Tag: personal growth

Walking to Listen, by Andrew Forsthoefel

Walking to Listen
Image belongs to Bloomsbury USA.

 

After he graduated from college, Andrew Forsthoefel decided to walk across America, really listening to what the people he met had to say. Walking to Listen is the tale of that journey.

Andrew Forsthoefel went out the door of his home in Pennsylvania with a backpack and a sign that read “Walking to Listen.” He’d just graduated college and was ready to start his adult life…but he didn’t know how. So, he decided to walk across America, wrestling with the hard questions he asked himself every day. Everyone he met would be his guide.

From winter in Appalachia to Death Valley in August, Andrew experienced the true breadth of American geography, but it was the people he met that truly inspired him. He met kindness and fear, diversity and prejudice as people told him their stories. He faced loneliness and fear, but love and hope carried him through his amazing journey.

Walking to Listen is the story of one man on an incredible journey, but it is more than that. The people he meets, the encounters he has are truly inspiring and bring hope for the future amidst the darkness permeating our culture. This book…sure, it’s narrative nonfiction about a journey, but it is so much more than that. The people Andrew met gave me so much hope, and made me want to reach for more. Not only does this book showcase the true diversity of this nation, but it gives a face to the human experience. I highly recommend reading this.

(Galley provided by Bloomsbury USA via NetGalley.)

Perfection is Overrated

I just found myself writing a discussion board post for one of my classes about my experience in writing. How do you encapsulate 10+ years of experiences into 200-300 words?  Badly and inadequately, probably.

I’ve been writing for over 10 years. Some days, it feels like I’m getting nowhere. Some days, when I can’t find the time or the energy to write, I am getting nowhere. But when I think of how far I’ve come, of how much I’ve learned and improved over that time, I realize that I am actually making progress. No, I’m not published (yet), but I’m improving and growing as a writer, and that’s really something.

When I started, I seriously thought I’d never have another story idea in my life. Now, with 10-12 complete (first draft) manuscripts, and at least that many more story ideas, this thought makes me laugh. Of course I’ll have more story ideas! My technique has improved by leaps and bounds (Thank you, fellow Silver Griffins!). I no longer write fiction with the equivalent of a kindergartener’s ability. I can recognize other writers’  tricks of the trade. My voice is developed, and I know where my strengths are. But I have a lot left to learn.

I’m not perfect, but I’m better. And I will continue to improve.

The (Changing) Habits of Readers

Okay, I admit it.  I love to read fiction.  Especially fantasy.  Bonus enjoyability points if it’s YA fantasy.  I’ve read predominantly fantasy for years now, with a few forays out into mysteries, forensic thrillers, and humor (Stephanie Plum, anyone?).  I normally read several books at a time, with one “main” book that I pick up whenever I have a spare moment.  Normally, these are all fiction.

But lately, my TBR pile has moved into uncharted territory for me:  non-fiction.  Exclusively non-fiction.  What?  That’s what I thought, too.  Now, instead of the latest fantasy gem to catch my eye, I’m reading–and eagerly awaiting reading–books like The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, Pandora’s Seed, and The First Human.  Granted, The First Human is reading for my anthropology class, but I’m really enjoying it and am finding it quite interesting.  Pandora’s Seed also started off as reading for my evolution and ecology class–last semester–but it’s pretty interesting as well, and ties into my latest personal research into environmental issues.  The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food are both about topics that I find very relevant of late, as I focus more on my health and eating healthier in general.  Both gave me a lot of–excuse the pun–food for thought, and gave me more focus on how I spend my food dollars, and the statement I want to make with them.

I’ve also been doing more spirit-based reading, including The Blessed Life, by Pastor Robert Morris (pastor at my church, Gateway Church, and a phenomenally gifted speaker).  Up next are the Divine Revelation books, and some more spirit-based reading.

Basically, I’ve found that my reading habits have changed lately, more closely tying in to the personal growth areas I’m working on.  Instead of reading for sheer entertainment, now I seem to be drawn to books that will help me grow.

Does anyone else find that their reading habits change over time, or in certain situations?