Sunday, October 4, 2009

Writing from the Heart

"The idea is to write so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight into the heart."
-- Maya Angelou

My thoughts turned to Maya Angelou after hearing of her health scare. From what I can gather, she is still in hospital, but doing well. Hopefully that continues.

Maya has written so many wonderful things, and she is very quotable. I love the quote at the top of the post. To me, good story telling does just that. It touches the heart. I hope one day to be a strong enough writer to touch the heart of my readers. What an accomplishment that would be!

Many authors over the years have touched my heart. I vividly remember reading the Anne of Green Gables series when I was a child. Anne Shirley is a character who has stayed with me for years. I've reread her stories, and passed those books on to my daughter and my students. Anne's gutsy, optimistic, fun-loving, dramatic attitude has had so many readers fall in love with her over the years. Lucy Maud Montgomery is definitely one of those authors whose writing has arrowed straight to my heart.

How about you? Who was the first author or character who really touched your heart?


  1. Thought provoking post. I recall several books in which struck a cord in me. Firstly, Roald Dahl. He sowed many seeds in my heart and even now I pore over his delightful books for inspiration, of which there is much to be had.

    Secondly J.R.R.Tolkien, The Hobbit and of course, the Lord of the Rings.

    Both authors were 'wordsmiths' the fabric of which I aspire - if only in my dreams :)

  2. Quillfeather - Dahl and Tolkein - Two fantastic authors. Definitely wordsmiths.

    I have works of both authors in my classroom, even though the reading levels are quite disparate :) It's fun to watch kids go from one to the other and enjoy both.

    May your dreams come true!

  3. WOW. There are so many authors who touched my heart as a child. I loved C.S. Lewis, Tolkien and Dahl as well. I remember that The Velveteen Rabbit made me cry, and Noel Steatfield's series (Ballet Shoes, Theater Shoes, etc.) made me dream big dreams.

  4. Jenny - All good choices, although Steatfield is new to me. I'll have to go look him up! I think The Velveteen Rabbit has caused a lot of tears in a lot of little hearts over the years :)

  5. Great post, Jemi! For me it is without a doubt, Elizabeth Peters.

    I have a very difficult time reading overly wordy and descriptive authors-- my brain just shuts down for some reason-- and it seemed those were the books I always picked up. As a result I spent most of my life thinking I just wasn't much of a reader. A friend recommended I give Elizabeth Peters a try with her Amelia Peabody series. I could not put it down, and for the first time in my life I was a reader.

    I now have a better understanding of my reading difficulties, and am grateful to the author for opening a door to a whole new world. Even my youngest daughter is named Amelia in her honor. : )

  6. Calista - gotta love Amelia :) It's so exciting to hear how you became a reader (I feel another blog post coming....). I love watching my students become readers - especially those who never thought they would be!

    It's amazing the power authors can have. Can you imagine the feeling you'll have when someone names her daughter Phoebe because of your novel?! Wow.

  7. Ha! You are WAY too kind. : ) I can only hope.

    It's fantastic that you are able to give so many kids the gift of reading when they may not have found that love if it weren't for your dedication to books and to them as a teacher. Hat's off to you!

  8. Calista - Thanks. Reading aloud and sharing wonderful books with my kids is definitely my fave part of the day! All it really takes is that one special book and they're off and running by themselves :)

  9. What a beautiful way to end the night.

    The first author to truly touch my heart would be Mildred D. Taylor with Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry. Cassie Logan shredded the boundaries of all I had known.

    I have never cried so hard as I did when reading this haunting tale of prejudice, friendship and love.

    Of course there were others that played a role in my love of all things literary: Dahl, Lewis, London, Verne, Cleary and Blume, to name a few.

    We didn't have a television when I grew up, but the library was always free.

  10. Jody - Roll of Thunder - What a great book! I've read that one aloud to several of my classes. It's so powerful :)

    You've listed some other great authors as well. I didn't read London until I was a young adult - wish I'd found him earlier.

    I spent a LOT of hours at our library as well. Great place to be :)

  11. Great post! I liked "Anne of Green Gables," too.

    Nancy Drew was my favorite series character when I was little. Then, after reading "Little Women," it switched to Jo.

    Mystery Writing is Murder

  12. Elizabeth - I loved Nancy Drew as well - Hardy Boys right along with her. My parents bought my sister and I the set one Christmas. I didn't surface for months :)

    I also loved Little Women. I really, really wanted to have Jo's spunk. Another one of my favourite characters.

  13. I loved "Anne of Green Gables" and all of the Anne books. My 4th grade teacher read it out loud and then I went on and read all the rest. Still have the whole collection. I loved her sense of adventure; but I also loved that she lived in Canada.


  14. I racked my brain, trying to remember the FIRST author or book to seal the deal and turn me into a lifetime reader. I will go with Laura Ingalls Wilder and Little House on the Prairie. I checked the book out from our school library and read it in my bedroom that night. I got in trouble for staying up so late reading. Something I still do to this very day.

  15. Elspeth - Me too!I went back and forth to the library for weeks in order to read the entire series :)

    Elizabeth - Little House is such a great series. I loved the tv show as well, although my folks preferred I didn't watch it as I tended to cry too often. I'm such a sap! My hubby just rolls his eyes when he wakes up and I'm still reading! :)

  16. I don't know if I have an answer to that. Authors always touch me in different ways. I think my favourite Angelou quote is this one:

    If you don't like it, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.

    I used to have that one up at work. I changed a lot of things that year!


  17. Jean - love that quote too! I've used that in my classroom many times :) It's always interesting to see how the kids interpret it!

  18. Ah Jeez, Jemi, you did say FIRST didn't you? Well, please understand I was a precocious reader and a guy (that's my excuse and I'm stickng to it).

    The first character in a novel that really captured me was (here it comes) Tarzan.

    There I said it.

  19. Barry - I LOVE it!! You don't need an excuse - that's a great adventure :) Hasn't everyone dreamed of living the Tarzan life at some point? I know I did! Thanks for popping by to comment :)

  20. LM Montgomery was definitely one of my favourite authors. I grew up with Anne, but I think I liked Emily of New Moon even better, because she wanted to be a writer, and so did I! I was also very fond of the Betsy-Tacy series, and the Wrinkle in Time series. There were so many books I loved as a child, but these were definitely among my favourites.

  21. Belle - I liked Emily too, but she never got to me as Anne did. I enjoy Wrinkle in Time as well - lots of great ideas in that book! I've read it to my class a few times over the years. They always enjoy it :)