The Best Writing Advice You’ll Ever Get

There is one bit of advice that I have for aspiring authors. And that is, if you want to write well, you must read. Reading to a writer is as medical school is to a doctor, as physical training is to an athlete, as breathing is to life. Think of reading books as taking a writing course. I would suggest reading the classics: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, and, of course, Steinbeck, to name but a few. These three authors made up their own rules. Hemingway couldn’t get published at first because his writing was so different from the writing that preceded him.

Below are three examples of Steinbeck’s writing. If you read stuff like this, you can’t help but become a better writer. Please note that the first example is one long sentence that makes up an entire paragraph. That, of course, is a big no-no . . . or so “they” say.

• • • •

“The concrete highway was edged with a mat of tangled, broken, dry grass, and the grass heads were heavy with oat beards to catch on a dog’s coat, and foxtails to tangle in a horse’s fetlocks, and clover burrs to fasten in sheep’s wool; sleeping life waiting to be spread and dispersed, every seed armed with an appliance of dispersal, twisting darts and parachutes for the wind, little spears and balls of tiny thorns, and all waiting for animals and the wind, for a man’s trouser cuff or the hem of a woman’s skirt, all passive but armed with appliances of activity, still, but each possessed the anlage of movement.”—The Grapes of Wrath

• • • •

“The afternoon came down as imperceptibly as age comes to a happy man. A little gold entered into the sunlight. The bay became bluer and dimpled with shore-wind ripples. Those lonely fishermen who believe that the fish bite at high tide left their rocks and their places were taken by others, who were convinced that the fish bite at low tide.”—Tortilla Flat

• • • •

“June is gay—cool and warm, wet and shouting with growth and reproduction of the sweet and the noxious, the builder and the spoiler. The girls in the body-form slacks wander High Street with locked hands while small transistor radios sit on their shoulders and whine love songs in their ears. The young boys, bleeding with sap, sit on the stools of Tanger’s Drugstore ingesting future pimples through straws. They watch the girls with level goat-eyes and make disparaging remarks to one another while their insides whimper with longing.”—The Winter of our Discontent

My first bit of advice is to read. My second: don’t pay too much attention to the “rules” of writing. And my third is, never, ever, ever respond to a bad review.

Thank you for listening to my morning rant,

Andrew Joyce

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A Literary Prayer

My name’s not  important, but it’s up there somewhere. So I guess it ain’t no secret. Anyway, this is what I gotta tell ya. And I don’t have much time. You see, I escaped my confinement, but goddamn it, they’re on my trail. I’ll be dragged back to my computer when they catch up, so I gotta spit this out while I can.

I’ve written a book or two, I’ve been there and I’ve done that. But over time, I went kinda crazy. I wanted to … no, that’s not right … I had to … I needed to … write the best damn novel since The Grapes of Wrath. Yeah, I know, that’s why I said I went crazy. So crazy I am.

I broke off human contact. I disconnected all wires that invaded my abode. I went old-school. I kissed girlfriends good-bye. I shook hands with friends, tellin’ ’em I was going into seclusion for the duration and I wasn’t comin’ out until I set the world on fire with my literary talent.

But here’s the deal:

I’m writing, I’m researching. I’m twenty-six chapters in. I got the last sentence of the book in my head. I just have to get there, but there are so many words standing between me and that last damn sentence. Please, Lord, please let me get there. I gotta put chapters behind me. Those future chapters … those future words … are callin’ to me. They need me to give them life. I need them to give me purpose. I need help with this next chapter.

Lord, I’m facing a white wall. You help me get this one chapter on paper and I’ll never ask You for another thing … not another goddamn thing. Please, Lord, give me this next chapter.

I’ve Lived and Died So Many Times

I’ve died many times … so many times. I’ve lived so many lives, too many lives. I am tired of this existence. I remember one life, many eons ago. Men feared me. Men paid tribute to my magnificence. I existed as a small deity. Then, in my fiftieth year, I took sick and died. I soon found that all I held dear in that life was as nothing. My life had been a dream … a sham.

I remember my life as a serf, indentured to the land. I never did have a full belly in that life. My loved ones died of disease and hunger. But it did not matter. We were not harmed. We could not be harmed. We were not our bodies. We were … and are … so much more.

We returned in new bodies, in new lands. We fought for property. We fought for riches. We fought and killed for nothing. We yearned for the tangible. We yearned for immortality in the physical. We wanted it all without knowing that we already possessed everything there was to possess. We were immortal and did not know it.

In time, I incarnated as a cripple, a poor wretch. In that life I was closer to the godhead than I had ever been. I learned of love in that life, I came to realize that I had lived so many lives in fear. That was the first life in which I started on the path of love, forsaking the path of fear.

Now, here I am … now, here I am. I am not of this body. I am a part of the entity we call god. I have only to remember my birthright. I have only to love.

I have many more roads to travel before I may rest. I have many more lives to live before I become pure love.

I have lived many lives working to become Love personified. I’ve died many times, so many, many times as I crawl back to our Father.

One day, I shall rest. The day will come when I’ll never be born … or die … again. On that day, I shall shine as pure Love. On that day, I shall stand with God, my Father.

Marion On My Mind – Guest Post by, Emily Gmitter…

A wonderful tribute to a loved one.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

Sing it out … sing it out!” My sister Marion would encourage me as I practiced a song I’d hoped to perform at karaoke some night. “That was beautiful! You should absolutely sing that one!” she continued, scrunching up her face and pumping her arm in the air with earnest enthusiasm.

Then came the day when I realized she was tone deaf. How did I learn that? Well, we had another sister, Lena, who, age-wise, fell between Marion, the oldest of eight children, and me, the middle child. Lena encouraged me just as Marion did, but Lena loved to sing, too, although we’d never heard her do so.

One day, Lena decided she would take singing lessons. Marion and I were then routinely treated to Lena’s practice sessions which consisted of repeated—and memorable—renditions of You Light Up My Life.“Sing it out … sing it out! That’s beautiful!” Marion…

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Introducing – ELLIS: One Man’s Remarkable Life – Guest Post by Andrew Joyce…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

My name is Andrew Joyce. Some of you may know me … most of you, probably not. But I’m sure you all know of my ex-dog, Danny the Dog. He left me for greener pastures a few months ago (like six months ago) and I was kinda sad. Still am, but that’s another story.

What I’m trying to say is that without Danny around, I got bored. He used to keep me entertained (and on my toes). Anyway, about then I got to know an interesting character. I had seen him around the marina for years, but I had never said more than a few words to him.

For a long time now, some of my friends have been coming up to me and telling me I should write a book about him. They told me he had led a remarkable life and I could sell a lot of books…

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Signs you’re in #India #travel #humor

Barb Taub

Signs, signs, everywhere the signs…

Some were scary.

We were never actually approached by monkeys offering to guide us, but they might have been more helpful than the human guides, who tended to race past the features of the site while gabbling a handful of facts (almost always duplicated in signs posted around the site, and definitely available in our DK Eyewitness Travel Guide To India) before steering us firmly to a shop where everything was “made by my family, Madam, all very original…”[This and all photos unless otherwise noted are ©2018 Jayalakshmy Ayyer & Janine Smith]

Dear Tourist, before entering Hampi, please register with the police, wear clothes, and watch out for robbers, thieves, and rapists. Have a nice day and don’t forget to leave a good review on TripAdvisor.

“Vault of the doom…” Amen.

“Please do not get in to the water because of whirlpools and crocodiles.” Posted…

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