Tag Archives: Inspiration Mondays

Inspiration Monday: Word After Word After Word, by Patricia MacLachlan

Word After Word After Word, by Patricia MacLachlan

Word After Word After Word, by Patricia MacLachlan, is, technically, a children’s book. I was charmed by the synopsis when I first came across it while browsing my library’s online ebook collection:

Every school day feels the same for fourth graders Lucy and Henry and Evie and Russell and May. Then Ms. Mirabel comes to their class—bringing magical words and a whole new way of seeing and understanding.

From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes an honest, inspiring story about what is real and what is unreal, and about the ways that writing can change our lives and connect us to our own stories—word after word after word.

But when I dived into the book, I discovered that Word After Word After Word is really, at its very heart and soul, a book for anyone who’s a writer, anyone who’s ever wanted to be a writer, and anyone who’s ever wished they could be a writer, but felt writing to be out of reach.

Ms. Mirabel is a famous author who comes to visit and teach the children for six special weeks. And what she ends up teaching them all, even Miss Cash, the fourth grade teacher, is something so magical and so wonderful.

She teaches them the beauty, the magic and yes, the accessibiilty of words. She shows each of the main characters how they are writers at heart, and in doing so, she shows us, the readers, how we, too, are all writers at heart.

I cried at times while reading, sometimes because some of the children’s personal stories and writings were so poignant, other times from the sheer joy I felt from reading the book itself.

And most of all, I remembered: I remembered why it is that I love to write. I remembered the magic of playing around with words. I remembered how it felt, eight years old, a new blank notebook in front of me, pen in my hand, words in my head. And I remembered that feeling of writing down word after word after word.

“And what is the writer’s tool in all of this? Making people laugh, or cry, or be angry, or think?”

The class was silent, staring at Ms. Mirabel.

She waited.

Henry’s voice was soft in the room.

“Words,” he said.

Ms. Mirabel looked as if she might cry. Her eyes gleamed.

“Yes,” she said. “Magical words. Word after word . . .”

“After word,” we all finished together.

The copy I read was an ebook copy from the library, but this book is now on my list for my next online book shopping spree. And when it comes, I will eagerly read through it, pen in hand, marking all the lines that really spoke to me.

And when I’m done, each page will shimmer with all the colors of the gel pens I’ll use.

“Remember this if you remember anything from our time together,” said Ms. Mirabel. “Writing . . . is . . . brave. You are brave.”

Inspiration Monday: Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone! According to my “posting schedule”, today is Inspiration Monday, and I’m thinking that love and inspiration go hand in hand quite nicely (well, I don’t actually have a “posting schedule” – I just like the idea of it!).

We celebrated on Friday evening, with a “family” Valentine Day’s dinner at a local vegetarian restaurant, The Jasmine Garden. It was our first visit there, but most definitely won’t be our last – our entrées were really lovely, and even Dylan, the picky-eater, enjoyed his dish of pasta and sauce (to be on the safe side, we got sauce and parmesan cheese on the side, which turned out not to be necessary).

The two vegans in our group (my daughter and my husband) enjoyed the fact that nearly everything on the menu was “vegan-friendly”; they really enjoyed the vegan ice cream, too!

And to top things off, we discovered The Jasmine Garden as a result of this blog. This is a great example of the wonderfully synchronistic (and sometimes convoluted!) way this whole blogging thing works sometimes. Last June, I’d participated in the book blog tour for the Alison Dare graphic novels, by J. Torres and Jason Bone. As a result, I ended up following J. Torres on Twitter, and vice versa.

One day, in the fall I think it was, Torres tweeted about taking his wife out to lunch at a local vegetarian restaurant. I knew he lived in the town next to me, so I asked him which restaurant, and that’s how I discovered The Jasmine Garden.

Don’t you love how it all worked out?

Today, Ward (my husband) surprised me with roses and pho noodle soup take-out (does he know me, or what?!). So I got to celebrate Valentine’s Day twice.

I see now that this whole Valentine’s Day post has gotten very food-related (funny how that happens). I’m going to continue with a mini, just-for-me celebration tonight by making the bacon cheddar pinwheels Margot posted over the weekend! (I sometimes have to do a bit of cooking Monday nights, if Ward doesn’t have time to make something for dinner before he leaves to teach classes. He didn’t have time today …)

So today I’m realizing (1) how much I enjoy food and (2) how much food inspires me. Maybe it’s time to shake the dust off my old food blog (can one blog adequately about food when one doesn’t cook?).

