Wordsmithing, Reading, and Writing
In my humble opinion what the world needs now is a clearer focus on the importance of literacy in general and the value and joy of reading and writing in particular.
Thus, this blog. Which I hope will turn out to be a smorgasbord of things, all having to do in some way with the wonder and oddity of our language and how we employ it. I hope it will be a sounding board and sharing place about good reads and perhaps a useful resource for folks attempting to write them, from beginners to old pros.
So, whether you’re writing the illusive Great American Novel or just enjoy reading previous attempts, this is a place for you. Or you might be a wordsmith yourself, on the lookout always for the perfect word or phrase, never satisfied with anything less, happiest when playing with words and placing them into a text like precise pebbles in a mosaic. Maybe you’re downright picky when it comes to language, honing in on little iffy rules – like the ongoing battle regarding the use of lay and lie. If you’re that person you probably nodded or frowned when you read the title of this diatribe when I used what is commonly known as the Oxford Comma to separate “Reading” and “Writing”. The vast majority of the world will take no notice of such business, but a pedantic grammarian will consider that little squiggle as either essential or superfluous. Pedantic grammarians are welcome. In fact one scolded me voraciously for my use of sentence fragments in my first book. I dedicated the fragment-free preface to the paperback edition to her.
So, if you enjoy reading, as an escape to other worlds and lives or just as a pleasant way to spend some time, if you’re interested in looking at ways to write more clearly and plan your writing more effectively, or if you just find the manipulation of language fascinating I hope that you’ll pop in from time to time and share your thoughts. Please be assured that I’m not pushing anything, and that this blog is not the primrose path to the big sale. I’m an author, but my books are not for sale here. I’m wandering though the hills and valleys of reading and writing just like you might be. And that shared journey is what this is about. In fact, I hope that you guys will launch a lively enough discussion here for me to take a back seat and just enjoy the ride occasionally.
Let’s face it. The world has come a long, long way from the day that the first storyteller, whoever it was, stood up and spun the first yarn. And, as wonderful and magical as progress over the ensuing millennia has been – I wrote my first book on a typewriter, so I know whereof I speak – we’ve wandered too far away from the joy and importance of simply reading and writing.
Here’s a few rules. No politics, please, unless the structure (not the substance) of something a politician has written or said serves as an example. The same rule goes for religion. I’m religious myself, but let’s keep to our own beliefs. But certainly the depiction of faith, or lack thereof, in a novel, poem, (there’s that Oxford Comma again) or in your own writing is fair game. In short, let’s leave ranting and preaching to other arenas. No vulgarity, please. One last rule: This is not an editing service (though there is a handy link to one (mine) in the menu bars . So please don’t post sections of your writing, or that of someone else, to be evaluated. Get yourself into a good writer’s group or reader’s circle for that. But certainly feel free to ask for advice (from me and/or the blogging community) about a bump you’ve hit in your writing.
I think this will be great fun and hopefully helpful to those of us looking for good things to read and ways to be better writers. But know this: I’m a full time teacher, the editor of a magazine, the teacher of numerous workshops and clinics for writers, an author, a husband and a doting grandfather. So there will definitely be times when my responses will fall behind. But I promise to read yours and keep the site updated regularly. I’ll enter into the conversation (assuming there will be one) and will also be posting things having something to do with literacy that have previously been published by me and others.
I’ve never been a blogger, but this one – whatever it turns out to be – has been on my to-do list for a long time. Whenever one of my high school students pulls out a novel that I didn’t assign (it happens less and less often) I see hope for the world. To my way of thinking, reading and writing are as essential to success as air and water are to living. And any little stab we can take at celebrating and promoting those things is time well spent.
Let’s see how this goes.