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Tag Archives: writing

The Road Taken

road in fallThis is a road in Maine (photographer unknown) – no Photoshopping is required in this spectacular season.

Here is a fall poem by two-time U.S. Poet Laureate Howard Nemerov (1920-1991) who wrote sophisticated “form” poetry almost exclusively. He also said, “Write what you know.  That should leave you with a lot of free time.”

Absent-Minded Professor

This lonely figure of not much fun

Strayed out of folklore fifteen years ago

Forever.  Now on an autumn afternoon,

While the leaves drift past the office window,

His bright replacement, present-minded, stays

At the desk correcting papers, nor even grieves

For the silly scholar of the bad old days,

who’d burn the papers and correct the leaves.



A list: books about writers/writing

book and yellow cat

I’ve always been a list maker and love lists – especially of books. It’s one of the best things about amazon (which has some negative aspects – a subject for a different blog entry) and sites like Goodreads. No matter how eclectic your subject, you can find reading lists put together by other people – some of them smart, some quirky, some plain crazy.

Today I’m going to list some interesting books I’ve read and enjoyed about writers, writing or books. I know the list is all over the place. I’d love to hear suggestions of your own in the comments. Here are twelve.

Death In Venice
Enderby’s End
Fear of Flying
The Golden Notebook
Angle of Repose
A Widow For One Year
The Sportswriter
The Shadow of the Wind
Fahrenheit 451
The Kite Runner
That Old Cape Magic

The pleasures of fall – and the endurance of books

The pleasures of fall – and the endurance of books.

Remember what made you happy…

beach library
London book benches

Advice I came across years ago that I find useful: think back to what made you happy as a child, say eight years old. When you feel overwhelmed by grownup obligations, these memories can help you focus on simple pleasures you may be neglecting that feed your soul.

My eight-year-old self loved books, animals, smart friends, the ocean, holidays of all kinds, writing and drawing, including making little illustrated books for my family. No surprise that I live on the coast of Maine, an animal lover, avid reader, writer and yes, publisher of books for the fun of it, not for profit. I still love holidays and playing with like-minded friends. If too much of what you were drawn to and made you happy as a child is missing from your busy adult life, perhaps you can find those uncomplicated pleasures again and be nourished by them.

On the theme of books and their importance: here’s a beach library, and examples from a clever project in London where bus stop benches are decorated as famous books.

The power of writing on paper

Posted on

hand writing

greeting cards

Recently a friend posted on Facebook about getting a handwritten thank you card and how rare that is. I love getting snail mail. I may well end up being the last person in my group of friends and family to send out paper Christmas cards. I also love writing accessories–pens, stamps, stickers, and address labels. I read an article the other day stating that one of the things you can give up in your 50s to gain freedom is sending out Christmas cards; the writer opined firmly, “No one really wants them any more” – I disagree. I saw another article declaring that cursive handwriting is a dead, unneeded skill. I hope it isn’t true!

I like Facebook, for the ubiquitous pet pictures and photos of my friends, their grandkids, vacations, etc. And of course e-books are great; the excellent writer Margaret Drabble recently wrote an article in praise of them (5/23 Guardian). But paper books and paper cards are never going out of style as far as I’m concerned. An e-birthday card or greeting is better than none, of course, but don’t you love opening an envelope hand-addressed to you by someone who took the time to choose a card and send it?