Can I Ask You A Question?

Question:

What is your favorite topic that I write about on Illuminated Literation?

  1. Book Reviews
  2. Personal Essays
  3. Poetry
  4. My Journey As A Writer
  5. Picture Pick FriYAY

I’m curious to see what readers find valuable/interesting/entertaining. If you would leave a comment below (it can be as brief or as detailed as you like) just stating what your favorite topic is on Illuminated Literation, I would greatly appreciate it.

In return, if you have a specific question about your blog, I would be happy to return the favor. Please post your question in the comment field along with your answer.

Thank you so much readers.

Love and Cheers,

Rachel McKee

 

Airport Art: Taijitu

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Airport Art: Taijitu

The black horse falls,

in a twisting stand-still motion.

Miniature men holding strong,

with ropes of desperation.

The white horse climbs,

up the bodies of small men.

Struggling past the black horse,

a battle locked in time.

Neither the victor,

stuck in limbo.

The power is balanced.

I wrote this poem when I was eighteen or nineteen years old. I was sitting in the airport waiting to board my plane to Massachusetts. I was writing a story for an English class when I noticed a painting on the wall. I flipped to a blank page in my notebook and started jotting down a poem to describe the painting. There were two horses, one black, and one white. The two horses were much larger than the men that were trying to catch the black horse as he fell, and the men who were trying to restrain the white horse as he climbed upward. I can still picture ever detail ten years later. The painting was vividly violent, but a beautiful display of power and struggle.

I’ve tried to find the painting over the years with no such luck.

-Rachel McKee

Cover Image Found Here.

Horse Image Found Here.

Three Reasons To Read Invincible Louisa

 

Invincible Louisa

 

Biography tracing the fascinating life of Louisa May Alcott from her happy childhood in Pennsylvania and Boston to her success as a writer of such classics as Little women.

Inspiration

I just finished reading Invincible Louisa by Cornelia Meigs. It was waiting patiently on my bookshelf for over a decade. Do you ever feel like certain books fall into your hands when you need them most?  I have been struggling with writing my own YA novel, fighting through some serious writer’s block, and questioning my writing endeavor. Then one day, after the library was closed, I pulled Invincible Louisa off of the shelf and started to read. Louisa May Alcott was an incredible young woman who was bursting with life, love, courage, and imagination. Her story was a whisper of understanding that I didn’t realize I needed to hear. Her life was full of ups and downs. Small tastes of success and a vast amount of disappointment, but through it all she maintained her enthusiasm for art and life. I needed a reminder that every writer has their own struggle with the craft, I would never compare my amateur writing to Alcott’s, but we all have to start somewhere, and sometimes it’s nice to hear that even literary masters had to shape, mold, and master their work over time. Meigs wrote, “Long after, she [Louisa] once said of herself that disappointment must be good for her, she got much of it. She learned to meet it bravely, although often she felt at first a hot wave of revolt.” Many writers struggle to persevere after the rejection letters pour in, but I think Alcott’s story proves that you must write for yourself first, and publishers second. Write because you can’t control your fingers as thoughts overflow your mind, and you feel you might burst if you can’t document your ideas.

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History

Anyone who is a literary enthusiast would find the history of Alcott’s life incredibly fascinating. Bronson Alcott, Louisa’s father, was a figurehead of transcendentalism and public education. Meigs wrote of Bronson that, “Bronson had theories so far advanced of his time that even in our day we have not caught up with all of them [written in 1933, 70 years later].” His colleagues and friends were some of the greatest American writers of all time. Louisa’s small feet walked the halls of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s house and later he became a mentor to her. Through her father, Louisa met William Lloyd Garrison, Henry David Thoreau, and Nathaniel Hawthorne. There are yet more distinguished people of American history within Alcott’s life, but I will let you discover those hidden gems.

Eloquence

Meigs’ novel, Invincible Louisa, is as memorable as Little Women. Written in 1933, it has that yummy, rich, impeccable use of the English language that makes me swoon. For example, Meigs describes Alcott’s success as such, “Fame during a lifetime is something to win; but fame and affection which are to last a hundred years are seldom earned.” Isn’t that a lovely way of saying, she was famous and loved and will be for generations to come?

I think the task of writing about one of America’s most beloved female authors must have been extremely daunting, but Meigs wrote Invicible Louisa as if she were a member of the Alcott-May family and expereinced their joy and tragedy alongside them. Through Meigs research and attention to detail, we gain a glimpse into the life of one of the most influential writers for young adults that has ever lived. The history within Invincible Louisa is textbook-worthy, but written with the style and warmth of a favorite novel.

