Daily Post Writing 101: 20-Minute Stream of Consciousness — ‘Birth of a Hero’

HANDS AT KEYBOARD  SHORT FOR BLOGI’m a big fan of writing exercises, but I haven’t actually put myself through any in quite a while, so when the Daily Post started off this new term of Writing 101 with a 20-minute exercise, I decided I should go for it. Here’s their instructions:

“To get started, let’s loosen up. Let’s unlock the mind. Today, take twenty minutes to free write. And don’t think about what you’ll write. Just write. Keep typing (or scribbling, if you prefer to handwrite for this exercise) until your twenty minutes are up. It doesn’t matter if what you write is incomplete, or nonsense, or not worthy of the “Publish” button.”

And for your first twist? Publish this stream-of-consciousness post on your blog.

So – set the timer – punch the button: GO!

Matthew couldn’t breathe. Well – no – that wasn’t right. He could breathe, but he felt as though he were being pushed through a very narrow tunnel, and it was squeezing the breath right out of him.

Whooooosh! Ah — now — now he could breathe normally again. But what had just happened? He looked around him.

“Holy cow! Where am I?” Surrounded by buildings taller than anything he could have imagined, with traffic rushing past him just to his left, he felt a little dizzy and disoriented. He shook his head to try to clear it, and that’s when he noticed the girl standing about four feet way from him.

“Hi.” she said, almost bashfully.

“Uh … hi yourself. Uh … do I know you?”

She giggled. “Not yet. But you will.”

“What does that mean?” He looked around in all directions as if trying to locate something. “And what on earth is that racket?”

“What racket?”

“That incessant tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.”

She cocked her head to listen and a moment later, she grinned again. “Oh, that. I have learned to just close it out after all these weeks. It’s the sound of the keys on the keyboard.”

“What keyboard?”

“Melissa’s, silly. She’s the author.”

“What’s an author?”

“Oh, I forgot that you couldn’t know all that yet. It takes a while to figure things out once you get here, but I’ve been here so long that I’ve pretty well gotten acclimated to everything.”

Matthew tried clearing his head with a shake again. “Wait … what? … What are you talking about? What’s going on? Where am I anyway?”

The girl let out a huge sigh. “Okay. I’ll start from the beginning. Melissa Pendergast is an author, and she writes romance novels. She’s writing one now. I’m the heroine. My name’s Abigail, by the way,” she said, extending her hand to him.

He shook her hand but eyed her suspiciously. “And just what does that have to do with me?”

“Why you’re going to be the hero of the story.” She paused, a mischievous twinkle in her eyes. “And … the love of my life.”

“You’re crazy! I don’t even know you.”

Abigail sighed again. “Of course you don’t — yet. You just got here. Melissa has just now decided who you will be. Well, just a couple of days ago anyway. I heard her talking to her best friend, so I know what the plan is now. She decided to call you Matthew because her very first boyfriend – in sixth grade – was named Matthew, and she did it in honor of him.”

“Whoa — wait — start over, will you?”

Abigail began to get a little irritated. “I don’t need to start over. You just need to pay attention. Melissa is writing a love story and you are my lover. We are supposed to meet on the street right in front of that store over there on the corner. I’m supposed to get my heel caught in a grate at the edge of the curb, and you come to my rescue before a horde of people practically mow me down in their hurry to cross the street in the short time the light says ‘Walk.’

“So I’m in a book?”

“That’s right. And I understand it’s supposed to get a little steamy.” She smiled broadly now. “But I have to say that I’m not at all sorry. You’re quite a hunk, you know.”

“Well … thanks … but … I’m not sure I want to be in somebody’s book – even this Melissa’s.”

“Oh, don’t worry. She’s a great writer, and thousands of people love her books. We’ll be two of the most popular people in the world before too long. At least — I hope it’s before too long. She had a hard time sticking with this story. That’s why I’ve been around so long – waiting for you. She hit a block of some kind, but now everything seems like a go, and I can hardly wait.”

“So, when I felt like the breath was being squeezed out of me, that’s when I was being birthed into this story, so to speak?”

“That’s right. That’s exactly how it feels! But you’re okay now, aren’t you?”

Matthew looked himself over, took a nice deep breath, relieved that he could, and answered. “Yeah, I think I’m okay. But what do we do now?”

