Thoughts on People, Places, and Travel

Peg Bracken But I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For The World The pleasures and perils of an unseasoned traveler
[Source: Goodreads]
My family of origin traveled to visit relatives in nearby states–and I loved it! Similar as some aspects were to home, I reveled in the new. I wanted to travel more even before I ever did! Today I received a travel catalog, and spent some time drooling. And then I decided to share with you some of the quotes on people, places, and travel that I found in that catalog.
odysseys unlimited 2019 2020
Each quote is short. Think about it.


zora neale hurston
paul coehlo
BOTTOM LINE: Consider what you—and your characters—think, feel, want, and remember about travel.

A Satisfying Writing Life

I recently read that two things will make or break a writing career. The first was passion that (among other things) wakes you in the night to jot down ideas, steals time to write, learns the craft, bounces back from rejection and criticism, and spurs investment (money implied).


The second was a strong submission strategy. By this, they meant, “…a streamlined, organized, efficient, highly functional, easy-to-execute…” strategy. Submitting should feel joyful rather than burdensome, and put the right work in front of the right eyes.


All of the above strike me as good, desirable things. And probably they are necessary for a brilliant writing career. But not all writers expect—or actually aspire to—a writing career in that sense. Surely everyone who published writing sometimes fantasizes about writing a best seller, but that is seldom a realistic goal. Perhaps writing is so inherently gratifying that it’s a necessary part of a satisfying life.


Satisfying Writing Life
Which brings me to important elements of a satisfying writing life. The first is enjoyment. Taking pleasure in crafting artful descriptions and effective dialogue is key. Then there is the gratification that comes from a job well-done. Every once in a while, I read something I wrote years ago and think, “Damn! That’s pretty good.” Then I smile, and return to writing with renewed energy.


The second in my list is writing that suits your purpose. Of course, that means you must figure out why you write. I started writing as therapy for my post-profession depression. As a former academic, I found that cooking and gardening just didn’t engage me intellectually. I did—and still do—enjoy both activities. But I need to keep my brain engaged. So, I enrolled in adult education writing classes and began learning the craft. (I’d never had a composition class, having tested out of freshman comp in college.) Today, one of the greatest joys of my writing life is doing the research to get the story line right, whether that involves the effects of ketamine on humans or the price of gasoline during the Great Depression.
Satisfying Writing Life
Writing as a source of self-esteem doesn’t require being a Steven King or a J.K. Rowling. Praise from fellow writers in classes and critique groups, and from readers, is great for my ego. And every time I have a short story or essay accepted for publication, even with no monetary reward, I feel like someone pasted a gold star of my forehead!


Perhaps one of the most common reasons to write, especially memoir, is to leave a legacy for family. This can be a way of letting them know who you are and how you came to be you, and/or leaving a record of their roots and the relatives who have gone before.


Many writers have more than one reason to write. In my opinion, why people write is less important than that it contributes to a gratifying life. Be clear in your own mind and heart about why you write, and then choose the path and activities that will achieve your goal.
Satisfying Writing Life

In Praise of Odd Type Writers

Odd Tye Writers, book by Celia Blue Johnson, red cover
Odd Type Writers by Celia Blue Johnson
Odd Type Writers by Celia Blue Johnson is a delightful discovery! The subtitle says it all. I recommend it for bedtime, the beach, the doctor’s waiting room, the subway commute. . . Well written, lively, each section short and entertaining.

Last week I posted on Why We Write. Consider this book a companion piece to that one. Johnson culled the quirkiest bits and most obsessive behaviors of each author from interviews, websites, biographies, etc. In her own words, “Edgar Allan Poe balanced a cat on his shoulder while he wrote. Agatha Christie munched on apples in her bathtub while concocting murder plots. Victor Hugo shut himself inside and wore nothing but a long, gray, knitted shawl when he was on a tight deadline.” And so much more!

From the Table of Contents
Edgar Allan Poe daguerreotype crop
By Unknown; most likely George C. Gilchrest, Samuel P. Howes, James M. Pearson, or Andrew J. Simpson, all of Lowell, MA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons {{PD-US}}
  • Rotten Ideas: Friedrich Schiller
  • By the Cup: Honoré de Balzac
  • Feeling Blue: Alexandre Dumas, père
  • House Arrest: Victor Hugo
  • A Mysterious Tail: Edgar Allan Poe
  • The Traveling Desk: Charles Dickens
  • Paper Topography: Edith Wharton
  • The Cork Shield: Marcel Proust
  • Flea Circus: Colette
  • Traffic Jamming: Gertrude Stein
  • Tunneling by the Thousands: Jack London
  • A Writer’s Easel: Virginia Woolf
  • Crayon, Scissors, and Paste: James Joyce
  • Leafing Through the Pages; D.H.Lawrence
  • Puzzling Assembly: Vladimir Nabokov
  • Outstanding Prose: Ernest Hemingway
  • Sound Writing: John Steinbeck’Pin It Down: Eudora Welty
  • Don’t Get Up: Truman Capote
  • Early to Write: Flannery O’Connor
You’ll enjoy these sketches of famous authors whether you’ve read their work or not! Cover to cover, this is a great read!

Odd Type Writers book, back cover
Odd Type Writers back cover