Develop a Habit of Research in Writing...

Over a lifetime, a writer might develop an amazing array of facts and information because of lengthy research into the topics of their stories.  In a study of medieval Paris, an author may learn all the historical landmarks, the city streets and their ancient layout before the city was modernized, or the placement of walls and battlements that are no longer standing in the present day.  The writer might also discover customs now lost to society, such as the rag-catcher who would collect the used handkerchiefs of the city dwellers and take them on to be ‘recycled’ in other ways.  This research can stay with a writer for years after they have finished their story and it is a product of research conducted once the writer has the germ of the narrative firmly in mind.  This is the research that most of us come to associate with the daily life of a professional writer. But research can occur at any stage of the game, in many forms, and should be a universal writing habit. The curious writer is the one best poised to uncover story almost by accident, thus sparing himself the discomfort of having to dream up a narrative from scratch. It’s a common adage in the writing community that one does not think up a story, one writes it down like a faithful assistant. Julia Cameron attributes this to having a good sense of direction. A good habit of daily research means that stories come to the writer, rather than the writer chasing them down like butterflies with a net. The writer must be curious. A curious writer is rewarded with ideas that she never strove for and these are the most natural and organic ideas. They become discoveries like buried treasure...

The Art of Traveling Books Nov23

The Art of Traveling Books...

Since the advent of the internet, communication has exploded in so many ways. It is easier to keep in touch with people. Easier to share. One of the more interesting discoveries within the online community is the idea of the traveling book. Most commonly these are little Moleskine journals or the like being sent from person to person on a distribution list kept online. It’s very similar to the idea of crowdsourcing but free and with art. Members who partake in this social experiment have to feel comfortable giving a mailing address out to others, but what comes about is a book filled with art and in no particular order. The pages are tackled one at a time by the next artist on the mailing list and the images are as random and unique as each individual contributor. Sometimes these books are themed but usually they are open to complete personal interpretation. The range of artwork may span from pen and ink to collage. Whole paintings may be followed up on the next page by simple word art, or an expression of hand-written ‘typography’ flooding the white space. Color stands in stark contrast to black and white. Mixed media may be followed by traditional watercolor or line art. Really, the sky is the limit. In the end, time produces a final product that resembles a portable gallery. It is then sent back to the original owner who can take the time to peruse every page and its artwork. These experiments in artistic social contribution are often found on groups such as Ning, Yahoo! Groups, Google, and other sites where people gather together for common causes. Artistic collectives may be said to contain only amateurs, but there is no mistake that the art upon the...