“Just relax for a few minutes. I think Melissa just finished the second chapter, and she’s about to have us meet. This is so exciting. I think I’m falling in love with you already.”

~

(As soon as I decided to write for this challenge, the first line popped into my mind, and I went from there. My understanding was that we were not supposed to edit these pieces to any extent, so I did type slower than usual to try to avoid as many mistakes as possible.)

~~~

~~~

Share Your World – 2014 – Week 36

GLOBE - PIECE OF THE WORLD w. text. - dark blue
Visit Cee’s blog to get involved and share  your own world as well.

Question # 1:  Do you prefer reading coffee table books, biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?

Oh-oh.  This is a hard one because I just enjoy reading so much that I can’t really choose. I love them all — truly. But since my life seems to always be so full of stress, I suppose I would have to say fiction, only because it offers me the greatest “escape” of any reading experience, and that helps me relax.

Question # 2:  What is your biggest fear or phobia? 

I don’t have any real fears of phobias, but one thing that I find myself trying to escape from is conflict. In my younger years, I was always ready to “take the bull by the horns,” so to speak, and jump right into a conflict with my own arguments — especially when I “knew” I was right. But in more recent years, I will go waaaaaay out of my way to avoid conflict if at all possible — even when I know I’m right.

Question # 3:  What is your favorite kind of cheese?

Farmers Cheese is my absolute favorite, but I like almost all kinds. I just read a quote by G. K. Chesterton, in which he refers to the fact that he has noticed that poets do not ever seem to write on the subject of cheese.  Interesting.

Question # 4:  What is your favorite month of the year?

October — for sure. Although November and December run such a close second that it’s hardly worth noting the difference. I simply love fall. I’ve told people many times that if I could just talk God into it, we would live in a world with 9 months of fall, 1 month of winter, and 2 months of spring.

Bonus Question: What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful for the wonderful people who have enrolled in my Writing Poetry class. They are so eager to learn and their eagerness is very inspiring to me. I am so looking forward to the next several weeks with them.

This coming week, I am also looking forward to getting a new handle on my cleaning and organizing at home. My house has been neglected a lot this past few months as I did other things, and I am beginning to feel the weight of mass clutter. I’m actually looking forward to cleaning it up. Don’t worry: I’m not a cleaning freak. And I’m definitely not the housekeeper my mother was.  But — really — when you have to walk carefully through the living room because the path between clutter is only about three feet wide, it’s time to fix things.

~

 

~~~

I Guess I’m Just a Book Club Dropout

MOBY DICK
People often ask me what I like to read, but almost no one asks me what I do not like to read. I wonder why? Well … of course, I know why. They just aren’t interested in what I don’t like to read, and I don’t blame them. I’m not interested either.

However, today I got to thinking about several authors whose works I do not like. Actually, the list is very, very, very long, but I didn’t have much time to post today, so I’ve narrowed it down to the ones that came to mind quickly. Now, my total lack of appreciation of these authors’ efforts does not mean that they do not have a talent for writing. It just means — simply — that I don’t appreciate their talent.

I do not like works by Nicholas Sparks, and I won’t go to the strenuous mental effort it takes to read Herman Melville or Victor Hugo. (At least, now that I’m out of school and don’t have to.) Stephen King and J. R. R. Tolkien are on my hit list, along with C. S. Lewis. And I absolutely despise works by Hemingway and Dr. Seuss.

When all is said and done, I doubt that there’s a book club anywhere in the world that wants me for a member.  

~~~

You Say You Want To Be A Writer?

CARTOON WRITER CLOTHED - editedYou say you want to be a writer? Then START WRITING!

Mystery author Agatha Christie once said, “The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.” There’s a lot of wisdom in that statement.

You know, you don’t have to live a weird life — or even a particularly exciting life — to be a great author. In fact you can live a very ordinary, chicken-frying, auto-repairing, laundry-washing, diaper-changing kind of life and still write books that will lift people out of the ordinary and into a place where imaginations rise to peak places, where new dreams are ignited, and where hope and faith bring victory into life’s struggles.

So pick up that pen, sit down to that keyboard, or start dictating into that recorder — whatever method works for you.  If you’re sure you want to write, START WRITING. 

