Bringing Two Worlds Together

Welcome back to another post in the Monday Inspirations series, where guest bloggers write about the books and authors that have inspired them. Today’s post is by Dr Gulara Vincent.

What can a memoir set in Soviet Russia have in common with a memoir set in Iran? Let’s find out.

Elena Gorokhova’s ‘A Mountain of Crumbs’ stole my heart straightaway. Her writing is exquisite: I can see, smell, even taste the places she is writing about. Set in Leningrad in the thick of the Soviet regime, the characters in her story and the oppression she experienced as a young girl feel painfully familiar. Her mother reminds me of my grandma, and her rebellious sister of my mum. The poverty mentality, the constant fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, even her sweet tooth and the candy she used to eat as a child – I could relate to them all. I have memories of becoming a young pioneer, and the brainwashing we underwent at school. The public humiliation for loving someone at school if it came out into the open was on the cards too.

There were also points which diverged from my personal experiences. Like Elena, I loved English. Albeit grudgingly, Elena’s family supported her to pursue her dream and learn the language well. In contrast, Read more

The New Walden

Yesterday you had a chance to meet Matt Steel and his story of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Today, you have the opportunity to help with the realization of the new adaptation of Walden, as today the Kickstarter campaign begins. Click here to go there now.

First published in 1854, Walden is a heady mix of memoir, philosophy, satire, and nature writing. Although the book was initially met with small success, many later critics have praised it as an American classic that explores simplicity, harmony, and the savage beauty of nature. Robert Frost said, “In one book … he surpasses everything we have had in America.”

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Return to Walden

Welcome back to the Monday Inspirations series for an inspiring post from Matt Steel.

Have you ever read a book that made you more awake and aware? A book that made you wiser, kinder, or more creative? That challenged the way you see the world and your role in it? In my life thus far, there have been several books that catalyzed various turning points. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, is near the top of that list, despite the fact that it took two attempts for the book to work its power in me.

Thoreau was a man of many facets and trades: A writer, transcendentalist philosopher, naturalist, abolitionist, surveyor, and historian, among others. In 1845, Thoreau built a small cabin on the shore of Walden Pond, near his hometown of Concord, Massachusetts. He wanted to create a quiet place where he could write. But he also wished to withdraw from the noise of society and gain a clear view of it, live simply in the thick of nature, and, in his own words, “to suck all the marrow out of life.” He did not want to reach the end of his life only to find out that he “had not lived.”

Thoreau lived on the Pond for about two years. Walden is the account of his experiment and reflections during that time. First published in 1854, Walden is a heady mix of memoir, philosophy, satire, and nature writing. Although the book was initially met with small success, many later critics have praised it as an American classic that explores simplicity, harmony, and the savage beauty of nature.

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#IWSG Wednesday #8

Welcome to Insecure Writer’s Support Group day, which takes place on the first Wednesday of every month. The purpose is to share and encourage, express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak, as well as offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Make sure to check out other writers’ posts here.

The awesome co-hosts for the February IWSG are Allison Gammons, Tamara Narayan, Eva E. Solar, Rachel Pattison, and Ann V. Friend!

A Room of One’s Own

February seems a bit strange this year. It feels like a fresh start much more so than January did. Although it is still technically the middle of winter, it feels much more like spring. The snow melted some time ago; several times I have heard birdsong — the heralding of spring.

Is it too early to speak of spring? Spring after all, is a fresh start, a rebirth. Read more