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.


  1. I live about 40 miles from Steinbeck's hometown of Salinas, California. It should come as no surprise that his books were required reading in school. I had thread Of Mice and Men one year in high school. I re-read it in 2015 and read Grapes of Wrath and Travels With Charley that same year.

    Another "S" author I recently started reading is Wallace Stegner. No one I know is familiar with him. But he won the Pulitzer fro one book and the National Book Award for another. If you like Steinbeck, then you might just like Stegner too. The Big Rock Candy Mountain, Angle of Repose and Where the Bluebird Sings to the Lemonade Springs are good ones to start with.

  2. Steinbeck is also a favorite of mine among the classics.
    And an author I enjoyed reading, though of different genre, is Sidney Sheldon.
    As about Sandburg's Fog, it is brilliant. I read it whenever I need to settle my mind.

  3. Steinbeck sure knew how to spin a tale indeed

  4. We NEED storytellers. For the lessons, and for escape.
    Love that Carl Sandburg poem - and always have. Such a beautiful and instantly recognisable description.

  5. Hi, just visiting from Sandra's blog!

    I really enjoyed the Carl Sandburg poem ... thanks.

    All the best Jan

  6. Grapes of Wrath is such a classic in my mind. Haven't read it in awhile; might need to remedy that son.


  7. Hi Ann - interesting post, while your decision to include all your notes make sense and are good to read ... I see Helen Hooven Santmeyr was a librarian too ... and now there's a photo of her in Wiki signing one of her books. Fascinating - thank you .. cheers Hilary

  8. Thank you, Ann. I appreciate the nice comment. I used to live in California and loved visiting Steinbeck's Cannery Row in Monterey. As for the Writers Police Academy, I haven't attended that since they changed locations. Attending those always gave me wonderful information to include in my blogs. And yes, I welcome all to come visit my blog. I post every Wednesday. Meanwhile, Ann, my best to you and your writing.

  9. Sanburg and Steinbeck I am familiar with. I love the expression 'on little cat feet'! You peeked my interest in Helen's book.
    Perspectives at Life & Faith in Caneyhead

  10. I always appreciate learning more about the authors of our classic literature. Steinbeck is one of my favorites.

  11. Steinbeck was a courageous writer. He didn't write for the happy ending.


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