 

BLACK TYPEWRITER - sepia regular sizeNow that you’ve started, you come to your next decision. Do you want to be an “occasional writer” – sharing an idea or a complaint only now and then – when the mood strikes you? Or do you want to be a “serious writer” – making writing one of your primary goals in life and, therefore, at the top of your list of priorities.? If your answer is the first option, then you are free to write or not, depending on how you feel on any particular day. However, even in that situation, the more you write, the better you will be at it when you feel it counts.

But if you are serious about writing – if you feel it is a necessary part of your feeling successful in your life – then you must live by a different law: You must commit to writing on a regular basis and stick with the program, regardless of how you feel on any particular day – or how anyone else feels about your work.

Unfortunately, this decision to be a serious writer must be made anew every few days. The “new” wears off after a while. The excitement turns to frustration after several days of reaching for just the write words and falling short time after time. The bright ideas seem to fade a little when the family and friends don’t find your first chapter exciting enough to want to listen to you talk about it for three hours non-stop. But if you really do want to write, you must make yourself write faithfully and regularly, regardless of the struggles involved. If you sit at your keyboard three hours and type onto the screen only one sentence worth keeping, you have accomplished writing a sentence that never existed before.

And therein lies the intrinsic value of writing. Everyone who writes becomes a creator. Once you have written an original piece – no matter how small or how large – you have created something that never before existed! And it does not matter if anyone else reads it. It does not matter if anyone else likes it. It does not matter whether it ever sees a publisher’s imprint or a bookstore shelf. The fact remains that you have created an entity that never before existed. I repeat that point because it is a powerful reality that very few writers recognize.

And another related fact – one that many unpublished writers in particular seem to miss — is that once you have created a written product, you are a writer. You’re not “going to be” a writer. You’re not a “would-be” writer. You’re not an “aspiring” writer. You are a writer. You are an author. You are a creator. When you do recognize these two truth, they will empower you to keep creating and to create even more effectively.

Author Jules Renard said, “Writing is the only profession where no one considers you ridiculous if you earn no money.” Well, I’m not sure that’s entirely true. When I was earning no money, I had a significant number of people tell me that I should put my writing aside and apply myself more diligently to “real work.” That being said, I would have to come into agreement with Mr. Renard to some extent anyway, because for the writer who feels the desire strongly enough, it really is not about money at all. It is about pouring out the rich treasure that is inside, just waiting for its release. If you truly are a writer, you must write – for yourself.

But to return to my main point, once you have realized that you are a writer and that you have created something that had no existence before your efforts, you will then come to realize a third truth that is just as important: As a writer, you have a heavy responsibility to your readers. From the moment an individual picks up your work and reads the first sentence, you begin to influence that person – for good or evil. And the more of your work people read, the greater your influence grows.

So it is important to remember that, although you may feel you are writing for yourself, if you intend to allow your work to be read by anyone else at all, you are responsible for what that work does to influence that reader. There is a passage in the Bible, Luke 12:48, that says, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.”

Although the statement is found within the pages of Scripture, it is a truth outside of those pages as well. One does not have to be of the Christian faith to recognize the validity of the point being made. In accordance with that law of life, when we are endowed with the powerful gifts and talents that allow us to create through the written word, we then become accountable for what we do with that word.

QUILL & SCROLL - sepiaAs long ago as 1839, English author Edward Bulwer-Lytton stated this truth most succinctly when he wrote, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Centuries prior to that date, Martin Luther proved the truth of that statement when his words shook a corrupt religious system to its very roots – as did Thomas Paine in his endeavors to move men in the “New World” to fight for their freedom. By the use of the pen (or keyboard) nations can be established, but societies can be destroyed just as easily. Personal lives can be blessed and lifted to a new level, or they can be pulled down into sordidness and filth – depending on what flows from the point of that pen.

A poem I wrote not long ago echos this truth as well:

Weapons

One man may wield with ease a sharp-honed sword,
And drawing blood, strike death with that long knife.
Another for his weapon chooses words,
Yet with dead aim, he too destroys a life.

‘Twould seem that power resides in reservoirs
And can be drawn and used for peace or strife.
Ah, yes, and ’tis the Master Wordsmith’s Word
That teaches in our words is death and life. *

Powerful? Yes. Exciting? Indeed. Scary? You bet. Because with so much power comes an equal amount of responsibility. We must never lose sight of the fact that words really do create — for good or evil. And words move people — to good or evil.

