Harlan Ellison – Writing Quote Wednesday

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Writing Quote created by Paul Jenny using Flickr photo by Cory Doctorow

I really love making these Writing Quote Wednesday posters for Stories are the Wildest Things. I get to look for images on Flickr.com that are listed as Creative Commons. I love doing research about the writers quoted and sometimes add their work to my TBR list. I learn something about writing and myself with each quote I publish.

I especially love that I’m quoting Harlan Ellison using a photo put on Flickr by Cory Doctorow (CC License) of two covers of pulp fiction novels by the “author of Sex Gang, Paul Merchant”, who also happens to be Harlan Ellison. (You should definitely click on that link to Sex Gang over at Amazon.com. You’ll be amazed at what price that collectible novel is going for. If you buy it, let me know.)

Today’s quote is one that I originally saw on Twitter via Jon Winokur on @AdvicetoWriters. Jon has tons of great advice and I’ve been following his Twitter feed and the Advice to Writers site for some time. I’m always inspired by what he puts out there. Thanks for the inspiration, Jon!

Here’s a video from Harlan Ellison’s YouTube channel called “Pay the Writer” from Erik Nelson’s definitive Ellison doc, Dreams With Sharp Teeth. (Some NSFW language in typical Ellison style) Enjoy!

Please leave a comment about staying a writer, Harlan Ellison, Jon Winokur (or anything else you’re inspired to share) in the comments section. I love hearing from you.

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Aye! – Wildest Word of the Day

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“Why’s that clamjamfry oer there so skeerie the day an in sic a flap?” Because of the vote for Scottish independence, that’s why.

As the first results begin coming in on the referendum to decide whether Scotland should remain a part of the UK or become an independent country, I thought I’d examine some Scottish words for the Wildest Word of the Day. There’s lots of media coverage of people who are for independence holding up flags and signs with the word “Aye” displayed prominently.

I looked up the meaning of this little word online and found a great blog (run by someone calling themselves A Scott) called “Stooryduster”– Scottish Words Illustrated. He started the site in reaction “to the slow drowning and erosion of the richness of the English languages by the globalization of International English.” In the archives of the site I found six distinct meanings for that little Scottish word that could change history.

Six Meanings for the Scottish Word “Aye”

  1. Aye – meaning always as in, “I’m aye tellin’ ye tae wipe yer feet, an what’s more . . .”
  2. Aye – meaning yes. This is my favorite drawing.  The owner of a dog who’s done his “business” and a muscle head punk who’s stepped in the mess are confronting each other. The punk, pointing at the steaming pile says, “Did your dug dae that?” The owner, looking determined to fight, replies, “Aye! An whit of it?”
  3. Aye number three is used as “Aye, aye, aye”. In this clever illustration there’s a polis standing behind a crook using a crowbar on a safe and the polis says, “Aye, aye, aye, fit’s a dae?” or “‘ello, ‘ello, ‘ello, what’s all this then?”
  4. Aye number four is the kind of aye you use when somebody does something that you told them not to. It means something along the lines of, “You should have listened to me.”
  5. The fifth meaning of Aye is when you pass by a group of people and want to wish them a quick “Evenin’ all.”
  6. Aye Aye – the final meaning listed on Stooryduster is used to express sympathy on a sorrowful occasion. Depending on which side you fall on, aye or no, one group will be saying this to the other when the votes are all in.

According to his About me page, Scott suffered a bout of depression back in 2012 and hasn’t updated the site since then, but the illustrations are so whimsical, funny and beautifully drawn I wanted to share them with you. He is apparently still active on Twitter using the handle @stooryduster.

If you enjoyed this post, dinnae be a bampot, gie yer friends a gas and share it on WordPress and Twitter. Leave a comment about interesting Scottish words you know or have used or your thoughts on the referendum. I’d love to hear from you.

Julio Cortazár – Writing Quote Wednesday

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Julio Cortazár Writing Quote by Paul Jenny using royalty free photo from Morguefile.com

Julio Cortazár, professor, translator, boxing enthusiast, prolific novelist, playwright, poet, essayist and master of the short story (i.e. a WRITER) was born in Belgium in 1914 to Argentine parents but emigrated to France in 1951. He was granted French citizenship in 1981 and he died in Paris in 1984.

