings

Earrings: Dangle earrings, multi-color earrings, wire-wrapped earrings

I am so excited about the necklace and earring set I posted today.
Necklace: Wire wrapped necklace, copper and silver necklace

Necklace: Wire wrapped necklace, copper and silver necklace

I love them. So much so that I’m not going to even talk about the two items I renewed today. Head over to my shop, you’ll see everything there. But look at these (clicking on the picture will take you to the store page.)

Let me know if you love them as much as I do!

Natural agates and the wire that loves them

One new listing today, and two reissues. These were all bought stones, but I’ve been playing lately with wrapping stones that I find. The rocks on this piece were found at a lake in Minnesota. I’ve really been drawn to the peace and calm of lake and river rocks for a long time, the picture above was the background for my desktop for longer than I remember. (Also a lake in Minnesota). I plan to work toward using more found stones, but I don’t think I’ll ever get away from using the beautiful cut stones that I find in bead stores completely.

Necklace: Green and silver necklace, wire wrapped necklace, wire wrapped green necklace

Necklace: Green and silver necklace, wire wrapped necklace, wire wrapped green necklace

Necklace: Natural stone and wire wrap, green and brown necklace

Necklace: Natural stone and wire wrap, green and brown necklace

Wire wrapped Necklace: Blue and green necklace, world necklace, abstract wire wrap

Wire wrapped Necklace: Blue and green necklace, world necklace, abstract wire wrap