But isn’t it a great joy to know that the power works both ways? As writers, we have the opportunity to build lives – to bring encouragement, hope, revelation, and even laughter. Allow me to quote from one more passage of scripture. The book of Proverbs, chapter 17, verse 22, says, “A joyful heart is good medicine.” And in the last century, medical science told us that scientific tests had proven that laughter really does change the physical condition of the body in a positive way. Yes, even writing something that makes another person laugh can change a life.

If you want to be a writer, you are aspiring to a high calling. Go for it, always remembering to use your power wisely.

And as you pick up that pen or set your hands on that keyboard, you can count on two things coming your way for sure:

# 1 — Frustrating, taxing, aggravating challenges.

# 2 – The exhilarating, elevating, life-renewing joy of having created something out of yourself that never before existed. There is no other experience like it in the world!

HANDS AT KEYBOARD - SEPIA

~

*Scripture reference: Proverbs 18:21

This article is an excerpt from the curriculum Releasing the Creative Writer in You, © 2013 by Sandra Conner.

~

Friday Fictioneers – 4/30/13 — ‘Entrusted’

Time for Friday Fictioneers again, and this week’s prompt comes from a photo by Claire Fuller.  My story is below the picture. When I do a word count, my computer counts my ellipses marks as words, but the actual word count is exactly 100.  I’m going with that.

Copyright-Claire Fulller

ENTRUSTED

Oh, Donovan! Am I dreaming?”

No, they are very real.” He caressed book after book, counting each stack again.

How … ?”

Right before his arrest, Father called me to his library. His face awash with tears, he told me the new government police were confiscating and burning every book they could find. He begged me to help him bury his 1000 books.

“We worked all night, and when they came, they found all the shelves bare.  He wouldn’t tell them where … so they executed him.”

But you — ”