His father left the family when he was six. His mother, a prolific reader, introduced him to the works of Jules Verne and in Plural magazine (issue 44, Mexico City, May 1975) he was quoted as saying, “I spent my childhood in a haze full of goblins and elves, with a sense of space and time that was different from everybody else’s.”

What is your more intense and compelling reality?

Send me your short stories to pauljennynyc@gmail.com and I’ll read them on the Stories are the Wildest Things Podcast. You can hear the first episode HERE.

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 Watch more about Julio in this YouTube video.

Thank you! Stories are the Wildest Things Around the World

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When I check my blog’s stats, these tiny icons of the flags of the nations who have visited pop up on my screen. I’m so grateful to have readers and supporters from around the world and I wanted to say thank you for being here. I’d love to hear more from you.

How did you find Stories are the Wildest Things?

What brought you to the blog?

How can I serve you better?

I’m dedicated to helping people tell their stories in the most powerful, creative, and wide-reaching way that they can.

If you don’t tell your story, who will?

Writing Prompt 09: 5 Most Mysterious Sounds Ever Recorded

The YouTube Channel Dark5 has some fascinating videos featuring “the greatest mysteries of this world and beyond…”

For this week’s writing prompt I chose the 5 Most Mysterious Sounds Ever Recorded for inspiration. Take one of the mysterious sounds from the video (I’m really fascinated by the very first one) and write a story that explains the sound’s origin or show us some people interacting with the sound in some way that still leaves the mystery intact. You could also explore the idea of another kind of mysterious sound unrelated to any of these.

Please submit the story you’ve written to the Stories are the Wildest Things Podcast. If your story is chosen you’ll get to hear your story read to our audience. Leave a link to your story in the comments, or send it directly to pauljennynyc@gmail.com

Thank you to everyone who’s submitted a story so far. I’d like to get a few more submissions before I make my decision about the story to be read on the next episode. If you haven’t heard from me yet, you will soon.

Have a great writing week!

Fail Hard! The Only Way to Get Better at Writing, Jobs, Relationships and Life

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Flickr photo “FAIL STAMP” by Nima Badiey

Today I want you to FAIL and fail hard.

Yes, you read that right.

I often say this to my students at the start of a semester. I look around the classroom at freshly scrubbed faces eager to learn and be successful in their chosen field and I tell them I want them to fail.

I clarify this by saying that I obviously don’t want them to fail the class, that would do no one any good. They wouldn’t graduate and I’d most likely get fired.

What I mean when I say I want them to fail is that I want them to push themselves beyond what their every day habits and learned responses are. I want them to DO something (not try, there is no try according to Master Yoda) and fail if they have to. You won’t know what you are fully capable of until you do something with acceptance of the possibility of failure. If you feel stuck in something: writing, your job, your relationships, your LIFE; I want you to do something today that you might fail at doing.

Write a short story and submit it to a literary magazine or writing contest. You’ll most likely be rejected. So what? What have you gained by the experience of writing it and submitting versus writing it and never showing it to anyone? Post it to your blog as well. What if everyone hates it? You’ve learned how to NOT write a short story. That’s valuable. You’ve failed and gained.

Work on that novel chapter you haven’t opened up in a while in a folder on your laptop. Did you finish the rest of the novel all in one sitting? Oh, no! You’ve failed at completing your novel. The good news is you’ve made a giant step toward figuring out what your story is all about. You’ve put more words on paper. You’re taking one more step toward completion. You’re also spending some time doing something that you love while everyone else who isn’t working on their novel is not. See how failure can be a good thing?

Talk to that person you’ve been afraid to approach. Ask them out for coffee or just introduce yourself. They might laugh at you, but really, so what? Why waste any more energy dreaming about a relationship that might be when the idea of the person you’ve had in your head doesn’t match up to real life? You’ve failed at going out with that person, but have been successful at finding out something you’ve just been sitting around wondering about.