How was your Valentine’s Day?

Photo credit

Inspiration Monday: Love, Prompts and Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot about inspiration lately. And since this is January, the month of fresh starts, I’m coming up with a lot of new intentions. One of these intentions is living an inspired life.

I love feeling inspired; too often inspiration tends to come when I’m deep in deadlines (like I am this month). But I’d love for inspiration to come no matter what I’m doing. So I’m setting a soft, gentle intention to be inspired every day.

Not that I’m committing to anything, but it occurred to me that a regular weekly post about inspiration might help me with this new intention. And what better day to write about inspiration than Mondays!

The Love Project

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One of my favorite bloggers, Judy Clement Wall, has embarked on The Love Project, and she invites all of us to participate along with her.

“I want to spend one whole year consciously, unabashedly, fearlessly spreading the love. It sounds easy and, of course, it should be. What’s easier than love, right? But I  know better. I know how life, and bad guys, and deadlines, and sleep deprivation can get in the way of good intentions, so I sat down and mapped it all out – a new way of spreading the love for every month in 2011.

January is the month of “spontaneous connection.” My goal is to spontaneously connect with someone new every day.”

This sounds like such a delicious idea to me! In her first follow-up post about The Love Project, Judy’s shared what the first ten days of The Love Project has felt like (in a nutshell – magic!); she’s also posted the calendar she’s mapped out for her year of love.

(Photo Credit)

Writing Improvement Tools

I posted last week about Janel’s fabulous Bowl of Inspiration – it’s a special bowl she made that’s filled with writing prompts. Last week, Janel wrote another fabulous post that gave me such inspiration: Writing Improvement Tools 2011.

I’ll be making my own Inspiration Bowl (it will be more of a Writing Inspiration Box, because I have this soft spot in my heart for beautiful boxes). I love Janel’s Idea a Day concept, and plan on doing it with my Writing Inspiration Box beside me.

(Did you notice the future tense of the previous paragraph? Unfortunately, I have so many work deadlines lined up for January, I’m not sure when I can put all of these wonderful inspirational ideas of mine into being.)

Art Prompts

I wrote previously about my intention that 2011 be my year of creativity. It’s been a long time since I last dived into art making; my paints and papers have been calling to me for a while, and up until recently, I’ve been ignoring them.

But I’m ready now to get back into art making. This past weekend we took down all the holiday decorations, and while we were putting them all away in our storage room, I decided it was high time I pulled all my art supplies out of storage. So we did – four big Rubbermaid bins filled to the brim with paper, paints and pastels, embellishments, glues. I’m going to have so much fun going through them!

And to top things off, I came across this post about Art Prompts at Cloth Paper Scissors (one of my favorite art making magazines).

Writing prompts, art prompts – I’m all set for a creative 2011!

Commenting Fun

Blogging can be so inspiring too, and it’s so much fun finding new blogs and making comments on posts that call to you. So last week, I decided to sign up for the Comment Challenge 2011. Yes, it started last week, but I don’t think it’s too late to start. I signed up but then a deadline stepped in, so I haven’t done as much commenting as I’d planned – but there’s always today, right?

Tumblr Inspirations

bluemoon A few months ago, when I was at the start of my really busy work season (aka deadlines upon deadlines upon deadlines), I realized I needed to make sure I had some time just for me every day. Even if it was only a few minutes.

I came up with this solution: I created a Tumblr blog. It’s filled with beautiful pictures I reblog from other Tumblr users, plus I post the occasional quote that I come across and love.

So here it is: BelleEnchanted Inspirations.

And Tumblr-ing is so easy! Once I got the blog set up, it really only takes me a few minutes a day, and I come across so much beauty, it helps set the tone for my entire day.

As a bonus, I only ever do my Tumblr-ing from my iPhone! So I’m not even stuck at the computer while I’m doing this.

(Photo Credit: artwork is mine)

Snowy Walk

Snowy Walk

I was in a bit of a funk yesterday, so last night, my husband and I decided to get all bundled up and go for a walk around the block. It’s been quite cold here in Toronto, but we’ve also had beautiful sunny days, and last night was a gorgeous wind-free night.

We had such a good time, we’ve decided to try and get out for a walk together on a more regular basis. It was good to see the stars and the lights inside and outside our neighbors’ houses and watch our breath puff into the night air.

(Photo Credit)

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So these are the inspirational links, thoughts and ideas that filled my life this past week. What about you? What inspirational things have you come across?