In Praise of the Pencil

As a writer, but primarily as a procrastinator, I have experimented with many writing tools. I’ve read about the writing habits of famous writers, including their preferred writing instruments. Everyone knows that writers attach great importance to their writing tools and habits. Whether they write in the morning or evening, whether they write sitting up or lying down (Truman Capote could only write when he was “horizontal”), whether they compose on paper or a screen, it matters, greatly. The pencil seems the least remarkable of the writing tools we have at our disposal. A pencil is what a child is…

On Sharing Books When You’re a Margin Scribbler

There’s a general feeling among diehard book lovers that books are sacred objects and that they should remain pristine. Many dedicated readers feel this way, including my husband. My husband and I are both avid readers, and we consider an evening spent reading an evening well spent (except when Netflix gets in the way.) But we differ in how we treat our books. When I read, it is with a pencil in my hand. I like to write in the margins of my books – my reactions, connections to other things I’ve read – rarely profound, my scribblings can be as…

How Novels Portray Consciousness

All writers of fiction are engaged with consciousness in fundamental ways. For starters, what we write comes from our consciousness. At the same time, we invent consciousness for characters in our novels. Novelists try to convey inner feelings in words, and expressing inner experience in a true and meaningful way seems like quite a tall order. Ever since the first novels were written, authors have done this in different ways. In his book, Consciousness and the Novel, author and literary critic David Lodge explores how the study of human consciousness has changed over time, and how this effects the representation of…

An indulgent first post

I love words. I love watching words transform into images. I love the soft taps they make on my keyboard as they fill the screen, how they add weight to paper. I love looking for the right word: capturing something intangible into the shape of a linear sentence. I love reading something written a hundred years ago and half a world away, and feeling as if the writer wrote only with me in mind. I love sitting still while words flood my mind, preferably with a steaming cup of tea at arm’s length. Growing up, words were like magic to me. They transported…