Tag Archives: quotes

The Things Readers Carried

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When I read The Book Thief a few years ago, there was a quote that really stood out and well, I still carry to this day.

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I find this to be all too true. A great book, I just want to keep holding as the book and story have a hold on me. It’s hard for me to really let go of a story and its characters since it all feels so incredibly real. And according to science now, it appears I’m not going crazy as a story implants itself in your brain and sticks around for a bit, changing the way your mind works.

Dr. Gregory S. Burns and his research team conducted a study with undergraduates and recorded their brain activity while reading Pompeii (Robert Harris) over nine days and then continued monitoring brain activity for an additional five days after finishing the book.

Huffington Post writer Jacqueline Howard goes into more detail about the study and its findings, yet I cannot help to just love this little nugget from Dr. Burns during Howard’s reporting:

“At a minimum, we can say that reading stories –- especially those with strong narrative arcs -– reconfigures brain networks for at least a few days. It shows how stories can stay with us. This may have profound implications for children and the role of reading in shaping their brains.”
— Dr. Gregory S. Burns

And now, I think I’m going to have to pick up Pompeii.

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Birthday Truths

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Mom gave me this really cool looking quote box with “365 Truths” to help usher in my 28th year. Seeing as today is Day One of that very year, I pulled out the following truth (which sent a shiver down my spine because c’mon fate, you sometimes are seriously too good).

“This is the beginning of a new day. You have been given this day to use as you will. You can waste it or use it for good. What you do today is important because you are exchanging a day of your life for it. When tomorrow comes, this day will be gone forever; in its place is something that you have left behind… Let it be something good.”

Discovering the Creative

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This past week, I spent time in New York City attending The Creativity Workshop. After getting the supplies list that included sketchbooks, I was a little nervous. Writing and cutting and pasting? I can handle that. But physically drawing objects, people, places?! I was insanely intimidated.

These drawing assignments challenged us to go out into the world, find someone and draw. Then after you were done drawing, you had to write a story. Either what they were going through at that specific moment in time, or their inner life. I found the writing part helped me shape my drawings. As I sat there thinking I had completed the drawing, all of a sudden I’d see something new from my story and need to add to the sketch.

That’s the number one lesson I’m taking from this course, that creativity is never finished. Even as the deadline hits and the pitch/concept goes out the door. Everything’s still a work in progress. Too often I think I look at that looming deadline as the be-all-end-all. And that the project, along with the ideas, just stop.

I’ve also learned to silence that inner critic of mine. That voice telling me as I’m typing, writing, creating to self-edit. It was hard at first to ignore it, but through loads of automatic writing, I’ve managed to quiet it down. After all, that’s what the editing’s process is for; why do double the work?

One of my favorite exercises was taking a blank piece of paper and just drawing lines and squiggles for about 10 minutes. All while you closed your eyes and held your pencil in a new way. It was extremely freeing and really challenged your imagination as you “remembered” where you’d already made lines. Then you opened your eyes and started to make sense of the squiggles by finding objects/shapes in the chaos. It was challenging at first as you forced yourself to make sense of it all, and then I found the more you just glance and scan, the easier it was to “see” something.

Our class was about 25 students from 12 different countries. It was insanely inspiring to hear the stories, the drawings and the thoughts of people I never would have had the opportunity to meet and collaborate alongside. And there was even another Hannah in the mix (from Saudi Arabia).

While I’m never really one for negative-based language, this was our mantra (from Samuel Beckett) throughout the class and it really did help me move past that inner critic that’s so used to being heard.

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