Creativity Series: Meditations From Our Writing Community

The Bereshit Bara Creativity Series asks Creatives to wrestle with how they make the first move, write the first word, fling the first brush stroke, peel back the first layer of clay? What inspires them, what moves them, what drives them?

Today features meditations from our generous and talented blogging community. Jump on over to their sites and leave a comment.

If this is something you have written about send me your thoughts or a link to your post wrestling with these questions at

Download podcasts from the series or subscribe to the Podcast Series on iTunes.

Kathryn Johnson on the magic of writing,

I write because I want to believe in something. I love the feel of a story, how it unravels in my imagination, how it raises questions and concerns and hope. Without story, without the opportunity to believe in something, we are left with only one chance. A sort of Russian roulette, where no one contemplates consequences, choices, or difference-making.  When I write, that’s my opportunity to speak up, answer impossible questions, change truth, evoke hope.

Valerie Noble on the process of writing her first novel,

After I got that original sentence out of my head, I began to write. I use a macbook pro, but I also write by hand. I always have a notebook with me, especially when I was in school. I pulled several of them out to remind myself of how many I filled while writing The Energy Crusades. Interspersed amongst my chemistry notes, are passages from my story. There are cutouts from magazines- pictures of living roofs, what the University should look like, how the grids are set up- and pages and pages of chapters, some that never made it into the book at all. They are still part of the story, however, a part of the journey that gave me a beginning, middle, and end.

From Quotidiandose,

Again, we knock.  And knock.  As a matter of etiquette we wait outside the door waiting for someone to open it.  After a while, through impatience we test the knob and it turns. In the business world, it’s common to keep the doors closed, yet not locked so customers can come in to the front counter. Are you going to the front counter? Or are you waiting for someone to open the door? At someone’s home it’s poor manners to open the door and just walk on in, unless you’re family or good friends. But, in a business – ie – publishing, are you crossing the threshold and stepping to the counter where someone can actually assist you? Or are you pounding a business door, and they are inside wondering why you don’t just come on in? Are you even checking to see if the knob turns?  sometimes we give up too easily.

What Does Young Adult Fiction Mean? How Was It Invented?

What exactly is “Y.A.”? What does it mean? Why did it begin in the first place, and when was that? What has it become since? We conferred with librarians, agents, publishing world executives, and the experts of the Internet to put together a primer of sorts. They don’t all agree, either—nor is this current-day definition one that will remain so forever. As author Michael Cart, writing for YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, for which he is a former president, explains, “The term ‘young adult literature’ is inherently amorphous, for its constituent terms ‘young adult’ and ‘literature’ are dynamic, changing as culture and society — which provide their context — change.” […]

Marcus points to World War II as another impetus in the creation of Y.A. literature. Teens were put through the very grownup experience of war, and came back as veterans old beyond their years, while their younger brothers “felt they’d missed the experience of a lifetime.” This, says Marcus, had a huge impact on society, setting the stage for things like rock-and-roll, and more grown-up literature for “kids.” But there’s also clearly a marketing element at work here: The creation of Y.A. as a category makes “good business sense,” says Marcus. “All along since the beginning of the 20th century, specialized publishing departments were being formed, with the underlying idea to create a parallel world to the world of the institutional book buyers.”

From “What Does Young Adult Mean?” The word and the concept for “adolescent” and consequently “teenager” and “young adult” are fairly new. So the idea of books just for those types of kids/adults/pre-peoples is also a new enterprise. YA fiction is still a young adult.

For Writers Readers and Everyone Else — Wednesday Edition

• If you’re ever out with an ugly girl you can pull out one of these and still have a good time.

• Because I’m obsessed with everything Jewish. (here via VelveteenRabbi)

• Liam Durcan says fiction is good for us because it immerses us in other minds and other experiences. (here via Bookinja)

• Why genre is a bad idea: because good fiction gets categorized as young adult fiction. And who reads Y.A.? (More about it here via Bookninja)

• Frank Viola (author of Pagan Christianity review here) has a blog. Yesterday he told a funny Italian joke. 

• James Carse says religion is like poetry. That’s about the only thing I agree with him in his interview here.

Right now I’m reading Cynthia Ozick’s Dictation (review here), Amoz Oz’s Elsewhere Perhaps, and Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine (video here). If you’ve read any of those let me know what you think.

I’m a little angry that today I’m leaving the comfortable 72 degrees of Oregon for the 85 degrees of Southern California. I’m taking lots of sunblock. I recommend using this kind. Not only is it SPF 45, but it’s spray on.

I have three words for that: Un-believe-able! (That was my capitalism plug for the month and I didn’t get paid to say all that, although I should.)