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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

A Writer's Moment: Setting Your Writing Routine

A Writer's Moment: Setting Your Writing Routine: “I needed to find my way to write. I need about six hours of uninterrupted time in order to produce about two hours of...

Setting Your Writing Routine


“I needed to find my way to write. I need about six hours of uninterrupted time in order to produce about two hours of writing, and when I accepted that and found the way to do it, then I was able to write.” – Robert B. Parker

Born in Springfield, MA on this date in 1932, Parker intended to teach for a living.  And, he was well into an English Lit career at Northeastern University (where he became a full professor) before switching to writing when his novels about a detective named “Spenser” hit the bestseller lists.  Ultimately, he would write 41 books about the private eye.  His writing about Spenser is often credited with changing the style and face of the crime-writing genre.  

Parker loved Boston and the Boston area (the setting for Spenser books) and walked the streets, learned the vernacular of its various districts, and studied policing there. “There can never be any substitute for your own palate nor any better education than tasting the wine yourself,” he said. 
                                    Spenser also became a popular TV series “Spenser for Hire,” but more recently it’s his “Jesse Stone” television series that have brought Parker a whole new audience for his writing. 

His advise for new writers is simple:   “If you want to write, write it. That's the first rule. And send it in, and send it in to someone who can publish it or get it published. Don't send it to me. Don't show it to your spouse, or your significant other, or your parents, or somebody. They're not going to publish it.”



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Sunday, September 15, 2019

A Writer's Moment: Books That 'Have Emotion At Their Heart'

A Writer's Moment: Books That 'Have Emotion At Their Heart': “The best novels are those that are important without being like medicine; they have something to say, are expansive a...

Books That 'Have Emotion At Their Heart'


“The best novels are those that are important without being like medicine; they have something to say, are expansive and intelligent but never forget to be entertaining and to have character and emotion at their heart." -- Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie, who was born in Nigeria on this date in 1977, has not only been published in the world’s leading English language publications, but also been translated into more than 30 languages. 

Winner of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (also known as “The Genius Grant”), she is the author of the award-winning novels Purple Hibiscus, Half of a Yellow Sun, and Americanah, plus numerous short stories and nonfiction that has won many of the world’s leading writing prizes.  Among those are the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, The Reader’s Digest Author of the Year, and a PEN Pinter Prize. 
                                        “I am drawn, as a reader, to detail-drenched stories about human lives affected as much by the internal as by the external,” she said.  “(It’s what) Jane Smiley nicely describes as 'first and foremost about how individuals fit, or don't fit, into their social worlds.’”




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Saturday, September 14, 2019

A Writer's Moment: We All Use Language 'Poetically'

A Writer's Moment: We All Use Language 'Poetically': “Everyone is not able, or inclined, to write poetry in the narrower sense any more than everyone is qualified to take ...

We All Use Language 'Poetically'


“Everyone is not able, or inclined, to write poetry in the narrower sense any more than everyone is qualified to take part in a walking race. But just as all of us can and do walk, so all of us can and do use language poetically.” – Louis MacNeice

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on this date in 1907, MacNeice was a popular poet and playwright in his relatively short lifetime (he died at age 55).  He authored 22 books of poetry, a dozen plays, 2 novels and several non-fiction books, including a highly regarded book of criticism Varieties of Parable (published posthumously).     His autobiographical long poem Autumn Journal – written to record his state of mind from time immersed in the Spanish Civil War and his belief that another World War was inevitable – is considered his poetic masterpiece.    

 For Saturday’s Poem, here is MacNeice’s,

Sunlight On The Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold;
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.




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Friday, September 13, 2019