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Sunday, November 30, 2014

All people are interesting

“There was never yet an uninteresting life. Such a thing is an impossibility. Inside of the dullest exterior there is a drama, a comedy, and a tragedy.   (As writers) We recognize that there are no trivial occurrences in life if we get the right focus on them.” – Mark Twain
Mark Twain

 When I was a kid I found myself mesmerized by Mark Twain’s writing.  I clearly could become Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn or any of the other characters he brought to life.  I wished not only to be them but to be in the places in which they were living, and when I opened one of his books I was immediately transported from my South Dakota farm to the streets of Hannibal, Missouri or onto the Mississippi River.

Born Samuel Langhorne Clemens on this day in 1835, shortly after a visit by Halley’s Comet, he famously predicted he would "go out with it" too.   He died the day following the comet's subsequent return. 
On the Mississippi River near Hannibal, Missouri
(Twain’s birthplace and setting for Tom Sawyer)

Nobel winner William Faulkner called him the father of American literature, and he’s been lauded as one of America's greatest humorists.  Despite some controversy about things he said or wrote, there’s little doubt that he brought words to life through his vivid gift of writing.  In a letter to another author, he once wrote:

“To get the right word in the right place is a rare achievement. To condense the diffused light of a page of thought into the luminous flash of a single sentence, is worthy to rank as a prize composition just by itself...Anybody can have ideas--the difficulty is to express them without squandering a quire of paper on an idea that ought to be reduced to one glittering paragraph.”

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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stirring emotions

Wise words from first-time author Cheryl Alleway, a Canadian writer who says reading a disparate group of writers ranging from J.R.R. Tolkien to Louis L’Amour to  Margaret Atwood influenced both her writing style -- she wrote the 2013 historical fiction book Of Blade and Valor -- and the way she shaped her life.

 “Reading and writing are fundemental to this day no matter how technology grows.  The ability to communicate a story that stirs emotions within others is a gift to both the writer and the reader. We need story-tellers in the world. It allows us to discover, learn, feel and find our sense of adventure." 

Cheryl Alleway and her dog Loma

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