Happy Friday and The Best Bits of the Week

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Hudson

Good day, friends!

Why the chipper greeting, you ask? Because it’s finally Friday. And although this week marked my first full five days of unemployment and dedication to freelance and other writings, it’s ingrained deeply in me to stand a little taller and smile a little broader every time the weekend rolls around.

I’ve been noticing that most bloggers produce Friday posts with highlights from the week or noteworthy articles, excerpts, and general news. And frankly, I like it. And I want in.

Also, it’s a bit of a cop-out on my side after a wholly exhausting week of transatlantic travel, jet-lag, and frustrating literary thorns in my side.

Anyone else attempting the NaNoWriMo challenge this month? I childishly thought I could jump straight out of a two week trip abroad and land firmly into writing 4,000 words a day. Is it perhaps easier for genre writers? Those writing thrillers with crafty plot turns, seductive main characters, and a few car chases thrown in for good measure?

Unfortunately, I’m more of the literary fiction type of gal. I’m the kind who wants each chapter to be more poignant than the last. Each word especially chosen in the paragraph like stones mortared into a sturdy wall.

I began the challenge swimmingly enough. But here’s the thorn: I love my first pages so much that I’m a bit unwilling to throw quality aside in favor of quanity. Am I being hard-headed?

And the handful of people who have read the beginning told me that rushing ahead to make the 50,000 word goal in one month would kill the idea germinating delicately in my rough draft.

And that’s where I am today. Wondering if I should press ahead and make the NaNoWriMo challenge, or if I should instead focus on the graduate school applications and writing samples that need to be absolute perfection by the time December rolls around.

So if you’re in need of a bit of procrastination on this lovely November Friday as I am, here are a few findings from the week that I could no longer keep to myself:

ONE: Neulore

I discovered this band deep within the depths of my iTunes yesterday. Turns out that I had downloaded them off of Noise Trade without much time for a listen. Oh, goodness. I’d stake my morning coffees on this truth: their EP album Apples & Eve is the soundtrack to the human soul, each lyric more beautifully crafted than the former. These boys have created the sound of moral melancholy, the album revolving around the most scarring of all events in history.

Think of what beauty could lie in the collaboration of Mumford and Sons, Needtobreathe, The Daylights, and The Avett Brothers, and then give these guys a listen. And then buy the album. Make them famous for my sake.

TWO: The Story of Lucy Gault

If you know me even the slightest, you know I’m a die-hard William Trevor fan. His words push me to write and write beautifully. This 2002 book is an old friend, and I’m revisiting it for inspiration in writing my own novel.

Tell me this isn’t poetic:

She settles in her chair by the window, to gaze out at the dusky blue of the hydrangeas. The avenue has gone shadowy, the outline of its trees stark against the sky. The rooks come down to scrabble in the grass as every evening at this time they do, her companions while she watches the fading of the day.

THREE: “Why You Should Tell the Ugly Parts of Your Story”

If you’re not subscribing to Jeff Goins’ blog, you’re missing out. His daily articles focus on writing, highlighting the truth that the written word still has the potential to change the world. It’s a blog after my own heart.

Today he turns to one of my favorite authors, Brennen Manning, to prove that the best stories – the ones that emphasize the complexity and beauty of life – always champion the ugly parts.

You may find what Brennan discovered in his career. That there is a world full of desperate, broken people, longing to hear the honest words of another ragamuffin.

A beggar unashamed of his  hunger.
A thief unaware of his poverty.
A friend and addict.
A lover, liar, fighter and healer.

A paradox. Like us all.

As you can tell, Jeff is quite the poet blogger himself.

That’s all I have for today. I could go on about the new re-release of U2’s mind-blowing Achtung Baby, or I could ask you to check out a guest post I wrote for Bethany Suckrow’s bookish blog, She Writes and Rights, on the beauty of traveling. And you’re fortunate, I could have inundated you with stories from my recent trip to Ireland, but I’ll save that for next week.

Hope your weekend is wrought with fascinating story,

Lizzie