At your job, grab a colleague and ask for input on something you’ve been working on. What if they say it’s a ridiculous idea? So what. What if they give you new insight that makes the idea even better? What if two heads really are better than one and you create the next big thing?

Some very famous people have encouraged failure.

Bill Gates “It’s fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.

J.K. Rowling “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.

Napoleon Hill “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.

Denis Waitley “Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.

Roger Van Oech “Remember the two benefits of failure. First, if you do fail, you learn what doesn’t work; and second, the failure gives you the opportunity to try a new approach.

In fact, there are 40 pages of quotes about failure on BrainyQuote.com where I got these.

Failure can also point out something you need to change. If you keep doing something over and over and failing at it but you are loving the process, keep trying to figure out what you need to do to be successful. But if you keep failing at something and you hate every second of it, or you dread participating in it because there’s no joy, or you realize that what you are attempting just isn’t for you, then give up! Seriously. Stop doing those things that don’t bring you joy in some way.

I’m not saying give up on hard work and things that are difficult. I’m saying that if you find something absolutely oppressive about what it is you’re doing over and over and failing at, perhaps it’s time to move on. The more things you try DO and FAIL DOING, the closer you are to finding the successful work you love.

Perhaps you know deep in your bones and soul and stomach that you are a writer but you face constant rejection. Maybe you are writing in the wrong genre. Try writing something else. Maybe you just don’t have the skills you need to be successful. Take a class. Join a writing group. Ask for feedback. Write more. Write less. Do something different. Fail. Fail. Fail.

If you aren’t having success in a job search, perhaps you aren’t looking in the right place, or enough places or talking to enough people. Almost every FULFILLING job I’ve had in the past 20 years has been because I’ve gotten to know someone who works for that organization before I’ve worked there. I’ve almost never gotten a job just by submitting a résumé. Reach out and get to know someone in the organization you’re interested in working with. Who are you afraid to contact because you might fail? You do risk rejection by reaching out to that person, but you also have the opportunity to make a new connection and gain an ally in finding work. You’ll never connect with the people you don’t reach out to.

If you are in a relationship that isn’t working, what can you do to either make it work or give it up?  What haven’t you tried yet because you were afraid it might fail? Being grateful is one thing I’ve found makes all of my relationships better. Especially if it’s someone I don’t get along with very well. When I’ve decided to be grateful for what that person has to teach me about life, my outlook changes and so does my relationship. If it doesn’t, if I fail at being grateful, I stop being in a relationship with that person. Trust me, both of you will be much happier.

Finally, where in your life are you failing? Working out? Getting the house cleaned? Spending time with the kids? What you’ve accomplished in life? The amount of money you make? Where is fear of failure holding you back?

Take a look at those areas and see what failure is trying to teach you. What you resist truly persists. By not resisting failure, you allow space for success. Every amazing, joyful, successful experience I’ve had in my life has been a result of my being afraid of failure and deciding to face my fear and do it anyway.

Do one thing today that pushes you to failure. Tell us about it in the comments section. I love hearing everyone’s stories. Listen to this one from TEDx Teens Tara Suri and Niha Jain.

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SUBMISSIONS WANTED: I’m also still looking for short stories and essays for the Stories are the Wildest Things Podcast. Please submit them to pauljennynyc@gmail.com

We’ve gotten some great submissions so far, but I’d love to get more! Thank you to everyone who has submitted already. You’ll be hearing from me soon.

Have a great writing day.

9/11 – Wildest Word(s) of 2001

"World Trade Center" Flickr photo by Ralph Hockens

“World Trade Center” Flickr photo by Ralph Hockens

As another anniversary of 9/11 comes and goes, and wars relating to those events rage on,  I thought it would be interesting to look back at how the events of 2001 changed the words we use.

Nine-eleven is the slang we use to put this tragedy in perspective. Geoffrey Nunberg, a Stanford University linguist, says, “There’s a need to package things, to label them, to get a handle on them.” The American Dialect Society made 9/11 its word of the year in 2001.

