Have Hope! Life and Writing Advice from Literature by Rochelle Melander
December 29, 2015
Note From Rochelle
I’m taking a few weeks off from work to read and write and spend time with my family. If all is going according to plan, I’m in Three Pines right now with Armand Gamache and friends. I’ll be back in the office on January 5, 2016.
Today’s tip offers you some advice from favorite authors of mine.
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
I’ve been feeling nostalgic lately, revisiting books and photos from years past. I’ve spent time looking back over my commonplace books—journals filled with quotes from my favorite books.
When I finish a book, I always have many pages turned down. For many years, I’ve copied out my favorite quotes, like this one from Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott:
I thought it would be fun to end the year of Write Now! Tips with wisdom from my some of the books and characters I’ve loved. I hope you will find wisdom in these words, too. And perhaps you’ll start your own tradition of a commonplace book.
On Your Calling
from Catherine, Called Birdy by Karen Cushman
Then, stroking my face with her rough hands, she said, “Little Bird, in the world to come, you will not be asked, ‘Why were you not George?’ or ‘Why were you not Perkin?’ but ‘Why were you not Catherine?’ (13)
from Plain and Simple: A Journey to the Amish by Sue Bender
Never having enough time, I wanted it all, a glutton for new experience. Excited, attracted, distracted, tempted in all directions, I thought I was lucky to have so many choices and I naively believed I could live them all. (6)
Raising the question, What really matters? is important. Keeping that question alive is important. (137)
On Finding Answers
from A Red Herring without Mustard by Alan Bradley
I had long ago discovered that when a word or formula refused to come to mind, the best thing for it was to think of something else: tigers, for instance, or oatmeal. Then, when the fugitive word was least expecting it, I would suddenly turn the full blazes of my intention back onto it, catching the culprit in the beam of my mental torch before it could sneak back into darkness.
from Birds of a Feather by Jacqueline Winspear
Remembering her mentor’s counsel:
When we walk, and when we look out at a view other than the one we are used to every day, we are challenging ourselves to move freely in our work and to look at our conclusions from another perspective. Move the body, Maisie, and you will move the mind.
from The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barberry
When something is bothering me, I seek refuge. No need to travel far; a trip to the realm of literary memory will suffice. For where can one find more noble distinction, more entertaining company, more delightful enchantment than in literature?
from Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper
We’re all scared, most of the time. Life would be lifeless if we weren’t. Be scared, and then jump into that fear. Again and again. Just remember to hold onto yourself while you do it.
On Living Well
from A Walk on the Beach: Tales of Wisdom from an Unconventional Woman By Joan Anderson
(about Joan Erikson)
Joan Erikson’s encouragement: