Friday, July 8, 2016

Life Update + 10 New Books!!

Hey there, fellow bibliophiles! It's so good to be back on the blogging circuit again. Jordan's guest post made for a fantastic start back up, and if you haven't had a chance yet, be sure to take a look at Why Modern Readers Should Care About History

People asked me how I felt after accomplishing a milestone of finishing a book series. I didn't tell anyone until recently that I didn't like the way the first draft turned out. I didn't tell anyone else that I was scared. I've been writing scared for a while, wondering if I've lost that deepest, core touch to stories that make them most fulfilling to write. Originally I was going to start redrafting the story this month, but I decided at the end of June that July was just too soon to start up again. I needed some time to rest.

Over the last week, I've been resting. I didn't write at all. I didn't think about writing. I turned off the alarm clock and walked country fields barefoot, snuggled with puppies and listened to random music with the family. Ate wonderful food and watched favorite movies, colored and verse mapped and got my hair curled. Made cheesecake. Stayed up insanely late, did spontaneous things, and read A Cast of Stones after midnight because I could. Laughed. Cried. Let go.

It's hard for this perfectionist girl to let go. 

As a result of cramming in some wonderful "just living", I feel old things awakening. An older, sweeter kind of inspiration to write that I haven't had for quite some time, due to stresses of life. New characters and ambitions--a fresh sense of rest and wonder. I want to write again. I know my characters again. The next draft of my book doesn't look so scary, and it actually sounds kind of fun. 

I have new heroes. New characters that need healing. New settings to try. New adventures peeping around the corner and teasing me with their possibilities. I'm starting to scribble in margins again, holding myself back from anything serious, but capturing ideas as they come along. 

I'm going to make myself do some more just living (and finishing up IEW certification) before I pick up a story. Though I wouldn't be surprised if I did a few casual words here and there. But it's a relief to know that ideas are joyfully simmering for whenever I'm ready to tackle them. 

In bookish news, I did not make it to the 4th of July book sale this year. It's the first time in several years I haven't put in an appearance and added a bunch of new books to my collection. It was for excellent and happy reasons however, and instead---

instead some friends took me to a new Mennonite thrift store the week prior to the 4th and I ended up with just as many books as I normally do. Isn't God good? 

Here's what I picked up: 

Pat of Silver Bush
I had Mistress Pat, but not Pat of Silver Bush. I've been flipping through it this morning. It's crammed with beauty and poetry and laughter and sorrow...I'm wanting to read it as soon as I can. I love Judy and Jingle, and overarching the story is what I called in one of my own stories "the silence of the temporal that is waiting for the resolution of the eternal". 

Emily of New Moon and Emily Climbs
I've read the Emily series and want to own it so I can have a good Montgomery collection. I'm trying to collect as many Montgomery books as I can, to match my mom's collection. I'll have to keep a lookout for the third Emily book. 

A Rose Remembered and Escape to Freedom
Books 2 and 3 in Michael Phillips' The Secret of the Rose series. A WW2 series my mom really enjoyed. I'm looking forward to enjoying it too! 

Post-Victorian Britian 1902-1951
Because I'm still looking for any WW1 resources I can lay my hands on. 

I'm really excited to dig into Redwall. Even if mice in an abbey seems a little weird at first glance. Cluny the rat is a satisfactorily terrifying villain, and I hear from friends that it's great fun. 

Richard III 
Haven't read Shakespeare, and I know Richard is a terrific villain in this story, but I'm thinking it will be fun. 

The Great Gatsby 
Strictly for 20s research. I need it for a story which I'll be talking about on the blog soon. But I don't know enough about the book to recommend it for casual reading.

The Cost of Discipleship
This was a squeal-i-can't-believe-it moment. I am beyond thrilled to have Bonhoeffer's excellent book about the cost of following Jesus in my collection. 


  1. Sounds like fun! So glad you were able to relax and let go for a while I'm at the opposite end right now - hoping to start my first draft Sunday or Monday =D, so I'll keep that in mind!

