When I’m traveling, I always love to bring a book to read of some kind. I love the printed page and taking a physical book is always a joy, but most of the time, the book I ended up with wasn’t quite the one that I wanted in the moment. Once I’m in a new place, I never know exactly what type of mood I’ll actually be in until I’m there. In truth, even at home I have trouble sometimes finishing a single book before starting a bit of another one. I’ll sometimes have three stories going and eventually read them all until completion. It’s not surprising, I’m sure, to anyone who reads my blog as I tend to bounce around to various topics quite a bit. So, when traveling, I mostly use my Kindle instead now so I can be assured of having just the right story for the occasion. I almost added an e-reader on top of this doodlewashed stack for authenticity, but I still prefer the look of actual books much more. While I happily embrace technology, I love to keep plenty of analog things in my life to have a bit of balance. I’m not a robot, so having lots of things to enjoy that don’t always rely on batteries is a very wonderful thing indeed. But, no matter what form a book comes in, it’s the story itself that will either win me over or send me in search of something new. The story is the most important thing after all. That wonderful intangible journey that truly sparks the imagination.

Once when I was visiting Portugal, I landed there with a book that just wasn’t suiting my fancy. In the little hotel in which we were staying, they had a common area with a bookshelf full of books. I grabbed one of those instead and started reading it. I can’t even remember the story, but do remember that it was translated from French into English. I’ve no idea which previous patron decided to leave this book here, but I was thankful that they did. We had to leave to head to a new destination and I was only a few chapters in, so I left the book that I had brought and took this one with me. Looking back, I’m not even sure why I thought this might be okay, but I assume from the eclectic collection that that’s exactly how this little library had been curated in the first place. What I loved about the story that I ended up with, was that it was one I never would have chosen. It was, instead, one that chose be by being in the right place at just the right time. That’s always the most wonderful story of all.

For me, I think it’s always best to let your heart guide you whenever possible. You can plan and prepare all you like, but in the moment of actual doing, if the plan fails to ignite your passions, then move the heck on and find something that does! A plan isn’t like a promise. It’s just guess of what should happen next. Sometimes, we guess wrong. But that should never stop us from quickly resetting that plan to include something more exciting. We about to head into another art challenge in September, celebrating all of the special days that occur in the month, and they can be interpreting in a million different ways. And if you join in this little challenge, and don’t feel inspired by a particular day in the list, simply make up your own! When we try the crazy act of making art daily, the first ingredient to success is always creating whatever moves you most. If you feel an urge to create something, by all means follow that urge and take us down that wonderful path you just discovered. Art isn’t about following a strict plan, it’s simply about doing what feels best for you by choosing the right story.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Yellow Ochre, Quinacridone Red, Bezimida Orange, Leaf Green, Terra Cotta, Ultramarine Blue and Indigo.  Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Day 30 - Stack Of Books Watercolor Finding The Right Story - Doodlewash

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23 thoughts on “Choosing The Right Story

  1. Almost all my plans tend to be – let’s get started and then decide based on what happens. I usually have a goal in mind but getting there is the fun part and it’s always more fun when go with the flow instead of trying to control everything that happens.

  2. I was a librarian until Multiple sclerosis kicked my butt. Books have been one of the most important parts of my life. Reading three at once? Go for it I say! I read almost all of my books on my Kindle now. It is easier on my hands. But I have a load of art books in print, and I love them.

    To bad you don’t remember the story of that book you stole😂😂😂! I could probably find it for you!

    1. Oh my goodness! You probably could find it! hehe 😃💕 Actually, It’s entirely possibly it’s hidden and nestled in a box of books downstairs. I think it returned home with me, but I can’t even remember now. Books are amazing and I’ve always loved them. My parents used to argue over who had to take me to the library, knowing they would be stuck there for ours trying to get me OUT of the library. 😊

  3. I share your indecisions in choosing books, and therefore love the freedom of bringing a kindle on the road. Now I have a bunch of paperbacks I want to read, but just don’t get around to. The concept of a physical book is still more charming though, as you describe. And you get the possibility to finding a book with a story both on the inside and the outside ☺

  4. Charlie, absolutely love this Doodlewash – a stack of books, waiting for me to read. And I love this post, about letting the right book choose you. Since I’ve started writing (and looking for an agent) I also know the right story has to choose you as an author, so your article speaks to me on many levels. I wish I could read faster – so many books I long to open. And that little lending library in Portugal – what a golden idea. I bet another visitor was thrilled to have found your book.

