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Saturday, May 8, 2021

A Writer's Moment: 'Squeeze Each Word'

A Writer's Moment: 'Squeeze Each Word':   “What is more important in a library than anything else - than everything else - is the fact that it exists.” – Archibald MacLeish   ...

'Squeeze Each Word'

 “What is more important in a library than anything else - than everything else - is the fact that it exists.” – Archibald MacLeish

 

MacLeish, one of the so-called “Lost Generation” of writers and artists who made Paris their home in the 1920s, grew out of a rebellious writer into who  American Libraries called,  “One of the hundred most influential figures in librarianship during the 20th century,” working tirelessly to promote the arts, culture, and libraries.    MacLeish became the first Librarian of Congress to begin the process to name what would ultimately become the position of U.S. Poet Laureate, a position he himself easily could have fulfilled.   Associating himself with the Modernist school, he wrote so eloquently and powerfully that he ended up with dozens of prizes including two Pulitzers for Poetry and another for Drama.  His dramatic winner, the Broadway play J.B. – a modern day re-telling of the Book of Job – also won a Tony as Best Drama.

“Poets,” MacLeish said, “are literal-minded men who will squeeze a word till it hurts.”  From “Ars Poetics,” written to show how he himself viewed poetry, here is Saturday's Poem.

A poem should be motionless in time
As the moon climbs

A poem should be equal to:
Not true

For all the history of grief
An empty doorway and a maple leaf

For love
The leaning grasses and two lights above the sea -

A poem should not mean
But be
 
 
 

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Friday, May 7, 2021

A Writer's Moment: A Winning Formula for Writing Success

A Writer's Moment: A Winning Formula for Writing Success:   “If you have a craftsman's command of the language and basic writing techniques you'll be able to write - as l...

A Winning Formula for Writing Success

 “If you have a craftsman's command of the language and basic writing techniques you'll be able to write - as long as you know what you want to say.”  Jeffery Deaver


An American mystery/crime writer, Deaver earned a journalism degree from the renowned U. of Missouri program, then went on to a law degree at Fordham before starting his writing career as a journalist.

Born on May 6, 1950, Deaver said he gravitated toward journalism first because he was editor of his high school literary magazine and a reporter for the school paper.    But after some fulltime work on a newspaper, he switched back to law and practiced that before embarking on his award-winning career as a novelist.

“The outline is 95 percent of the book,” he said.   “Then I sit down and write, and (for me) that's the easy part.”   In fact, he said it’s so easy to write that oftentimes he does it in the dark.  “I can touch-type,” he added.   Virtually all of his works feature a trick ending or multiple            
 trick endings, a technique that has both endeared him to some readers and frustrated others.

“To answer that I have to describe what I think is my responsibility as a thriller writer: To give my readers the most exciting 'roller coaster ride' of a suspense story I can possibly think of.”



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Thursday, May 6, 2021

A Writer's Moment: 'Be Original . . . Work on the Words'

A Writer's Moment: 'Be Original . . . Work on the Words':   “Be original. That's my best advice. You're going to find that there's something that you do well, and try...

'Be Original . . . Work on the Words'

 “Be original. That's my best advice. You're going to find that there's something that you do well, and try to do it with as much originality as you can, and don't skimp on the words. Work on the words.”

  – Bob Seger

 
 
Born in Detroit on this date in 1945, Seger is the quintecential guitarist, pianist and singer-songwriter.   The son of a Ford autoworker, he reflects the American story, self-teaching himself the music that would ultimately lead to his success, and enduring many years of ups and downs before settling in as one of music’s icons.

His also is the story of perserverance, just “knowing” that the songs he was writing eventually would catch on.  That finally happened in 1973 with the hit song “Night Moves,” recorded by Seger's  Silver Bullet Band.

Seger wrote songs recorded by many artists, perhaps the most important was for his friend Glenn Frey of the Eagles, the number one hit “Heartache Tonight” from their award-winning album The Long Run.  That collaboration grew out of the pair’s friendship dating back to the 1960s when both were literally starving and struggling musicians on the Detroit scene.
 
That successful song with The Eagles led to a massive hit for Seger and the Silver Bullet Band Band, “Against the Wind,” anchor song on their number one album by the same name.

To hear some of Seger’s all-time best songs, check out his 2011 double disc "Greatest Hits," which not only includes those mentioned above but “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” and the terrific “Like A Rock.” Seger has written hundreds of songs over the years and has lyrics for dozens more. “I write a lot of songs people don’t hear,” he said.  “I finish ‘em all.  I don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference between the bad ones and the good ones.  I really just enjoy the writing process.”

 

 

 

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Wednesday, May 5, 2021

A Writer's Moment: The Model for Achievement

A Writer's Moment: The Model for Achievement:   “On the wagon sped, and I, as well as my comrades, gave a despairing farewell glance at freedom as we came in sight of the long stone buil...