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Monday, January 18, 2021

A Writer's Moment: Finding a 'Sense of Wonder'

A Writer's Moment: Finding a 'Sense of Wonder': “I've read up on magic, and I think it sets you free, and it gives you hope. You can explore worlds you didn't know existed. It stre...

Finding a 'Sense of Wonder'

“I've read up on magic, and I think it sets you free, and it gives you hope. You can explore worlds you didn't know existed. It stretches your imagination, and I like my own imagination to be stretched and also the children I'm telling the story to. It gives you a sense of wonder.” – Jenny Nimmo

 

British author Jenny Nimmo, born Jan. 15, 1944 has stretched kids’ imagination for 60 years, writing dozens of fantasy and magical adventure books for children.   Her two major series of fantasy novels:  The Magician Trilogy and Children of the Red King are her best-known (and award-winning) books that have earned her loyal readers around the globe.  The latter series has now been published in 9 languages.         

                                      Nimmo has lived in Wales for most of her writing life, and many of her books are based in Welsh myth.  An only child, her father died when she was 5 and she escaped her grief by becoming first a voracious reader and then a devoted writer.   Writing first for herself, she soon realized she had the talent to also entertain others with her words, and she’s been doing so since age 15.

 

She said she gravitated toward writing fantasy because she always thought a magical world would be, for most kids, a special place to think about visiting.   “Every book that you pick up takes you a step away from your real world,” she said, “but if you read a book about magic, it takes you an extra two steps.”

 



 

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

A Writer's Moment: Everything 'In Her Range'

A Writer's Moment: Everything 'In Her Range':   “To note an artist’s limitations is but to define her talent.   A reporter can write equally well about everything that is presented to he...

Everything 'In Her Range'

 “To note an artist’s limitations is but to define her talent.  A reporter can write equally well about everything that is presented to her view, but a creative writer can do her best only with what lies within the range and character of her deepest sympathies.” – Willa Cather


Born in Virginia but raised on the prairies of Nebraska, Willa Cather always said her writing was greatly affected by her “growing up years” and the vastness of the prairieland that surrounded her – experiences she used extensively in her novels and short stories.

 

And, when she compares reporting to creative writing, she also knows of what she speaks.  She started writing as a reporter for the Nebraska State Journal and then did a stint on the magazine Home Monthly before serving as drama critic and telegraph editor for the Pittsburgh (Pa.) Leader.  After moving on to McClure’s in New York City, she got serious about her creative writing and in the 19-teens did her famous “Prairie Trilogy” of O Pioneers!, Song of the Lark, and My Antonia, some of the best realism written about the life and blend of people on the Great Plains.

 

In the 1920s she won the Pulitzer Prize for One of Ours, and then wrote what I’ve always thought was one of her best, Death Comes for the Archbishop. 

"Writing,” Cather said, “ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand – a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods – or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values."

 

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Saturday, January 16, 2021

A Writer's Moment: Celebrating Hope and Spirit

A Writer's Moment: Celebrating Hope and Spirit:   “Shatter the icons of slavery and fear.   Replace the leer of the minstrel's burnt-cork face with a proud, serene and classic bron...

Celebrating Hope and Spirit

 “Shatter the icons of slavery and fear.  Replace the leer of the minstrel's burnt-cork face with a proud, serene and classic bronze of Benin.”Dudley Randall

 

Born in Washington, DC, on Jan. 14, 1914, Randall wrote his first poem at age 4 and had his first poem published when he was 13.  A World War II veteran, he earned a BA in English from Wayne University (now Wayne State University) and a MA in library science from the University of Michigan after the war and became a noted librarian and translator of Russian poetry.  Recipient of numerous writing awards, he was named Detroit’s first Poet Laureate in 1981.  For Saturday’s Poem, here is Randall’s,

 

 

On Getting A Natural (For Gwendolyn Brooks)

 

She didn't know she was beautiful,
though her smiles were dawn,
her voice was bells,
and her skin deep velvet Night.


She didn't know she was beautiful,
although her deeds,
kind, generous, unobtrusive,
gave hope to some,
and help to others,
and inspiration to us all. And
beauty is as beauty does,
they say.

Then one day there blossomed
a crown upon her head,
bushy, bouffant, real Afro-down,
Queen Nefertiti again.
And now her regal woolly crown
declares,
I know
I'm black
AND
beautiful.

 

 

 

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Friday, January 15, 2021

A Writer's Moment: First, 'Make It Amusing'

A Writer's Moment: First, 'Make It Amusing':   All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great...