Some other words that were in the running that year were: cuddle puddle (a pile of ecstasy users on the floor), Ground Zero (where the attacks in New York City happened), Let’s Roll (the phrase allegedly used by Todd Beamer to rally against the hijackers on United Airlines Flight 93), Evil Doers (former President George W. Bush’s phrase for those who perpetuated the attacks) and Post September 11 (to mean the way the world had changed after the attacks).

According to Arthur Spiegelman of the Los Angeles Newsdesk at Reuters, YourDictionary.com came up with a list of the top 10 words for 2001. They were:

  1. Ground Zero – the now sanctified ground at the epicenter of the World Trade Center disaster
  2. Former President George Bush’s middle initial “W” – pronounced Dubya and often used in a derogatory way
  3. Jihad – the Arabic word for “struggle” but which is used today as “Holy War”
  4. God, Allah or Yahweh – listed with the note that the name had been in more headlines and on the lips of more politicians than any time in recent memory
  5. Anthrax – the dangerous spores carrying infectious disease sent to politicians in an envelope and said to be “weaponized”
  6. Euro – Europe’s new currency at the time
  7. Wizard – this was added because of J.K. Rowling and the Harry Potter craze
  8. The suffix -stan – as in Pakistan, Afghanistan and in a parody cover by the New Yorker of New Yorkistan showing areas labeled Irant and Irate, Taxistan and Fuhgeddabuditstan
  9. Oprahization – the tendency of public and private citizens to discuss their personal problems or feelings in public forums, especially talk shows like Oprah’s long-running television show
  10. Foot-and-mouth – referring to the disease (and not what Dubya often found himself doing)

It was a terrible day and I remember it well. I wanted to take a moment to think about the way it changed our lives and our language.

Source: http://www.yaelf.com/911.shtml

5 Things I Learned about Writing from Fishing with my Brother-in-law

Hemingway with trout. Flickr photo by Don the Upnorth Memories Guy

Hemingway with trout. Flickr photo by Don the Upnorth Memories Guy

Ernest Hemingway was known as an avid fisherman. There’s a fishing contest still running in Cuba that’s named after him. It’s been running since 1950 and he won the first three years it was held. He once caught seven marlins in one day. He’s the only person to ever pull a giant tuna into a boat in one piece. Apparently, the only way he could do that was by shooting at the sharks that tried to eat his catch with a sub-machine gun.

In 1935 he won every fishing contest in the Key West-Havana-Bimini triangle. After living on his boat, Pilar, for a while, he eventually moved into Room 1 at the Compleat Angler Hotel in Bimini in the Bahamas.

If you Google Hemingway and fishing, 2.57 million results show up.

I went fishing in Buzzard’s Bay recently with my brother-in-law. It wasn’t your typical “movie-version” fishing trip where we got up at the crack of dawn to hurry out on to the boat and be alone in the outdoors to learn more about ourselves. We left casually around 10:15-or-so a.m. when the tide was on its way out. We invited a neighbor to come with us by yelling through his window as we were passing by. He paused, thought about it for 2 seconds, then said, “Yeah, sure.” He threw on a shirt and sandals and came running out to join us.

We jumped in the whaler and headed out to the spot where they had caught several large striped bass over the past few days. Instead of being humid and overcast like the past few days had been, we had clear skies and a cool breeze. It felt good to be in a boat on calm water, to smell the salt air, to feel the wind in your face. My thoughts turned to Hemingway. While the guys scanned the radar looking for schools of stripers, my imagination took me to the Keys and the Bahamas with Papa Hemingway, rod in hand, reeling in the big ones.

We threw in our line, an eel rig with spongy white rubber eels on an umbrella set-up of massive hooks, and let it out to about 30 feet. We trolled back and forth to the number 26 channel marker, trying to avoid the lobster pots that were just below the surface. The first few passes we mostly caught seaweed and had to clear the lines before the next pass. Occasionally we’d notice that a hook had or one of the fake eels was twisted on the line, a sure sign that we’d had a hit but didn’t know it.

