Khaled Hosseini’s New Book, “Sea Prayer.” He’s a great humanitarian.

Khaled   Not only is Hosseini a great writer, he is a profound and important humanitarian.  He’s also a physician.  It’s only my thinking, but I bet if he wrote more novels he would make more money for himself.  Instead, he is using his fame as a way to help others, and has been all over the world trying to help. He especially is moved to help refugees worldwide.

https://www.khaledhosseinifoundation.org/

This site spells out some of the work his foundation does.

Well done, Sir. Well done.

Crack the Spine Literary Magazine: a Mini-Review

spines   Yes, people still read. Yes, people still write. Don’t forget that on days when you feel discouraged.

I know I am holding on to this knowledge when the news gets too awful, when I feel my own writing is not going well, when I wonder about the world.

But where there is a love of literacy, I sense hope. And I sense a lot of hope when finding so many earnest and passionate literary journals, including one that is new to me, Crack the Spine Literary Magazine.

When I first heard the name of this magazine, Crack the Spine (CTS), I was put off a bit–no cracking spines, please.  But I kept going back to CTS, intrigued by the name and wondering just what is this magazine all about.

I’m delighted to find out “Crack the Spine loves the written word. Some might say we’re in love with the written word.” (from their website)  Furthermore, the process of submitting to the magazine is full of kind humor, encouragement, and wit.  CTS publishes flash fiction, micro-fiction, poetry, short stories, and creative non-fiction, sponsors a themed print edition, biweekly digital editions, a “best of” and yearly anthology.

In addition, CTS has a cute “shop” where you can buy their published books as well as literary gifts such as mugs and tee-shirts.

While being a serious literary magazine, Crack the Spine emotes a kind and playful attitude that is welcoming to writers, even down to making submissions easier by using Submittable.com.  I highly encourage writers to read there and consider submitting to this magazine.

As to the name? I’ve learned not to judge a magazine by its title–but I’m still watching out for my aching back.

Thanks for reading.

 

Update on Submission: The Value & Power & Fun of Poetry–Submitted to Willowdown Books

dream courage harmony inspire rocks images Update: the work I submitted here is short-listed; the editors will determine the overall themes of the works they are interested in and then let us short-listed know if we will be published.  I was not familiar that as a writer I would ever be told this, so this is interesting.

As I find new (to me) literary journals, I am delighted to find the absolute joy of language and belief in the power of poetry to be prevalent.  The journals I am finding are truly labors of love, and the publishers and editors are publishing poetry because they love poetry, love language, and believe poetry is important.  What a pleasant change of pace from the local, national, and world news, which is portraying a country and world in hate-filled crisis after crisis!

For example, I just had to submit some poems to Willowdown Books out of the UK: Willowdown Books.

Willowdown is sponsoring “The Poetic Bond VIII,” a bound poetic journal in autumn; submissions are due by the end of the day tomorrow here: The Poetic Bond.

So what creates a “poetic” bond?  The publisher wants to create this bond by publishing poetry that is deeply connected with humanity, nature, and the universe.

You tell me, poets, if this isn’t the heart of poetry?  Deep connections.  Humanity. Nature. The universe.

Yes sirree.  Sure is for me.

Plus the play and delight of language.

Have a look at the “poetic bond” and Willowdown Books.

Oh! For submitting, we got to pick a book out, sort of a thank you for submitting.  This also shows support for the poets already published, so that’s a great idea.

Thanks for reading!

 

Link to article about text v. screen reading

                           open-book-library-education-read-159621  As a reading specialist, teacher, and avid reader myself, I am interested     in reading research.   This study shows that students often learn better when they read print v. screen reading materials : Study: text v. screen

For everyday leisure reading, I am fine with a kindle or screen reading. In fact, it’s more convenient so I read MORE. But when I need DEPTH? Then I need paper. Might be true for many others, according to this study.

I am not, in any way, denigrating the power of e-texts to engage us to read. I read so much more now that I can quickly and easily access texts on my Kindle. I am, and my colleagues have been concerned, about the pushing of e-texts in formal education, textbooks on iPads, etc.

