Writer’s Lift Wednesday #12

This is a writersliftwednesday blog, sharing the works of fellow writers, poets and persons random. All re-blogs will be linked appropriately to their authors.

Writing is no easy calling and nothing easy was ever worth doing.

Support each other. Share and reshare.

Christina Schmidt, MA

1. “And the poet said,” by Nadine via Bloomwords

“Put your rage on the page”

…click here to continue

2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath (a review) by stoneronarollercoaster

If you are not a fan of Sylvia Plath I suggest you skip this one.

In few words this book is only novel, a semi-biography written by Sylvia Plath and basically a narration of her downward spiral, covering her suicide attempts and hospitalization.

If you know anything about her life and her writing, it’s going to be of great interest to you because you will be able to connect dots easily.

But honestly, if this is the first time you are reading this name, or you are in pleasant phase of your life you might through this book on the nearest wall just after few pages.

Everyone told me not to read it, because it’s depressing. For my folks it looks like an act of self-immolation.

But I told them it’s validating and empowering to me.

Sylvia held my hand and took me on a tour of her life that must have looked normal to a passerby (only initially) but silently slipped into the rabbit hole deeper and deeper.

At one point she wrote,

“it felt dark and safe under there, but the mattress wasn’t heavy enough. I needed about a ton of more weight to make me sleep”

That suddenly reminded me of my own words. During a late night phone call, with one of my most patient friends, I said,

“i feel like a paper at times, I want someone to put paper weights on my hands and feet so that I don’t fly away”

This phenomena is common with people who live with anxiety.

The whole book is quite accurate depiction of mental health struggles.

Constant self-loathing, a feeling of emptiness, loss of ability to feel joy.

One moment you feel you are ok, next you don’t want to live.

In her own words,

“To the person in the bell jar, blank and stopped as a dead baby. The world itself is a bad dream.”

The deeper you descend into the book, the more you admire the accuracy of its title.

It’s brilliantly written, the analogies will make change your perspective forever.

And it’s brutally honest.

She didn’t hold back for a moment, even if it would place her in the bad light.

I have read, marked, etched few lines in my mind.

Whenever I feel I lack words to express my pain, I will pick The bell Jar and open a random page to freshen my wounds.

3. Book Review: The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag via There’s Something About KM

The Sisters Grimm will be published on March 31st, 2020. I received an eARC from the publisher, but as always, all thoughts are my own.

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

Unfortunately The Sisters Grimm is the latest addition to my list of books I’ve chosen not to finish. I put the book down just before the halfway mark, which felt generous on my part as the reader.

For readers, like myself, who looked forward to seeing the connection between this tale and the Grimm brothers (or at the very least, fairy tales in general), the disappointment will be hard to swallow. Wilhelm Grimm does play a part, but it seems more like the author needed a name for his minor character, rather than really wanting to make Wilhelm Grimm be part of the story.

There are some subtle nods to fairy tales, like a warning to stick to the rightful path and ignore shadows and lurking creatures (a common folkloric theme), and mothers or mother figures who are a little unclear or shady about their intentions. With Grimm in the title, though, I expected more than possible nods.

Fairy tales aside, the elemental magic and impending supernatural battle components did feed my curiosity and held my interest, for a little while. However, I think the writing style and even the characters got in the way of this book reaching its full potential.

The chapters are broken up by character, so the reader gets to see inside each person’s head. Everwhere also gets its own chapters, and it is in those especially that the tone borders on that of a classroom lecture. Descriptions were both complete yet dull; if there was ever a great example for why writers should show and not tell, it is this. The writing felt too matter-of-fact, and not lively enough for me to be able to soak in each word, sentence, and paragraph. I wanted to feel like I was in Everwhere, or right beside the characters. Instead I felt like I was gathering facts to be quizzed on at a later date.

The characters and plot are quite intertwined, which unfortunately meant they were hindered by each other. Even with the seemingly tidy breakdown of chapters, the plot felt disorganized and far too dragged out, and not enough tension was coming from the impending challenge(s). More focus was put on romantic tension and ordinary family life, which would have been fine, if the synopsis had not promised such extraordinary circumstances and the writing had more life. I wanted to see Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea realize their potential, but it was just taking far too long to get there.