Category Archives: Writing

Letters Across the Sea Book Review

War has a way to pulling us apartment, forcing us to see someone else as “the other”. It can also bring us together and remind us of our common humanity.

Letters Across the Sea, by Genevieve Graham, was published earlier this year. In Toronto in the summer of 1933, Hannah Dreyfus and Molly Ryan are best friends. Both the grandchildren of immigrants (Eastern European Jews and Irish Catholic respectively), they are friends in a time in which antisemitism is rising in their hometown. Though Molly only sees her BFF and has a crush on Max, Hannah’s big brother, other people are not so tolerant of their differences. Things come to a boil in August during the Christie Pits riot, forcing Hannah and Molly to go their separate ways.

Six years later, World War II is on the horizon. After years of toiling at any job she could get, Molly has finally gotten her dream job as a journalist. Men from across the country have enlisted. Among them are Max and Molly’s brothers. When the letters from the soldiers start to arrive, Molly must contend with the past and the unspoken truth that has been buried since that night in 1933.

This book is amazing. Graham’s eye for the historical facts while creating a fictional world is top notch. I was fully invested in the story, hoping that Molly and Max would get together while praying that the male characters would come home. It was a history lesson in the best way, learning about this time in Canadian history without feeling like the reader is sitting in a university lecture hall.

Do I recommend it? Absolutely.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Writing

Celebrating Jane Austen on the 204 Anniversary of her Passing

Today is the 204 anniversary of the passing of Jane Austen. To say that she was extraordinary in her time and ours is and will always be an understatement. Though her physical remains are long gone, her name and her work will last forever.

Z”L.

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Filed under Books, Emma, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, Writing

Jane Austen: Writing, Society, Politics Book Review

Art does not come from nothing. It comes from the world around us and the experiences that have shaped our lives.

Jane Austen: Writing, Society, Politics by Tom Keymer, was published last year. In the book, Keymer walks the reader through the Regency era and how that world had a hand in developing her voice as a writer. He goes into the politics of the period, the complete disenfranchisement of women, and how a strict, but slowly fading class system played a role in her work.

I loved it. It was short, concise, and a reminder as to why Austen’s work continues to be timeless and universal. I will say, however, that it is aimed at two specific and different groups of readers. The book can be read in an academic setting, but it is neither dry nor stuffy. It also squarely falls into the Janeite camp. My one warning is that to truly enjoy it, the reader should be well versed in her life and work. Otherwise, they may not understand the nuances and the details that a long-time Jane Austen fan can easily identify.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

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Filed under Book Review, Books, Feminism, History, Jane Austen, Politics, Writing

How to Write a Blog Post

  1. Just start writing. The only way to to get the juices flowing is to turn on the faucet. A shitty first draft is better than no draft at all.
  2. Be you. The best way to gain to new readers is to write as only you can. Your unique voice and your cumulative experiences creates a perspective that only you have.
  3. Don’t be afraid of writing about controversial topics. Your opinion as important and valuable as anyone else’s.
  4. Be flexible. One of the things I have learned over the years is that the way to improve my own blogging is being open to different formats and subjects as I go along.
  5. Be creative. If you have an idea for a blog post or a topic to write about, go for it.
  6. Use WordPress to the fullest. The range of tools we have is awe inspiring.
  7. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. We can only improve our writing if we actually write.
  8. Have fun. Writing is fun, even when it feels like work. I don’t know about you, but I always feel better knowing that I have gotten my thoughts onto the page.

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6 Ways Journaling Improves Your Mental Health — Feed Your Curious Mind

You have probably heard the advice to keep a journal numerous times before, but somehow you have never started doing it. Or perhaps you started, but the habit did not stick. Journaling involves writing down your innermost thoughts and feelings in a notebook, phone note app, or on your computer to understand them more clearly. […]

6 Ways Journaling Improves Your Mental Health — Feed Your Curious Mind

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6 Easy Steps To Write An Awesome Blog Post (With Practical Tips) — Ravenful | Designed By Creativity

Writing a blog post is a great way to share your inspiration to others or discuss a certain topic with public. Whether you’re planning to write your first blog post or you wish to write more engaging content you need to follow the right steps to get there. With millions of bloggers creating content every […]

6 Easy Steps To Write An Awesome Blog Post (With Practical Tips) — Ravenful | Designed By Creativity

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The Worst Part of Depression is Exhaustion

There is no part of depression that is cheerful or pleasant. It is debilitating, physically and mentally. Whatever joy or pleasure you take from life, it destroys, leaving emptiness and darkness in their places.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

The worst part is the complete and utter exhaustion.

I can do everything right and it never feels like I never get enough sleep. Eat right, limiting caffeine intake, try to keep a regular sleep schedule, work out regularly, etc. Nothing works. At this point, crashing into my couch and napping for 3ish hours on top of the sleep I get a night is normal. It used to be that if I took anything more than a catnap, getting a good night’s sleep would have been difficult. But not recently.

The worst part is the loss of precious writing time I lose almost daily. Writing is my release from the day and the sometimes difficult aspects of my job. Instead of turning on my computer and doing the thing I love to do, I lay down after work and before I know it, its dinner time. I may get some of my work done, but not as much as I would have, had I not felt like I had no energy.

So yeah, depression sucks.

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Contributing Writers Sought

COVID-19 Wall of Memories, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization which runs a website of the same name, is seeking contributing writers for its news page.  Our website memorializes victims of COVID-19 and shares news and perspective on the disease and its impact on the U.S. We are looking for writers with an interest in exploring the cultural, personal, and social impact of the illness. We are especially interested in diverse voices.

Candidates should email a brief bio and two writing samples, published or unpublished, to rnasrullah@covid19wallofmemories.org. Please email any questions to this address as well. We accept pitches year-round.

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Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare

When it comes to famous writers, there are only a few who are universally loved and worshipped. At the top of this list is William Shakespeare. Today is his birthday. I could list why he is one of the greatest writers in human history, but I will let the work speak for itself.

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Filed under History, William Shakespeare, Writing

Can We Talk About the Ending of Behind Her Eyes?

Warning: This post contains spoilers about the Netflix series, Behind Her Eyes. Read at your own risk if you have not seen it in full.

The mingling of genres takes a skilled writer. There are two equally important aspects of being able to accomplish this successfully. The first is choosing the right genres. The second is making sure that each of them is given their due while ensuring that they come together at the right moment in the narrative.

One of the newest Netflix series is Behind Her Eyes. It tells the story of a twisted love triangle with Louise (Simona Brown) at the center. At one end is her new friend Adele (Eve Hewson). At the other end is Adele’s husband, David (Tom Bateman), who is Louise’s boss and new lover. It is part psychological thriller, part jealous spouse, and just a little bit of science fiction/fantasy to make it very interesting.

My jaw dropped by the time the credits rolled after the final episode.

I loved the inclusion of Adele’s ability to use astral projection to leave her body. I don’t read or watch many psychological thrillers, but as I understand it, this particular story thread is not often used in this genre. But that is not the twist. The twist comes from Adele’s friend, Rob (Robert Aramayo). He is the master manipulator who is so under the radar that it is impossible to see the ending coming.

Kudos to the author and the screenwriter. If only every story was as good as Behind Her Eyes.

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Filed under Books, Netflix, Television, Writing