The history of fictional worlds

The history of fictional worlds

In 2016, I wrote the following blog post for my history blog, The Small Histories. I was thinking about it again recently and wanted to share it here as well – book lovers will appreciate it! Also, I had to actually laugh out loud when I read “I’m not a worldbuilding sort of writer” – Oh if only the me of 2016 knew that worldbuilding would be ALL she’d do just two years later! June 27, 2016: I was about 13 years old the first time… (READ MORE)

A library clerk saves the day!

A library clerk saves the day!

February 29, 2016: A few months ago, I visited Ottawa and went on a guided tour of Centre Block (which is one of our Parliament buildings, for those unfamiliar). It was very interesting to see all of it, but my favourite was the Library of Parliament. There were many gasps from my group when we walked in, and I was definitely one of those people.

I mean, just look at it! (READ MORE)

“Freedom is the best thing” – Reading ‘Tove Jansson: Work and Love’

“Freedom is the best thing” – Reading ‘Tove Jansson: Work and Love’

Written by art historian Tuula Karjalainen, Tove Jansson: Work and Love, as the title suggests, focuses on Jansson’s life as it relates to her work and her relationships. I knew a bit about her life, and I knew that she did more than create the Moomins (I own a few of her non-Moomin books and love them dearly), but her level of dedication to her work was new to me. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be an artist. She worked at it diligently, and was prolific across many creative fields. (READ MORE)

Doris Lessing and wool-gathering

Doris Lessing and wool-gathering

I found an old post from a different blog (called “Wordscience” – not to be confused with another, more talented Samantha!), written in 2010 as I was reading the second volume of Doris Lessing’s autobiography. This excerpt has always stuck with me, and I thought it worthy to share here too: Impossible to describe a writer’s life, for the real part of it cannot be written down. How did my day go in those early days in London, in Church Street? I woke at five,… (READ MORE)

I read Big Magic.

I’d been hearing about Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic for a long time, about how wonderful and inspiring it was for creatively-driven people. I’d even heard that it was life-changing. And, I admit, when I hear something is life-changing, I tend to shy away. I have a natural distrust of things that make that claim*. However, I was talking with an artist and photographer friend of mine, who had recently read the book, and told me the exact ways in which it had helped her. I paid… (READ MORE)

Food in writing

As I wrote about last year when I read Ethan Frome, descriptions of meals in books are one of the things that really catch my attention when I’m reading. I like to imagine how all the elements of the meal work together. I read this description recently in Margaret Drabble’s The Ice Age: Sadie brought her a tray full of chicken soup and chopped liver and cold chicken and cold salmon and salad and fruit and gherkins and water biscuits… What I love about this is… (READ MORE)