Thursday, October 22, 2009


Finding--and keeping--the love of reading

Paddington Bear, to let you in on a secret, started my love of writing. Michael Bond, the author of the Paddington Bear series, became my hero when I wrote him as a 9-year-old and told him I wanted to be a writer. While he was never my mentor, his approachability has left a mark through my reading and writing career.
We carried on a correspondence--heaven knows what I wrote him as a pre-teen fan--and each time he kindly responded and sent along a note from Paddington, as well. I remember discovering each new volume of Paddington and then being led into other books by my growing enthusiasm for reading.
As I watch my children devour books, it makes me wishing for the first blushes of a first favorite childhood book. Although I get it secondhand in the wide-eyed discovery I witness as my son checks out all the Magic Tree House books as the characters take him around the world or watching the hours my daughter spends alongside Nancy Drew as she unlocks another mystery.
Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy finding a new voice in literature. I love reading a well-paced mystery or an excellent magazine article ... any author who is able to bring me out of my day-to-day life and transport me to Brazil or to a farm in France.
But there is something magical about that first book crush.
And, while I miss reading my old friend Paddington and his creator, or exchanging letters with them, they taught me so much. In fact, those two are the beginnings to my long-term love story with books, which continues to this day.
What was your first book love?

Elizabeth King Humphrey is a writer and creativity coach. She also blogs at, delving into creativity in everyday places and is planning a series of workshops. She plans on taking at least one scrumptious book while her husband is traveling. Any suggestions?

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Go for Writing Gold

By Jill Earl

Last month, Marcia Peterson’s blog post “Loving the Sport” suggested that writers might want to start thinking of writing as not just an occupation or a means to an end, but as something we take great joy in participating. We should do it because we love it and the reward it gives. She included advice from author Anne Patchett, actor Bradley Whitford and Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee as motivation.

With the Beijing Olympics approaching, I’ve been glued to the T.V. as the Olympic Trials have aired. Besides watching gymnast Shawn Johnson, runner Alison Felix and swimmers Katie Hoff and Michael Phelps shatter records in their quest to go to the Games, another athlete has inspired me as I place fingers to keyboard.

Dara Torres is twice the age of many of the elite swimmers she competes against and as a forty-one year old mother of a two-year old, many dismissed her attempt to win her way to a fifth Olympic Games as a long shot, at best.

A couple weeks ago, she clocked in phenomenal times in her races, speeding through the water and leaving her competitors literally in her wake. Crowds roared their approval, commentators marveled at her and the world took notice. Including me.

The only way Ms. Torres attempted and succeeded was because she enjoyed her sport so much that she spent hours honing her body into prime condition. There may have been times of struggle, but she pushed through, for the love of it. Watching her, you get the sense that even if she didn’t make the U.S. Olympic Swim Team, her love of swimming would live on.

As a writer, I must continually stretch and hone my craft. There will be times where I’ll have to struggle just to pick up a pen or turn on the computer. But I too must push through.

So next month, I’ll remember how my love for writing will sometimes cause me to turn from the Olympics to write, not just for the money or to be published, but because I enjoy the reward.

That’s how I’ll go for the gold in my writing. How about you?

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