    1. Way to go!! You write well, Katherine--I can't wait to see where your love of stories takes you. What's this story about, if I may ask? :)


  2. REDWALL. YOU'RE GOING TO BE READING REDWALL. *much happiness* The first book is great, although personally I think the rest of the series gets much better further on.
    Also I loved reading about your life. Especially rest -- now that we're traveling I'm realizing that it's better to take everything easier and not be freaking out to make sure I finish all my usual tasks. Goals and schedules are good (in fact, I think they're necessary for a healthy life) but we need rest from them too.
    (Lovely photography as well.)

    1. REDWALL. I'M SO EXCITED. I only remember watching an episode or two when I was too young to remember it--so it's all fresh and new to me. :)

      Travelling takes lots of energy, especially for introverts. And I generally find that travelling opportunities are so special, it's best to soak it all in and leave as much regular work behind as possible. Hope you get some great rest and inspiration on your trip!!

      And thanks to my friends for the photos and hairstyling. They were sweet to help!

  3. I'm so glad to hear you had a good hiatus from your writing! Sometimes I think the best thing we can do for our writing or any creative outlet really is to simply let go and live for a while. Life needs to have structure, but it's the seasons of rest, spontaneity, and adventure in between all the alarm clocks and the daily grind that really give life that spark of inspiration.

    You look lovely, by the way! There's nothing better than having time to curl hair. ;)

    Dani xoxo
    a vapor in the wind

    1. Dani, you have the gift of encouragement. I always smile after reading one of your comments. :) Thank-you so much!

  4. Pictures are beautiful. I saved them both. <3 I'm glad you found some rest and refreshment amid the busyness of life. You definitely found a bunch of books there! :D

    1. Aw, thank-you. <3

      It was grand--and kind of funny. I was looking intensely like I was on an top international mission. :P Someone takes books way too seriously....

  5. Schuyler, you look gorgeous - what beautiful photos! :) Also I love your hair curled; it suits you very nicely, my dear. <3

    I am so glad you had this time of refreshment and encouragement, dear friend! <3 That is wonderful, and I relate to your experience immensely. I felt that way very much in my trip to the USA. Sometimes one can get quite stuck in a rut, with constantly working in their assigned role, be it on their book, in work or for school, when there should be those times to relax and drink in the life and beauty around us. It works two ways, intake, and out-pouring!

    Movies and cheesecake and book-shopping are the best things :D. (I loved how the Lord provided you with new books even when you missed the bookfair - He is such a wonderful Heavenly Father!) I just went to a bookfest a few weeks ago, and accumulated quite a stash of books too - plus I couldn't help get a few books while I was in Barnes and Nobles in Atlanta ;).

    I'm so glad you found a copy of "The Cost of Discipleship" - any plans on reading it at a certain time? I've been wanting to read it for ages, and I own Dad's copy, so I'm keen if you'd be interested in doing a buddy-read and sharing together from what we're learning. I want to read "The Great Gatsby" too, not because the story sounds so thrilling anything, but because I feel absolutely ignorant for not even knowing the premise of this classic/famous story.

    But I'm excited that you are excited again about your stories and characters, Schuyler!! :D Never feel discouraged to share those times when you feel "un-inspired" or you feel your characters are flat, or your story is not quite how you'd like it. Those non-perfect, messy moments are a true experience, I think, for all writers and artists (at least I know they are for me!!) but giving yourself grace and allowing yourself to refresh is the best thing you can do for yourself and your work :).

    Way to go, dear friend! <3 Love you and miss you heaps!

    1. Aw, thank-you so much, dear friend!

      I'm so glad you enjoyed your trip to the US--it's such a joy to know you've seen and experienced my country, and I hope you have a lifetime of good memories from it. I so want to hear all about it, and the books you got in Atlanta! I'll be in touch about calls as soon as I can!

      Oo, that would be fun to read either book together. I probably wouldn't have plans to start the Discipleship one before fall or winter, but we should chat about that on our call, too!

      Thank-you so much for inviting me to share the hard parts or writing, too. Sometimes it is so helpful just to share when things have been overwhelming/hard with friends, as well as the easy times. Then we can give each other mutual encouragement to keep going, or even permission to rest too.

      Love you very much, dear friend. <3 <3

  6. The Secret of the Rose series sounds very interesting. I'll probably end up buying it. I'm a sucker for anything from WWII.


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