I couldn’t betray his trust …. ”

~~~

To join the fun, visit here: http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/

‘Read’ Me A Story

Will you read me a story?” Just how many times I asked that question of parents and grandparents during my growing-up years I’ll never know. But ask it I did, because I loved stories. In fact, I loved the whole idea of someone being able to pick up a book of pages filled with letters, and being able to understand those letters to such an extent that they told a complete story that I could then understand and enjoy.

Reading. It was one of my fondest dreams and proudest accomplishments when still a very young child. Along with learning how to write those same letters on a page myself so that they would make sense for someone else. To say that I was fascinated with books would be an understatement indeed, and I have since spent my life pursuing the adventure of devouring written matter in virtually every form in which I could find it.

Now, in my middle-age season, as I work toward getting more of my own written work published, I’ve naturally been looking into all the various media currently available for getting written material into the hands of the public. With each passing day, I’ve become even more aware of the fact that I am now living on a new planet — Computer-World. Virtually every kind of transaction and correspondence is carried on via the internet, and even a good deal of our entertainment and recreation is now often found in the hallowed halls of the computer terminal.

But I’ve been especially concerned personally with understanding the whole electronic book media, since it is gaining more ground every year. One of the young men who was working with me a few years ago in the development of a publishing enterprise threw me for a loop when we were talking about my getting two or three manuscripts to him in order for him to help critique and edit the material. He suggested that I just send the manuscripts by e-mail. I looked at him in surprise and said, “But then you’d have to print them out yourself, because you wouldn’t want to have to sit in front of the computer to read whole books.” He gave me what I call a sympathetic but condescending look, smiled sweetly, and said, “We’re a new generation . . . we read off the screen.”

I’m sure my face registered my shock, and his words stayed with me for weeks after that conversation. (Now, I think I should add here, for the sake of any writers out there who are working on editing their work on the screen: Be sure you print out a hard copy of your manuscript and do at least one edit from that. Every good editor knows that you will inevitably find errors that simply do not come to your attention on the screen.) But back to my main thought:  I began to ask myself, “Is that what we’re coming to then … a time when nobody will want to pick up a book and hold it while they read the words printed on the pages?” Something deep down inside of me answered, “No.”

Shortly after that, I spent a couple of hours talking with the owner of three large independent bookstores, and I asked him if he thought there would be a total shift to electronic books soon. He said that he could see a slight swing in that direction, but he believed it would be another four or five years before it made any major difference. It’s now all those five years later, and it has made a definite difference, but it still hasn’t emptied the hardcopy bookshelves enough to see the dust on them.

So still the question has been hanging around in my head … and in my heart. I say in my heart because the idea had made me a little sad … like realizing that instead of sitting with friends and being able to touch them while you visited, you’d have to just listen to their voice over a phone line. There’s just something about picking up a book and holding it in your hands … feeling the weight of it … smoothing your fingers over the cover … whether it’s made of fine leather, soft paper, or some other material … it doesn’t matter … it’s a book. And then there’s the expectancy of opening it for the first time … or even the hundredth time … and moving through the pages, smelling the scent of paper and ink that no computer will ever be able to simulate.

Those experiences are the appetizers, leading me into the bountiful main course of the book itself, which is followed, of course, by the sense of being satisfied and replete at the end of a magnificent meal. Nothing else can quite compare to that sense of fulfillment and that gratified smile that accompanies the reading of the words, “The End” at the conclusion of a good book, and the feeling that I’ve truly completed something worthwhile when I close the back cover for the last time.

But then I thought, “That experience can’t be the only reason I prefer to hold a book while I read it.” And as I meditated on my reasons, I came to this conclusion: I enjoy television programs and movies; I see a real merit to using audio books if one has a vision problem, or is driving for long periods; and I can understand the value of e-books scrolling across my palm pilot if I’m sitting in a busy airport or bus terminal and don’t want the fuss of several heavy books to carry. However, it’s a fact that when I’m actually holding the book in my own hands and reading the material, I’m somehow absorbing what I’m reading and becoming a part of it more completely than I do when I’m just looking at the words or actions on a screen.

Then I began to think about how blessed I feel to be able to walk into a bookstore or a library and let my eyes feast on aisle after aisle of shelves covered in beautiful books. I thought about all of the excitement and joy of choosing from all of that bounty and wanting to hurry home, quickly getting other chores out of the way, so that I can sit down and open my treasure and … read.

So I’ve decided: No, I don’t believe that any other media will ever totally replace reading a real book. No other media will ever be able to give the joy and total gratification that is ours when we hold a book and let our eyes search out and devour what resides within it. Or when our children or grandchildren cuddle up with us and lean in close to see for themselvesthose printed words that make the special magic when we “read them a story.”

So now, although I’m going with the flow – Facebooking, blogging, online news reporting, and formatting my own books for digital readers – I’m also committing myself to help the “new generation of screen-readers” to discover and understand the unique satisfaction and thrill of picking up a book and reading it. I’m making it my job to encourage them not to get so involved with trying to get in touch with their computer that they get out of touch with books. Even those friends of mine who feels that man’s best friend is the “mouse” can benefit from taking a break and picking up a book.

So let me offer this personal invitation to one and all. Take some time to visit your nearest library or bookstore and wander through the aisles of beautiful books. Choose one; take it home; sit down in a comfortable chair and prop your feet up. Smooth your hands over the cover a few times; smell that sometimes new — sometimes musty — but always unique scent of a book. Open the cover, and turn the page. Give yourself the gift that no one else can give you: read a REAL book!

 

