I begin my April Showers series. This is all about what waters my creative soul. I'm going to discuss the juice of some recent reads. First up comes enrichment from Conrad Wesselhoeft's new book Dirt Bikes, Drones and Other Ways to Fly (HMH). Here's a short synopsis from Amazon: Seventeen year-old dirt-bike-riding daredevil Arlo Santiago catches the eye of the U.S. military with his first-place ranking on a video game featuring drone warfare, and must reconcile the work they want him to do with the emotional scars he has suffered following a violent death in his family.
This is one kinetic read. Here are two techniques in this book that will open your eyes as you create your own work.
1. Leverage language. This is something that Wesselhoeft always does and this book is no exception. Here in the middle of of bruising narrative, high flying action, and heart-rending despair is a peppering of poetic beauty. Phrasing elevates this story --- "book of Job lousy year," "Something rises in me -- something halfway between a fist and a sob" and "the thing about a journey -- it pops you into focus and sweeps the mess of your life under the rug if only for a brief time." Shy away from bland word choice as you create your works, and you will add brilliance to your stories.
2. Say something. Dirt Bikes... is stitched together with references to Mozart, Rossini, Martin Luther King, Buddha, Paul of Tarsus, Marcus Aurelius, Emerson, to name a few, and more obscure voices, like John Gillespie Magee, from his poem "High Flight."
- For I have danced the streets of heaven,
- And touched the face of God.
I have at least a dozen pages of notes of the lessons I learned while reading this book. I hope you realize that you are in the battle of literacy as you create your books. Do whatever it takes to widen the world, to stir up empathy, and to develop a continuing legacy. Use choice language and consider Rodin's "Thinker" at the gates of hell. Be that thinker at the gates. Write stuff that will make a difference.
Thanks for dropping by! I will have more showers next week.
Here is a doodle. "The Wind"
And finally a quote for your pocket.
What lies behind us, and what lies before us are but tiny matters compared to what lies within us. Ralph Waldo Emerson.