What about you?  Do you prefer to read using paper texts or e-texts?

Part 2: Literacy Can Be the Bridge–The Power of Reading and Writing

cropped-be-creative-creative-creativity-256514           How do you get there from here?  I had no idea; I wanted to have a life that contained more reading, writing, poetry, nature.  I’d always wanted to be a teacher, but could not afford to take any more time with college.  I graduated with my teaching certificate, but there were only aide positions or sub positions, neither of which paid enough to pay the rent and neither of which carried insurance benefits.

Yet the rent wanted to be paid, the electric bill wanted to be paid and so on.  Not having a family to turn to for any help, I knew I was on my own.

I found what should have been a great job in business, but it was killing me.  I’d lay awake at night grinding my teeth, willing the hours not to pass.  I just didn’t want to do it anymore, and yet I had no idea how to get there from my present life.

# #  #  #

For a number of years, I commuted by train to the loop.  (That was my favorite part of the day, the commute!) I discovered I could read again, books I wanted to read.

One year, I decided to read only female writers or novels with strong female characters.  There was no method to this plan, just the knowledge that I spent most of college reading male writers or about male characters.

I found books at the library and read them voraciously. I discovered Willa Cather, and my life changed forever. Why hadn’t I heard about her or read her books in college?  Her characters’ longing for culture and education plus their longing for the beauty of nature resonated with me.  I discovered Edith Wharton and the plight of the urban female. I discovered Theodore Dreiser and the plight of the female as he expressed it.  I discovered Anne Tyler, Anne Frank, Jane Austen, The Bronte sisters, Virginia Woolf, Amy Tan.  I discovered the lovingly drawn character of Helen and her search for education in Bernard Malamud’s The Assistant.

I was unsophisticated in how I chose the books to read, often choosing by the cover, by what was available, by what was on sale, by what I had heard about.  This was before the internet, I had no literary types in my life at that point to help me make decisions.  I got lucky in that I read many great books and “met” many great characters.

In these books, the longing for a more meaningful life as expressed by strong characters spoke to me: I was not alone.

But what was next, I wondered, even as my home made after college education continued?

Part 1: Literacy Can be the Bridge–The Power of Reading and Writing

be-creative-creative-creativity-256514   One great thing about getting older (but that’s another story!) is that I can remember things that took a lot of time to accomplish; young people know this: one step at a time in the right direction can truly help lead you to where you want to be in life. Literacy was a very important bridge for me to go from a life I did not want to a life I wanted to live.

As I am older now, I am thinking about how to recreate and re-energize myself, and I turn to my old friends reading and writing.  For there are many reasons to believe reading and writing can help me now in my older years–but that is another story.

# #  #  #

Decades ago, as a young adult, I found myself working in a field that was unhealthy for me. But like most, I had bills to pay and didn’t know how I would ever be able to make a change from a business career to a life filled with teaching and writing.  What is the bridge?

Day after day I commuted to the office, feeling like I would literally scream outwardly what I was thinking all day: Get me out of here!  I remember writing, in pencil and very small: GMTHOOH on some of my files, perhaps hoping I would get caught, get fired, and be forced to make positive changes in my life.

But I was careful, and I was an excellent employee.  How can one be really good at something that kills the soul?

But I was, and I was not fired.  Nor was I laid off during those harsh 80s when so many good people got let go of jobs they needed.

But back to the topic–how did reading help?

Some people laugh when I say literacy saved me, but it did. Reading and writing have always been important to me, but when I was working in a field I hated, I pushed reading and writing away from me.  It just hurt too much to be around what I could not have as part of my daily life, so I pushed away that which would have helped nourish.

It would take a return to reading and then writing to see me out of a time and place and life I didn’t know how to leave without becoming poor–and I had been poor.

(But that’s another story.  So many stories!)

This story is about how literacy, reading and writing, can be a bridge to an improved life.  They sure were to me.

Part 2 to follow.