“Read” Me A Story

“Will you read me a story?” Just how many times I asked that question of parents and grandparents during my growing-up years I’ll never know. But ask it I did, because I loved stories. In fact, I loved the whole idea of someone being able to pick up a book of pages filled with letters, and being able to understand those letters to such an extent that they told a complete story that I could then understand and enjoy.

Reading. It was one of my fondest dreams and proudest accomplishments when still a very young child. Along with learning how to write those same letters on a page myself so that they would make sense for someone else. To say that I was fascinated with books would be an understatement indeed, and I have since spent my life pursuing the adventure of devouring written matter in virtually every form in which I could find it.

Now, in my middle-age season, as I work toward getting more of my own written work published, I’ve naturally been looking into all the various media currently available for getting written material into the hands of the public. With each passing day, I’ve become even more aware of the fact that I am now living on a new planet — Computer-World. Virtually every kind of transaction and correspondence is carried on via the internet, and even a good deal of our entertainment and recreation is now often found in the hallowed halls of the computer terminal.

But I’ve been especially concerned personally with understanding the whole electronic book media, since it is gaining more ground every year. One of the young men who was working with me a few years ago in the development of a publishing enterprise threw me for a loop when we were talking about my getting two or three manuscripts to him in order for him to help critique and edit the material. He suggested that I just send the manuscripts by e-mail. I looked at him in surprise and said, “But then you’d have to print them out yourself, because you wouldn’t want to have to sit in front of the computer to read whole books.” He gave me what I call a sympathetic but condescending look, smiled sweetly, and said, “We’re a new generation . . . we read off the screen.”

I’m sure my face registered my shock, and his words stayed with me for weeks after that conversation. (Now, I think I should add here, for the sake of any writers out there who are working on editing their work on the screen: Be sure you print out a hard copy of your manuscript and do at least one edit from that. Every good editor knows that you will inevitably find errors that simply do not come to your attention on the screen.) But back to my main thought:  I began to ask myself, “Is that what we’re coming to then … a time when nobody will want to pick up a book and hold it while they read the words printed on the pages?” Something deep down inside of me answered, “No.”

Shortly after that, I spent a couple of hours talking with the owner of three large independent bookstores, and I asked him if he thought there would be a total shift to electronic books soon. He said that he could see a slight swing in that direction, but he believed it would be another four or five years before it made any major difference. It’s now all those five years later, and it has made a definite difference, but it still hasn’t emptied the hardcopy bookshelves enough to see the dust on them.

So still the question has been hanging around in my head … and in my heart. I say in my heart because the idea had made me a little sad … like realizing that instead of sitting with friends and being able to touch them while you visited, you’d have to just listen to their voice over a phone line. There’s just something about picking up a book and holding it in your hands … feeling the weight of it … smoothing your fingers over the cover … whether it’s made of fine leather, soft paper, or some other material … it doesn’t matter … it’s a book. And then there’s the expectancy of opening it for the first time … or even the hundredth time … and moving through the pages, smelling the scent of paper and ink that no computer will ever be able to simulate.

Those experiences are the appetizers, leading me into the bountiful main course of the book itself, which is followed, of course, by the sense of being satisfied and replete at the end of a magnificent meal. Nothing else can quite compare to that sense of fulfillment and that gratified smile that accompanies the reading of the words, “The End” at the conclusion of a good book, and the feeling that I’ve truly completed something worthwhile when I close the back cover for the last time.

But then I thought, “That experience can’t be the only reason I prefer to hold a book while I read it.” And as I meditated on my reasons, I came to this conclusion: I enjoy television programs and movies; I see a real merit to using audio books if one has a vision problem, or is driving for long periods; and I can understand the value of e-books scrolling across my palm pilot if I’m sitting in a busy airport or bus terminal and don’t want the fuss of several heavy books to carry. However, it’s a fact that when I’m actually holding the book in my own hands and reading the material, I’m somehow absorbing what I’m reading and becoming a part of it more completely than I do when I’m just looking at the words or actions on a screen.

Then I began to think about how blessed I feel to be able to walk into a bookstore or a library and let my eyes feast on aisle after aisle of shelves covered in beautiful books. I thought about all of the excitement and joy of choosing from all of that bounty and wanting to hurry home, quickly getting other chores out of the way, so that I can sit down and open my treasure and … read.

So I’ve decided: No, I don’t believe that any other media will ever totally replace reading a real book. No other media will ever be able to give the joy and total gratification that is ours when we hold a book and let our eyes search out and devour what resides within it. Or when our children or grandchildren cuddle up with us and lean in close to see for themselvesthose printed words that make the special magic when we “read them a story.”

So now, although I’m going with the flow – Facebooking, blogging, online news reporting, and formatting my own books for digital readers – I’m also committing myself to help the “new generation of screen-readers” to discover and understand the unique satisfaction and thrill of picking up a book and reading it. I’m making it my job to encourage them not to get so involved with trying to get in touch with their computer that they get out of touch with books. Even those friends of mine who feels that man’s best friend is the “mouse” can benefit from taking a break and picking up a book.

So let me offer this personal invitation to one and all. Take some time to visit your nearest library or bookstore and wander through the aisles of beautiful books. Choose one; take it home; sit down in a comfortable chair and prop your feet up. Smooth your hands over the cover a few times; smell that sometimes new — sometimes musty — but always unique scent of a book. Open the cover, and turn the page. Give yourself the gift that no one else can give you: read a REAL book!