Why Can’t I Write About the Books I Love?

Earlier in the month I finished reading The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, and I have been wanting to write some of my thoughts about it ever since. The book moved me and has given me much about which to think, so it should be easy to write a post on it. Every time I think of it, however, the words just will not come.

Why is it so hard for me to write about books that I love? This is certainly not the first time I have struggled with the words to express how a book has impacted me. When I read My Antonia I had a similar struggle, and Watership Down is another book that I thought deeply about long after but could not find a way to put those thoughts down in black and white.

Perhaps one reason I have trouble writing about the books I love is that I don’t have a literary education, and I am not sure of the terms to use to talk about them. I feel somehow to discuss themes and structure and setting and all because I have no formal education in these things. All I know about literature has been picked up from places like the Circe Close Reads podcast or the Center for Lit podcast. Otherwise, my only qualification to talk about books is that I just love them so much.

And because I love books, I have trouble talking about them. It is almost as if the thoughts and feelings that I have about stories that I love feel too close and personal in some ways for me to express. Books have a way of getting to my heart in a way that other media don’t, especially fiction. The characters and settings somehow become a part of my personal experience, and I have a hard time telling others about that experience, even when I really want to do just that.

Reading The Good Earth was an incredibly moving experience, being part of the intensely human story of Wang Lung, the farmer, and his family. I felt like I was there watching his life unfold through all the trials and successes, the joy and the immense tragedy. But how can I tell you all my thoughts as I process this book? I hope that one day I will learn how to write about the books I love.

In the meantime, I will just have to content myself with recommending you read them, too! So, go get your hands on a copy of The Good Earth, and be prepared for a heart-wrenching story of the human condition. You can await my next report, in which I will likely have another book that I have come to love deeply and can’t find words for, because I have just started reading Willa Cather’s O Pioneers!, and I’ve already been feeling swept off my feet!

Day 31: Close #write31days2018

It seems like just a few days ago I was starting on the Write 31 Days challenge, and here we are at the close. This month has flown by at an incredible pace, and I have had a hard time keeping up with the demands of writing every day. As I close and look back on the challenge, I am proud of myself for completing it. Even though I had to double up on posts some days, I did write for every single prompt this time. I made time to write, and I made that time a priority. Forcing myself to come up with something to write daily has stretched my creativity. I have put some of my thoughts and contemplations into words on the page, which always helps me clarify them even more in my own mind.

If you have been reading along with me through this challenge, thank you so much for taking the time to peruse my meandering thoughts! November’s posts will be more sporadic than October’s, but now that I know I can write nearly every day, I hope to be here multiple times a week like I was back in the early days of this blog.

With that being said, if there are any topics that you would like to see me write about here, would you kindly leave a comment or send me an email and let me know? I would love to bring you better content that is relevant to you if I can! Thanks again!

P.S.–If you want to go back and catch up on any of my challenge posts, you can find the index to all 31 posts here

Day 29: Together #write31days2018

I’m a day behind again (or still), so I’m just writing as if I’m not.

Today was my son’s birthday, and we spent the whole day doing some of his favorite things together for fun. Going to the library, hiking at the park, buying new shoes, making his cake and pizza for dinner. We had a really great day. And I am so tired. It was all simple, nothing extravagant or expensive. (Well, the shoes seemed expensive, but my son needed two pairs and my daughter also needed a pair!)

Just us. Together.

This is pretty normal life for us. As a homeschooling family, we spend a lot of time doing things as a family. When the kids were younger, it often felt hard to be alone with them, but now that my kids are old enough to enjoy playing and reading and drawing together, it is becoming so sweet. I love watching them become the people God intends them to be, even though that includes a lot of tiring, repetitive training.

Chew with your mouth closed.

Please stop whining and use your normal voice.

How do you ask for something nicely?

Don’t stand on the couch.

You get the picture. Parts of parenting are simply mundane and wearying. Some days I do just want to be alone and have a little peace and quiet. But at the same time, I am sincerely thankful that we get so much time together. I think that when my kids are grown, they are going to be some of my very best friends. And I will always be able to look back on these memories we made together and know it was time well spent.

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”

Day 28: Song #write31days2018

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that music and singing are important in our family. Not only is my husband a music pastor, but we both majored in music in college and have both led choirs of various ages. In our homeschool, as well, music has a prominent place.

Each day during our morning time, my children and I sing a hymn and one or two folk songs. We also listen to instrumental pieces by important composers weekly. My son has to practice piano every day, and I have also gotten back into the habit of practicing a couple of piano pieces daily!

Song is such an important part of our family culture. It expressed praise to our Creator. It gives us a creative outlet. It forms a basis for shared family memories. I don’t know what we would do if we couldn’t sing or play music together.

As I think on the importance of music in our home and homeschool, I realize that it is nearly the end of October. That means that it is time for me to get another set of Memory Work Plans posted here! So I will take this opportunity to share those as an addition to this post. We are going with a Thanksgiving theme, of course!

November Memory Work Plans

Due to the demands of writing daily for the Write 31 Days challenge, I am not able to offer a printable plan for download this month. I did include links to everything, though. I hope that next month I will be able to continue the printables, though. Thanks for understanding!

Prayer: For our prayer this month, we will be using Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem “We Thank Thee.”

Catechism: This month we are reviewing questions 7 and 8 of the New City Catechism.

Hymn: The AmblesideOnline hymn for this month is All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name. We have not previously done this one in our homeschool, so we will be doing it as scheduled.

Mottos: We are learning Way #5 from Our 24 Family Ways (affiliate link) this month.

Scripture: Our scripture passage this month is Psalm 100.

Poem: Last month we learned the first two stanzas of “When the Frost is on the Punkin,”so we will continue and memorize the final two this month.

Folk Songs: I just realized that I mixed up the scheduled AO folksongs for October and November, so we will be learning “Freight Train” and “Over the River and Through the Woods” this month.

Day 27: Whole #write31days2018

I’m going in a slightly different direction with this prompt that maybe does not connect as well with my theme, but this is an idea which I have been contemplating lately. So maybe it does fit somewhat!

As I’ve mentioned a few times lately, I just started a Charlotte Mason book study group for homeschool moms in my area. Last night was our first official meeting, and we discussed Charlotte Mason’s first principle: Children are born persons. When I think about what this means for our educational practices, I see that we need to be educating a whole person.

Following the Charlotte Mason philosophy of education means that we do not just try to get our kids to memorize random facts or regurgitate information for a test. We instead, lay before them a wide and varied feast of ideas: life-giving books, Biblical studies, beautiful art, excellent music, and time spent in nature. Every day we tend to the mind, soul, heart and body of the child, nurturing the whole person.

This is a demanding task, especially when you consider that the homeschool parent is also trying to keep the household running smoothly and possibly working another job on the side. But it is such a blessed role to have the opportunity to educate our children in this way that respects them as persons. May God give me the strength and grace to do it well!

This post is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes and Write 31 Days blogging challenges. Find all my posts in this series under the tag “write31days2018.”