Friday, June 19, 2015

"Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper" by SARK

Last month at the book store, I went looking for a book to give our oldest niece, who will turn 13 this summer.  She likes to write, and I wanted something to encourage her in that pursuit.  I thought this might be just the book, all bright and friendly and cheerful.  So I bought it but, being a prudent aunt, I thought I'd better read through it first, to make sure it would be appropriate for her.  Which, it turns out, it kind of isn't -- I may just hang onto this for her until she's like 16, if she's still into writing then.

Now, if you're a writer who isn't going to be shocked by the use of the word "vibrator" in the introduction (no descriptions of what it's used for) and the inclusion of an amateur drawing of a partially-topless woman much farther in (drawn by a guest contributor, not by SARK), then you might really like this book.  It's vibrant and playful, and most definitely encouraging.  I'm on the verge of beginning a new short story, and this helped me gain enthusiasm to be bold and truly begin it, not keep putting it off.

I really dug SARK's quirky, almost child-like style, with every page hand-written and hand-drawn.  This is from my favorite page in this book:

I need to print that out and paste it above my writing space.  Too often, I feel like I need to wait until everything is perfect before I write (I'm talking about fiction here, not blogging -- I blog in stolen moments throughout the day, which SARK calls "micro-movement"), but for first drafts especially, I need to concentrate on getting the story down on paper and not worry so much about whether I'm wasting time or doing "valuable" writing.

SARK's advice is a little more touchy-feely than some might appreciate, and gets a little humanistic in places ("good is within everyone," "everyone is capable of creativity," that sort of thing).  But if you want a jolt of creative juiciness, you might want to try this out.

If This Was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  PG-13 for the aforementioned inclusion of the word "vibrator" and a non-salacious sketch of a semi-nude woman, and also for non-detailed references to a child being abused.


  1. Maybe you could get your niece one of those Wreck This Journal books? Or just a book of writing prompts? We have some of those in the educational section of my bookstore for teachers and tutors to use, but they're fun exercises.

    1. Oooh, I hadn't thought of the Wreck This Journal books. Those do look fun -- thanks! I did look at some books of writing prompts, but... prompts always feel like homework to me, and I wanted something more energizing and encouraging. I think I'm going to re-read Austin Kleon's "Steal Like an Artist" and see if that will be appropriate. I don't remember it not being appropriate, but it's been a while since I read it.

    2. No problem! I love things that encourage more creativity like that. Here's an idea, too--you could make a photo book with a random picture on one page and lines on the opposite page! The picture would serve as a prompt of sorts but could leave more to interpretation. She wouldn't necessarily have to write about the picture, just to glean inspiration from it. :) I'm just throwing things out there as I think of them.

    3. You know, if all else fails, I might just write my own book for her. That would be great fun! I did poke around a bit on Amazon today, though, and found some prospects. We'll see! Thanks for the suggestions :-)


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