Creativity in Public Spaces and the Importance of Bookshelves

I recently read Kelley Frank’s post (my sister and BFF) on making art in public and why it’s a good idea, and it got me thinking.

Growing up I was exposed to so much creativity. There was knitting, needlepoint, piano, clarinet, cooking, and of course, painting. Besides the piano, which obviously took up a good chunk of the living room, few artistic endeavors were given dedicated space in our house. Clarinet playing happened in the bedroom, painting in the kitchen, but books were given their own room entirely. We had our own home library, with at least four bookshelves, and more stacks of books that wouldn’t fit into the shelves.

Both of my parents collected tons of books, and still do, from biographies to comic books, from advanced calculus textbooks to steamy romances, they had a ton to choose from. We didn’t have a lot of money when I was younger, but books were worth the expense. We would scour bargain bins at department stores and check out the sale racks at Barnes and Nobles. Growing up with access to that many books seemed just normal to me. I would be able to check out a book series my mom had read as a kid, or read adventure novels that my dad collected. I could read books my older sister had read when she was a kid. We had most of the Babysitter’s club, a ton of Stephen King, and at least one encyclopedia set. It was a shock when I visited my friends’ homes and found they didn’t have a library at home, or even a full bookshelf.

“I do it because I think particularly in this country people are so distanced from literature, the way it’s taught in schools, that they think that people who write are magicians on a mountaintop somewhere, […] And I think that’s one of the reasons why there’s so much illiteracy in this country. So by doing it in public, I show people it’s a job … like being a plumber or an electrician.”

Harlan Ellison

In Kelley’s post, she focuses on the importance of seeing art performed in public, and how the act of doing the artwork drew the attention of some kids on a field trip. For me as a child, everybody in my family was creative in some way. I was surrounded by it all the time. While books certainly can’t be written in public (though it has been done before!), the fact that you sacrifice precious space in your home for books is a very telling decision. It speaks to the importance of books without having to see them performed.

But what do you think?

Do you think having a bookshelf at home stuffed with books helps kids realize the importance of them? Or do you think that kind of clutter isn’t necessary? I knew kids growing up that owned only 5 books, but those books had been read 20 times at least. Ebooks add a whole different dimension to the conversation too!

Scrivener Tutorial: Part 5: Keywords

I love finding tools or features that make my writing life easier.

When I was in junior high, we had to use notecards to keep everything organized. We created a code for our organization system, and that’s what we used for any kind of research paper. It was drilled into our heads how to keep track of references and quotes. In the creative writing world, however, we have to keep track of characters and themes.

That’s where Keywords come into play, one of the most powerful features of Scrivener that I’ve found, simply because it is so flexible and can be used for so many different things. It can help keep track of characters, locations, themes, missing scenes, and even a murder weapon for your mystery novel.

Watch my latest tutorial on Keywords to see how useful this organization tool can be.

Adorable Albino Alligators

It’s the last Friday of the month, which means I’m back again with another We Are The World Blogfest post! It’s weird cause some months I have a ton of options for posts, but other months I find it really hard to find positive news that I want to share. I don’t know why that is. Usually I bookmark stories I find throughout the month that I feel really speaks to me, but this month I had to hunt.

And now you get adorable albino alligators!

I really love participating in this every month, and I hope you’ll go over and check out this post on Facebook to read all the other positive entries that have been shared today!

In the Wild Florida Airboats and Gator Park, an albino gator named Snowflake laid around 19 eggs. Now normally alligator moms are just amazing mothers, being very protective of them and working hard to keep them safe. However because she’s blind due to her albinoism, they weren’t in a very safe location. So the group had to move the eggs to a safer place to increase their chances of survival.

This month the babies hatched, making this the first group of albino gators to be hatched in captivity in the world! I love stories where people take a hand in helping animals, and I especially love sharing awesome news about conservation groups.

The Wild Florida team is dedicated to protecting, conserving, and enhancing Florida’s diverse ecosystem to ensure that future generations can enjoy the wonders of wild, native Florida.

Posted on the Osceola News-Gazette on July 22, 2019, Author unknown
Aren’t they cute? Here is 25-year-old Snowflake and 14-year-old male Blizzard.
Photo/Wild Florida

Check out the full story!

Scrivener Tutorial Part 4: Using the Inspector

It’s been a busy year so far, y’all. I’m glad to get back to continuing my Scrivener tutorial series for fiction authors. I was really pleased to see how many people enjoyed the first three videos in my Scrivener playlist, so now that festival season has gotten a little bit quieter, I’m jumping back in with it.

In this video I tackle the Inspector and show features like labels, statuses, notes, an document references. I also show how to add color to your Binder to help organize scenes, chapters, and books.

Interview with Heather Kindt

Remember me mentioning how bad I was about sharing interviews here? Especially around a book release? It’s such a busy time that sometimes posts fall through the cracks. I’ll share hen on social media, but sometimes I forget to post them here.

Well here’s another poor interview that I forgot to post. This one is with fellow Parliament House sister, Heather Kindt. (Her book, The Weaver, comes out soon!) I talk about what inspired me to write Stolen and even mention some of the earliest original works I’ve ever written. (You’ll be surprised!)

I also discuss my journey on becoming an author, from my fan fiction days, to focusing on my computer science degree, and finally getting back into writing again. Every person’s journey to finding their craft is different, and these days there are so many potential paths to take too.

I hope you enjoy it!

Interview with Parliament House Press Author, Marlena Frank