Sunday, April 23, 2017

T - Mark Twain/ Zora Neale Hurston

Louisa Mae Alcott spurred writers such as Helen Hooven Santmeyer to become writers.

File:Twain1909.jpgMark Twain was my original inspiration. Twain was part of my education. I read his books before they were assigned. I think the humbleness of his origins as well as the earthiness of his writing related to me as a child. It had that ring of truth that resonated. The shrewdness and mischievousness of Tom Sawyer convincing other children to whitewash a fence for him. I wished I was that smart.

When Samuel Clemens autobiography became available 100 years after his death, I ordered it and paid full price. I've yet to seriously read it. You have to make time for what is important. He postponed publishing his biography until 100 years after his death in 1910. Mark Twain's birth and death are famous in that both coincided with Haley's comet 75 year cycle swinging by the Earth.

Samuel Clemens spent a great deal of time touring and writing to cover debts due losses from bad investments in the technology of the day. He had a strong and enduring friendship with Nicoli Tesla. A friend, Henry Rogers, began to manage Twain's money and Twain became solvent as a result.

Twain's views on society changed and became increasingly cynical as he aged. Becoming more aged, I can understand that too. Life was cheerier when I understood less or was too busy to notice.

Hurston-Zora-Neale-LOC.jpgZora Neale Hurston wrote "And Their Eyes Were Watching God" in 8 days which is a remarkable feat when you look at the quality and merit of the book. One line that stood out to me was the comparison of a black woman having a white woman's hair like the string that bound a ham had ham qualities. The aspect of a woman's value with being attractive and that a black woman feeling like she had to look white to be attractive; two sides of a very ugly coin in our country's past and present.

Zora Neale Hurston was never paid in a comparable amount as her contemporaries. Hurston worked as a freelance writer, anthropologist and wrote short stories, plays. She was educated at Howard, Barnard and Columbia. During the later portion of her life, Thurston had to scrape by a living.

Her work was obscure in that her heavy use of dialect put some people off her folklore style. People living through difficult situations and a living history of that era is what appealed to me. Some of her opinions were not popular; but, considering the treatment of African Americans when she lived, criticism is a moot point. Hurston died in 1960 before the Civil Right's Movement brought significant changes for black Americans.

Hurston's work saw a revival in 1975, fifteen years after her death, due to writer Alice Walker writing an article in Ms. magazine.  Walker identified Hurston's unmarked grave and had a marker placed with the words, "A Genius of the South" there.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

S - Judson Smith/Maris Soule/John Steinbeck/ Helen Hooven Santmeyer/Carl Sandburg

Decisions, decisions, oh heck I'll list them all.

Judson Smith was an instructor for the 2016 Southeastern Writer's Conference. Each instructor teaches you so much. Either from the mechanics of writing, how to deal with the business or better how to be a great storyteller.

Judson is the storyteller.

Learning by example is the best and almost as good as by experience. Plus less painful than experience. I thought of that myself folks.

No he did not say anything about the mechanics of writing. There was no Step one or Step three part b for c rules. Each presentation dealt with the adventure of writing each of his books. I bought all three. I usually only buy one from each writer if I do buy one. He joined us for open mic night. Once again, great writing spoken.

Judson Smith confirmed one of my beliefs. We aren't part-time people. We make decisions and maintain them for most of our lives until we make a conscious effort to change them. Judson was a storyteller and you can only teach being a storyteller by being a storyteller.  How else can you can be the original than by "following your bliss". And I got that phrase from Joseph Campbell.


I met Maris Soule at the first Writer's Police Academy I attended. That is when I learned there were a lot of published writers and a very business edge to writing that Great American Novel.

Maris has a great blog and a multitude of romances and romance crime drama novels you can check out on her blog.

Of Mice And Men Poster..............................................

John Steinbeck is a simple writer. I heard an English major say that.

I've read many books by John Steinbeck. Many poignant parts of his books stick with me much like some of the memorable writing of Charles Dickens. One that sticks with me is his description of a character as having no conscience as in like a birth defect like being born without an arm in "East of Eden".

My favorite Steinbeck novel was "East of Eden". He is most famously known for his book "Grapes of Wrath". "Of Mice and Men" is often compulsory reading in England. Ironically, it is periodically banned for the profanity it contains in the United States. Steinbeck was a very sensitive man to the misfortunes and hardships of people which shows in his writing.

Steinbeck won the Nobel prize for literature in 1962.


Helen Hooven Santmeyer published her novel "And Ladies of the Club" in 1982 when she was 87. The book is a saga that spans from 1868 until 1932. I have called it the Northern Gone With Wind. It gives so much information about that historical period.

Santmeyer desired to be a writer from a young age. She published two books in the 1930s and another one in the 1960s. "And Ladies of the Club' sold very few before it was picked up to become a book of the month club title and mass marketed in 1984. At that time, Santmeyer lived full time in a nursing home and passed two years later.

Sadly, there are no pictures of Santmeyer in public domain. So if you are a writer, put a few pictures of yourself you like in the public domain.


Carl Sandburg

This is my favorite poem. I made so many bulletin boards with this poem.

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Chris Qualls - Queen Elizabeth 1

This is the first of many stories of R. C. Qualls. I know him as Chris from the Macon Writer's group.

Half Moon Werewolves by [Qualls, R. C.]Half Moon Werewolves  is a graphic novel by R. C. Qualls.  It's a story of twins who were born to a werewolf during a government program which was designed to turn werewolves into soldiers. The program has been shutdown or has it?


Queen Elizabeth 1 was a writer of essays and poems. Remarkable in assuming a throne at 25 and running a country when women had little power and reigning for 45 years. Her father and mother were Henry the VIII and Anne Boleyn. Being childless, she was the last ruler of the Tudors.

On Monsieur’s Departure

Related Poem Content Details

I grieve and dare not show my discontent, 
I love and yet am forced to seem to hate, 
I do, yet dare not say I ever meant, 
I seem stark mute but inwardly do prate. 
I am and not, I freeze and yet am burned, 
Since from myself another self I turned. 

My care is like my shadow in the sun, 
Follows me flying, flies when I pursue it, 
Stands and lies by me, doth what I have done. 
His too familiar care doth make me rue it. 
No means I find to rid him from my breast, 
Till by the end of things it be supprest. 

Some gentler passion slide into my mind, 
For I am soft and made of melting snow; 
Or be more cruel, love, and so be kind. 
Let me or float or sink, be high or low. 
Or let me live with some more sweet content, 
Or die and so forget what love ere meant.