    1. Aww yay! Glad you enjoyed this post, Sharon! 😃💕 Yeah, I hope they liked my book… as well as the concept of a Lending Library which I realize now I may have just made up in the moment thinking it was what should happen. 😉 And yeah, I do think stories choose us rather than the other way around. But when they do, it’s amazing. Tell it! Share it! Publish it! It’s assured at that point that we all need to read that one!

  5. Wonderful stack of books!. Nothing quite like the feel of a book in your hands but I’ve also switched to reading on my Kindle and always have a couple of books ready to choose from often switching between them.

    1. Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, I was a hold out for awhile, but have now switched to a Kindle completely. Thankfully, unlike an iPad, there are no other distractions or alerts so it still feels more like a book! hehe

  6. I actually have a couple stacks of books just like this next to my book shelf in hopes to read some day. I love illustrated and picture books because I am just too figity to sit long enough to read a good novel. If I do, and I have on ocassion, it has to be one with few pages.

  7. I love this post. And I also love your book illustration. In fact it encouraged me to try, once again, to sketch a pile of books. I have never been very successful, but seeing yours, I realized that perhaps I try too hard and try to put in far too much detail. Your pile says so much without being over fussy. Sometimes I never know where my inspiration for the day comes from. Today it came from you and it taught me something very important. Thank you.

    1. Aww yay for that, Lin! 😃💕 I’m so happy you enjoyed this! And yes! Definitely sketch that pile of books! It’s just a matter of showing the edges…. hehe… where the covers are and where the books touch. The rest, we’ll fill in as viewers. 😉

  8. Hi Charlie!

    It was as though I wrote your blog about books. Whenever a novel failed to interest me, I’d put it down, find another with a more colorful thesis. And yet, there was that part of me, and pardon the juvenile quote here, but in the original “Never-ending Story,” Bastian is pressured by his father to “keep his feet on the ground,” and persevere, regardless of passion or interest. He finds “that book,” and after much ado, yells out when asked to rename the princess: “…I’ve got to keep my feet on the ground!” and was momentarily unable to give the princess a new name. In the end, desire won out, and he renamed the princess–his deceased mother’s name (unintelligible unfortunately). Bastian and huge pink Falcor flew out into the land of enchantment and dreams, and created new stories. (and was able to get even with those bullying boys–karma!)

    I’ve always felt guilty for not finishing what I’d started: books, art projects, closet organization, and yes, even paintings. After reading your blog, I realized that while I own a Nook E-Reader, there’s nothing more scrumptious than holding that beautiful book in your hands, smelling that lovely paper scent of what used to be a tree, and the same applies to watercolor paper. You gave me permission to put the dull book into the corner, however long it resided there. Then I pulled out paintings that needed “something.” My gorgeous Hazel Soan daffodils that need fine tuning, my ocean that needs more white caps as well as better sand.

    Can anyone on DW do a “compare/contrast” for me as pertains to unread books vs unfinished paintings? Charlie, you always write such thought-provoking blogs, today’s–akin to the preacher who speaks to his congregation as a whole, yet makes me feel it’s personal.

    Thank you once again,Charlie, for a wonderful journey through your bad book while in Portugal. It was a great visual, and has set my brain and creativity a-fire.

    Fanna Turano
    Denver, CO
    PS: Do you like your Kindle vs a hardback? Convenient and a space-saver!

    1. Oh wow! Thank you so much Fanna for that lovely comment! 😃💕 I’m thrilled that this post touched your personally. I always hope for that when I write these. As for unread books vs. unfinished paintings, I think they’re just promises waiting to be fulfilled. Books, a promise to listen to someone else’s wisdom, and art, a promise to manifest our own. (with the help of our masters, of course!). And always let that creativity burn and shine on! As for Kindle vs. hardback… convenience won out for me and I primarily only use Kindle now. In truth, I only read in bed and it’s illuminated nicely and lighter than a hardback so that’s kind of awesome.

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