Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Reading Like a Writer

I am listening to Francine Prose's audio book 'Reading Like A Writer.' The book is more a literature appreciation course although it gives good insights on novel writing. She praises a few authors notably Anton Chekhov. I am looking for audio books in the library but find that a lot of movies have been made from his stories. I think I will borrow some of them to learn of his work. I have relied more on listening to books and watching videos or movies to learn more of the craft of writing. I think is it a much better and faster way to learn than just by reading. But I think Francine Prose's book is more for book lovers than writers and too much detail for me.

I am amazed at the amount of free information available in the Internet. I could learn just about anything and supplemented with book reading from the library is a very cost effective way to grow and develop. The skill needed is to be able to navigate this new world. I think Google has a step up with the types of tools it offers free to the public. It seems that Google is the only company not affected by the recession. In fact, after logging into the Internet this morning, the site I always often use are: Google, Yahoo and CNN. Of course, I also used side tools to organize my thinking by using Mind Mapping, Notes and Delicious to store web links. It's a much different world today than just a few years back.

This morning I read an article in an UCLA magazine that the world is getting more visual and losing it's critical and analytical skills. According to the study, more people are not reading or writing but watching videos, television and movies, playing games and surfing the Internet. So tools like mind mapping are getting popular to organize thoughts instead of say writing or even conversing with other people. The study proposes to change school tests to accommodate this trend. I guess the new medium is also increasing the amount of information streaming towards the individual and mind mapping becomes an important tool just to survive.

After looking at the blogs from the Philippines, I am struck by their focus and content. Of course these are the top blogs based on number of hits so they have unique and skilled authors mostly photographers or designers. Compared to my efforts I am self-absorbed and indulgent. The blogs are a good challenge for me to improve and I noticed that blogs these days focus on photography than any other subjects. Again it's the visual trend these days to offer a clear and unambiguous record to the public. No more internal thoughts or sub texts although the composition of a photograph does provide some internal design and thought. But like myself, I prefer to keep things simple and avoids lot of hand wringing.

It's a work day today but I did not feel like going to work. Instead I will try to write a few mails and maybe make a few calls. The hospital gave me a medical leave or certificate that allows me to stay home until the 31st of January. But I think I should try to go to work and do some of the stuff there especially the meeting. I know it is fuzzy thinking again but I always think that the company is looking to get rid of people especially during the recession. So I think I have to do some work before these things get delayed. I feel I am getting more organized with less tolerance for triviality after my accident. I guess pain has a way of shaking people into their senses.

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