These are troubling times. I’m self-isolating (as if my lifestyle weren’t already pretty self-isolated, as a home-based freelance writer). I’m trying to meet the world as if I were the one carrying contagion, protecting those around me with social distance, as opposed to the all-too-easy stance of fear of others carrying contagion to me.
Talk about isolated, let’s talk about my mother, locked down in an assisted living facility where all activities have been cancelled (even Bingo!) and meals are brought to the rooms. I hope she’s watching old movies, not the 24/7 freak show on cable news!
How are we going to cope with weeks or months of this? Well, one thing you can do is read more. ‘Tis the season to unplug from your social streams (after you’ve gotten a good boost of connectedness, and resisted click-bait fear links) and open a book. How high is your bedside pile? What about the pile by your armchair, your sofa, your dinner plate? Let’s make a dent in those piles, people!
Another thing you can do is write. Get a few more musings down for that memoir of yours. Journal. Pull out a diary from a distant year and add some new thoughts from the you-now about the you-then. This is a perfectly great moment for time-travel and memory is the safest seat on the bus.
Here’s the call to action that blends my recommendations to read and write — send me a book review!
Any book, as long as it’s a “True Story, Well Told.” Memoirs, creative nonfiction, history, biography, bring it on. Click here to read some of my reviews on this blog, if you’d like an example.
Book reviews are formulaic. To save you googling it, here’s my cheat sheet:
- Describe what is on the page. Summarize major sections in the book, to convey how it is structured. No spoilers, please.
- Identify the genre (memoir, biography, etc.) and assess how it fits in the genre. Dead center or peripheral? A genre-bender, like a memoir in graphic novel form? (Think Persepolis.)
- Share your opinion of the author’s writing style. Does it suit the intended audience?
- For bonus points, consider literary devices. What did the author use and why? ( Here’s a quick quiz if you’d like to refresh your memory of what I mean by “literary devices.”)
- Wrap it up with a bow. Do you feel satisfied at the book’s end?
I’m eager for new essays to publish here on True Stories Well Told. I hope I’ve inspired you to read, write, and review while we all hunker down!
© 2020 Sarah White