Thursday, September 20, 2012

Week 38 - Scavenging

16 Sep - 22 Sep: Opening the Mind - Part 3

I just picked up this odd assortment of titles from the local Salvation Army Thrift Shop for the whopping sum of $3.

Since scavenging (and recycling) books has long been a habit of mine, I think I have some useful as well as unusual non-fiction titles to refer to anytime I think my world is getting a little narrow or I feel I need a boost in knowledge or a factual story idea.

Books on mythology and the Dark Ages are favourites. I have a guide for surviving the Rhodesian bush written by a member of the British Army (at the time); an account of the Chamorro people (Mariana Islands) written by a German Foreign Service officer in 1904; an impractical number of old edition writing textbooks; and, of course, a great many travel guides and magazines. (This collection comprises new as well as used items for those worried about the market being cheated.)

So let's see what gems I can find within the covers of my latest extravagance. If I can't find any, oh well, I'll just take them back for others to enjoy.

Models for Writers: Short Essays for Composition, Ninth Edition by Alfred Rosa and Paul Eschholz
Almost half of black boys wind up a grade behind in school, and only a third of 20-year-old black men are enrolled in college. All the more daunting is the fact that the majority of these boys and men were just like [my son] Jason, raised in a home by a single, black mother. I have a lot of work to do.... (Raising a Son - With Men on the Fringes by Robyn Marks.)

Flying With the Eagle, Racing the Great Bear: Stories from Native North America, told by Joseph Bruchac
...four is a number of powerful and magical important to Native peoples: There are four seasons, four winds, four directions, four stages in a person's life. It is interesting in these tales how often each young man faces trials in clusters of four. (From the Introduction.)

The Farther Reaches of Human Nature by Abraham H. Maslow
...the creative person, in the inspirational phase of the creative furor, loses his past and his future and lives only in the moment. (Chapter Four, The Creative Attitude.)
The Hedgehog Review: Critical Reflections on Contemporary Culture. Imagining the Future.
The term "utopia," coined by Thomas More in 1516, is a pun on eutopia/outopia - the good place that is also no place. (Being in Utopia by Ruth Levitas.)
Don't Panic: You Can Write Better! by Diane Teitel Rubins
A good piece of writing, like a good meal, leaves a person with a satisfying feeling. So, create your endings as carefully as you would a delectable dessert.
What unusual (subjective term, I know) non-fiction do others have or use to keep the mind open and active? Any strange magazine subscriptions that broaden the vocabulary and brighten the writing palette?

That concludes my week of Opening the Mind through sensing, stalking and scavenging.

I'll be in vacationing next week, but while I'm on the subject of cerebral stimulation, I hope to post some more mind-boggling insight during Week 39.



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  2. I recently spent a couple weeks in Pittsburgh with my mother. One side benefit was a great little half-price bookstore within walking distance of her home. I was like a kid in a candy store! Where to stop? Most of the books are gently used, and I was only too glad to adopt a few and give them a loving home. Among my prizes: Creative Writer's Handbook, Characters and Viewpoint, One Year to A Writing Life.

    Other times I've stopped there I've picked up, for a steal, Hemingway and Kerouac and Stenbeck and ...and...

    When I was checking out the guy at the register asked, "You a writer?"

    How to answer? "Yeah, I give it a try."

    "Me too," he said. We had an instant and brief bonding as he rang up my sale.

  3. Very nice. Yeah, it's amazing what you can find in obscure places (and I don't mean Pittsburgh - never been, actually). Now if the second hand stores only sold more opportunity for reading the mountain of books waiting to be read, that would be perfect.

  4. More books on my shelves than time in my day. Agreed. To add to my OCD book collection tendencies, I have a Kindle. Now I can accumulate electronically too. I still love the heft and pages of a book though...