Tag Archives: books

Higher Education and The New Yorker

Anyone that is currently working in higher education, has obtained graduate degrees, or reads The New Yorker will appreciate this. At times, I think the comments are funnier than the piece.

Enjoy and share your comments below.

From The Chronicle of Higher Education:  Is there a Doctorate in the House?

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Wallace Stevens’ Poetry

A poem that I enjoy from one Wallace Stevens.

Please share your thoughts below.

Large Red Man Reading by Wallace Stevens

There were ghosts that returned to earth to hear his phrases,
As he sat there reading, aloud, the great blue tabulae.
They were those from the wilderness of stars that had expected more.

There were those that returned to hear him read from the poem of life,
Of the pans above the stove, the pots on the table, the tulips among them.
They were those that would have wept to step barefoot into reality,

That would have wept and been happy, have shivered in the frost
And cried out to feel it again, have run fingers over leaves
And against the most coiled thorn, have seized on what was ugly

And laughed, as he sat there reading, from out of the purple tabulae,
The outlines of being and its expressings, the syllables of its law:
Poesis, poesis, the literal characters, the vatic lines,

Which in those ears and in those thin, those spended hearts,
Took on color, took on shape and the size of things as they are
And spoke the feeling for them, which was what they had lacked.

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Poetry as Therapy? You Bet.

How excited I was to read this.

Funny how something that seems like such a simple idea and method hasn’t caught on in medicine until now. I’d love to see this plan take action in many more areas.

Click here to be taken to the article.

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Ask an Editor Day

While searching my reader this morning, I came across “The Blood-Red Pencil” blog and saw that it was “Ask an Editor” day.

I figured my readers, and my fellow blogathoners, would benefit from this considering most of us make our living writing or perhaps some of us are writing books and need a question answered. And…not to toot my own horn or anything…but I’m always willing to promote an editor, considering I’m one myself.

Click here to be taken to “The Blood-Red Pencil”.

Your turn: Do you think needing an editor is overrated?  Share your comments and thoughts below.


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5 Ways to Create An Engaging Writing Style. Guest Blogger: Laura Cross

I know that “guest blogger day” on this year’s blogathon isn’t for a couple more weeks, but I wanted to share this post that Laura Cross graciously gave me permission to feature on my blog.

Without further adieu, today’s post comes from fellow freelancer Laura Cross. I follow Laura’s blogs daily and I enjoy the way she always has good tips for writers. I hope my readers will enjoy Laura’s tips for creating an engaging writing style.


In writing, “style” is the way you deliver your message – it’s the words you choose, the tone you use, and the way you structure sentences. Many successful practical-nonfiction books deliver their messages in a clear, concise, friendly, warm, and encouraging manner. Here are five ways to achieve a winning writing style:

1. Use Conversational Style
Write as if you were speaking to a good friend. Use informal, personal, casual words that create a comfortable trust and connect with the reader. Incorporate personal stories, anecdotes, and humor when appropriate.

2. Avoid Judgmental Language
A reader wants an author who understands and sympathizes with her problem – whether the reader needs to learn how to manage money, be a better parent, market her business, or lose 20 pounds. Avoid using judgmental stigmatizing language. Focus on what the reader can do to make good choices and improve her situation.

3. Be Reassuring and Positive
How-to and self-help readers often lack confidence. They may feel insecure about their ability to achieve the desired results. Keep your writing upbeat and optimistic. Reassure your readers that by using your program, techniques, instructions, method, or information they can reach their goals. Let them know it’s easy and many others “just like them” have achieved success. Always be supportive and create a sense of hope.

4. Address the Reader Directly
Personalize your sentences. Whenever possible, address the reader as “you.” Readers searching for answers and solutions to their problems want to hear about themselves – they want you to speak to “them” directly.

5. Keep It Simple
Clear and concise writing is the most effective. Keep your sentences short and simple – use words the average person can easily understand. Avoid technical terms when possible and always define words that may be new to the reader.

YOUR TURN: What are some of the techniques you use to create an engaging writing style?

Laura Cross is an author, screenwriter, ghostwriter, freelance book editor, and writing coach specializing in nonfiction books and script adaptation (book-to-film projects). She writes two popular blogs, http://www.NonfictionInk.com and http://www.AboutAScreenplay.com, and teaches online writing workshops http://www.ScenarioWritingStudio.com/workshops. Her latest book is The Complete Guide To Hiring A Literary Agent: Everything You Need To Know To Become Successfully Published.


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There’s Nothing Like a New Book

My eyes feast on the cover, the title, the design. My hands become claws around the rectangle and I bring the wad of meticulously cut paper to my nose. I inhale and breathe in that virgin emanation of a brand new book, almost utterly untouched from the printer to my wrists. Graceful and fluid I carefully open the protective jacket and begin to fan the pages close to my face, still high from the inhale of the newness. I feel my heartbeat pick up. In just a few short moments I will be curled up on my couch and whisked away to another’s reality, entering back into my own only when I deem necessary.

I carefully choose a bookmark to hold my place in a wonderland so close to my grasp yet I know it only exists in my mind. The alluring pull of a surrealism mystified by the know of my conscience. I know I will enjoy this read for I picked an author to guide me that I’ve visited with before, almost as mad as the Hatter himself.

I sink into my spot on the couch and begin. My eyes follow the depicted imagery like a hawk following their prey, waiting for the moment I can touch my pencil to the spot and parenthesize the ink that forms the words I so dearly feel. I mark up my books voraciously as to not forget words that tickle my tongue or swing my pendulum of linguistics. I adore authors who play with their words, slithering around the oblivious to hide the obvious.

The sheer joy of becoming enraptured in another’s mind is the pull to books for me. A brand new book excites my psyche and the Literature lover inside me takes over. I can’t control her, trust me I’ve tried.

The words library and bookstore stirs a euphoria in me that lies dormant at times. Used books hold character no doubt. But a brand new book brushes the cowlick on my sensations flat again, and I am once again myself, a reader of great literature and astounding authors.

For now I must get lost in a new book that I received yesterday, it has been calling my name for almost twenty-four hours, and I must obey.
Describe your love of books and/or authors. I adore hearing from my readers.


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The Power of A Blank Piece of Paper

createSometimes when I look at a blank piece of paper, I see nothing. Other times I see a whole new world waiting to be prodded.

Once I add a pen to the mix doors open that once were closed. Locked even. No-name characters beg to be applied to every day scenarios that intermingle with the psyche. That luscious and fluid grace that ink provides as it’s being coaxed out of the tip with subtle movement from my hand screams creation in an otherwise gray world.

I can’t wait to play with lucid words and parenthesise my thoughts all while deciding if I want to rhyme or sing the previous word.  Symphonic phonics grabs at my tongue. I repeat the words that I scribed like Beethoven felt his notes; with passion, longing, heartache, smiles, desire, and an avidity for all things meaningful.

Sometimes I am called to write long, flowing prose styles and other times my soul grabs at all things lascivious. Either way, a blank piece of paper is so much more that white and blue.

Those thin blue lines dance under my lids and the pure, snow white of the paper invokes dozens of meanings to words I never knew existed prior till now. Happy endings and false pretenses have nothing on what sits enigmatically upon my banister of contemplations.

Playful bantering of synonyms that kiss, and sounds dance to the rhythm of a beat not quite known to them. Writing is such a rapture of mine I could never abandon it. I have to write to survive. I have to gather all the emotions and thoughts that I feel or I’ll surely go mad. If they never see the light of a book’s binding, I’m fine with that. They live on blank pieces of paper that mean nothing to another, yet everything to someone else.


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