On the third or fourth pass there was a loud click and high-pitched whirr as the fish took the bait and started to run. My brother-in-law handed me the rod and I pulled, feeling the weight of the fish pulling against my arms. I could barely move the reel and I sat back, adjusting the rod for more leverage.

“Keep the rod tip up.”

“Don’t sway from side to side.”

“Keep reeling or he’ll get away.”

The guys coached me and I reeled with as much strength as I could. It was tiring and the fish felt like it was fighting hard to avoid being pulled in. My arms started to feel weak and numb, but I kept reeling, reeling, hoping to see the fish as it got closer to the boat. The way the rod was pulling down, we all thought we had a monster of a fish on our hands. As I got near the end of the line, the guys stood up to get a better look.

“There he is, bring him around to port.”

I moved the rod around to my right, since I was facing backward, and my brother-in-law gaffed the fish and dragged it into the boat. It was a good-sized fish, a keeper, but not the monster we all thought we had. The silver scales and white belly flashed in the sun and a small pool of blood drained onto the deck. I put a foot gently on the fish’s tail to keep it from flopping around on the boat.

“That’s why it was so hard to reel in.”

We all looked at our catch and saw that the fish had gotten hooked in the back, not the mouth. What made it so hard to reel in was that I was pulling the fish through the water sideways.

Our neighbor put the fish in the live well and we went back for about fifteen or sixteen more passes, but we had no more luck that morning. Time after time we trolled the passage from rocks to channel marker but the fish weren’t biting. It was time to go home.

We came in to shore and cleaned the gear and the boat. I posed for a photo with the fish on the dock and we cleaned it right there. I was grateful for the camaraderie, the challenge the fish brought and for the meal we had later that day. As I walked back to the cottage, freshly caught fish in hand, I thought about how what I had just experienced was a lot like writing.

What was the first thing we did when we saw someone who had not been fishing with us?

We told them the STORY of what happened.

Here are 5 Things I Learned about Writing from Fishing with my Brother-in-law:

  1. Thinking about and doing are NOT the same thing.
  2. Sometimes you have to make a lot of passes to get something worthwhile.
  3. Making a choice about where to start is important.
  4. You probably won’t be good at something the first time you do it.
  5. What you think you’re going to get is not always what you get.

Thinking about and doing are NOT the same thing.

I’ve often thought about fishing on Buzzard’s Bay. I imagined how I’d toss in a line and wait patiently for a fish to jump on the line. I thought we might have to go into deep water to get the big fish and I worried that I might get seasick on the open ocean. But when we actually went fishing we were in fairly shallow water, very close to shore. The fish were right there and we trolled, pulling a single line with a lot of hooks and it was slow, tedious work.

This is what I’ve found writing to be like, too. I have two different ways of thinking about writing. In one fantasy, everything is going smoothly and I write the next great novel in 30 days. It flows from my fingers fully formed with no rewriting or editing necessary. The other fantasy is that I sit down to write and NOTHING happens. No words come. I’m mute and have to give up writing forever. The reality is that like fishing, the thinking about and the doing are very different things. It is rare that the writing just flows, fully-formed, with no need for rewriting. It is unrealistic to think that is even possible.

On the other hand, I’ve never sat down to write and had nothing to say. I’ve resisted the sitting down many, many times. But when I do sit and write, something comes. The lesson learned, “Fishing and writing are achieved by DOING the fishing and writing, not by sitting around thinking about doing them.” If you’re stuck, get in the boat and throw in your line. You might be surprised what comes out of the water.

Sometimes you have to make a lot of passes to get something worthwhile.

As I said, we must’ve made twenty trips back and forth along that channel to catch one fish. That means there were 19 times when we failed at catching a fish. I think this is a good lesson for many things we do in life. For writing, it reminded me that a lot of writing is rewriting and that I might have to make a lot of attempts at telling a story powerfully before I find that way that works. Those twenty passes weren’t failures, they were the journey leading up to the one fish. That fish was delicious and the journey to land it made for a great story. When you’re working on your third or fourth or twentieth draft, you’re just fishing for the best story. Make sure it’s a doozy.

Making a choice about where to start is important.