I highly reccomend Invincible Louisa, especially if you are a writer yourself, are interested in the evolution of American writing, or both.

Happy Reading.

Rachel McKee

 

 

Picture Pick FriYAY: Lake Tahoe, Ca

Picture Pick Friday is all about Lake Tahoe, California. We visited my brother, sister-in-law, and niece two years ago for the 4th of July. They were living in Petaluma, California at the time, but had friends who had a cabin in Lake Tahoe.  We had a total blast exploring Tahoe. This was my first visit to Tahoe and it lived up to its beautiful reputation.

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Happy FriYAY!

-Rachel McKee

ALL IMAGES ARE COURTESY OF ©MILESMCKEEPHOTOGRAPHY

 

In Support of Indie Authors

Raise your hand if you have never read a self-published book. Yep, my hand is in the air.

When adding to my reading repertoire I typically go for whatever is free convenient. (My library card has a lot of miles on it.). But now that I am writing my own YA novel, I begin to understand how difficult it is to be noticed by a literary agent, let alone a publishing house. There is a very real chance that I will end up self-publishing and honestly, that situation seems pretty bleak. Self-publishing feels like sending my novel to the grave and the publishing fees I accumulate will be money spent at its wake. My goal is to shed some light or “illuminate” a few self-published books that may not be getting the attention they deserve.

I’ve always been a huge fan of supporting small businesses, and writing a book is an entrepreneurship. If I am buying my duds from a boutique second-hand shop down the street, I can probably spend a little money on Amazon to buy a self-published book. Sometimes indie authors will GIVE YOU their book just to gain some exposure.

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I am going to add a few indie authors to my book review rotation on Illuminated Literation. In the cruel, cold, world of publishing, authors need help. They pour blood, sweat, and beer into their manuscripts and damn it, their words deserve to be read. Also, I hope karma does me a good turn and people will read my book one day.

Okay, I sheathed my crusade sword.

Do you have a book that you self-published? Have you read a self-published book that you recommend? Please comment below and let me know the title, author, and where it’s available.

Fiercely yours,

Rachel McKee

Cover Image Found at Support Indie Authors Blog Spot.

Is Being a “Good” Girl Hurting Your Career? Why “Bad” Girls Become Best-Sellers

I NEEDED to hear this.

Kristen Lamb's Blog

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Today is a repost because of a death in the family last week. But you know what? Life moves on.  I chose this post because we all need a good kick in the ass now and again, even ME.

It was a FUN post and a good way to get my moxie back….because seriously my moxie got kicked in the face last week. I am sure NONE of you have been there. Feeling like a failure, like nothing you do matters?

Well, get over it. We are going to have a hell raising Monday!

Last fall I read Kate White’s I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: Success Secrets Every Gutsy Girl Should Know. There are bad books, okay books, good books and great books. But there is another kind of book and it’s the rarest.

The game-changer.

White has a witty, sassy style. She is seamlessly intelligent and down-to-earth in…

View original post 3,112 more words

#AmWriting

I have been focusing on my YA novel and the characters are starting to feel authentic, so that’s very encouraging. I’m trying to get the first draft written without beating it up too much with my grammar hammer.

I have been using Twitter more and I’m having fun meeting other writers there (hence the hashtag name for this post). I have also been learning Photoshop (see cover image above).

The cover image is a quote from my YA novel. I’ve been wanting to create images with text for a long time so for the last few weeks I have been experimenting with Photoshop and I’m learning a lot. I have experienced a lot of trial and error, but that’s all part of it right?

So if you are wondering what little ol’ me has been up to, well that’s about it. Other than throwing first birthdays, chasing a one year old, wrangling a dog, appeasing a cat, and attending a wedding.

Have a fantastic week!

♥R♥

 

Picture Pick FriYAY: San Francisco, Ca

Notice that I changed the title from Pic Pick Friyay to Picture Pick FriYAY? I had a couple people comment that the first title was confusing and looked like a typo, so hopefully the new title is better. (Thank you for the feedback!)

Anyway…

This week’s Picture Pick FriYAY is all about San Francisco. We visited San Fran when we went to Petaluma California for my brother’s wedding. San Francisco is a wonderful city, one that I would like to explore more some day. These pictures were taken in September, 2012.

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Happy FriYAY!

♥R♥

ALL IMAGES ARE ©MILESMCKEEPHOTOGRAPHY

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