Buzzard’s Bay opens out into the Atlantic Ocean. There were a LOT of places we could’ve started fishing. We could’ve spent all day searching for the best place or another place, but we started where we started because they had luck there before. They went to the same place and started there and then stopped there. We didn’t waste a lot of time trying lots of different places to see which place might work better. I think this is an important lesson for writers because too often, I decide that the way I’m doing things isn’t working. I think, “Maybe I need new software to write. What’s the latest? What if I went to a coffee shop instead of the library? I started this novel but now I’m going to switch to a short story. What if this short story idea is stupid and I never finish it?” 

If I don’t plan where I’m going to start my writing day, I find that it’s half over before I get going because I spend so much time getting ready to write instead of doing the actual writing. If you find yourself doing the same thing, pick a place to start and stick to it. You’ll get a lot more done and can always a make a change after you’ve gotten your words in for the day.

You probably won’t be good at something the first time you do it.

I’ve done a lot of river fishing, but never fished for big fish like stripers. I thought I knew what I was doing, but the guys coached me about how everything worked for fishing in the bay. I wasn’t very good at fishing for stripers. I held the rod wrong, stopped reeling when I shouldn’t have, moved the rod too much and I’m sure a lot of other things. The important thing was that I didn’t let that get in the way of catching a fish. If you’re a new writer, or coming back to it after a long time of not doing, you’re probably not going to be very good at it. (There are always exceptions to this, but for most of us mortals, that’s the way it is.) That’s okay. The first time you do something, you’re not expected to be good at it. You might not be good at it the 100th time you do it.

If you believe what Malcolm Gladwell has to say about getting good at something, you have to put in 10,000 hours to become proficient at anything. If I had thrown the rod and reel in the water after being terrible, my brother-in-law would’ve thrown me overboard to get it first of all, but I also never would’ve caught that fish. Every time I start a new project I try to remind myself that this is something new I’m doing. I’m racking up hours until I hit my 10,000. If I give up out of frustration of not being good at it right away, I’ll never accomplish what I set out to do.

What you think you’re going to get is not always what you get.

We thought we had a monster fish, but it was just average. In our minds, this was the big one. It was hard to reel in and the rod was bending and bowing as I brought the fish closer to the boat. It was still a keeper, but it wasn’t the monster we were hoping for. I’m an outliner. I like to work out beats before I start writing. I put together story boards for small videos I make with my kids on YouTube. A lot of the time I think the story is going to go one way and by the end of working on the story and re-writing draft after draft, the story has completely changed. When I resist this process, I’m get much more frustrated and find myself giving up on the writing I’m working on. When I realize that my writing is a journey, like our impromptu fishing trip, I’ve had much more success and enjoy the process so much more.

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Paul and Striped Bass

Enjoy your writing journey by actually taking it. Decide where to start and stick to it. Take as many passes as you need to get the story you are looking for. Don’t worry if you’re not good at writing at first, we all take time to get warmed up and get better. Don’t be discouraged if the story has turned out a lot differently than you thought it would, you’ll surprise yourself and us.

Stories are the Wildest Things.

E.L. Doctorow – Writing Quote Wednesday

Writing quote and photo by Paul Jenny

Writing quote and photo by Paul Jenny

For today’s writing quote I chose another actor/writer and fellow New Yorker, E.L. Doctorow. According to Wikipedia, Doctorow acted in college productions as an undergraduate at Kenyon College in Ohio. He did one year of graduate work at Columbia in English Drama before being drafted into the Signal Corps of the U.S. Army.

Doctorow married fellow Columbia drama school student Helen Esther Setzer while in Germany. He wrote his first novel, Welcome to Hard Times, as a response to his job as a screenplay reader. He had read so many Westerns while working on that job that he decided to write a parody of them, but by the time he finished the novel it had become a serious contribution to the genre.

His most recent novel, Andrew’s Brain,published in 2014 is about a “freakishly depressive cognitive scientist klutz”. You can read a review of that work by Terrence Rafferty HERE. 

You can also buy the novel on Amazon.com.

Watch Doctorow talk about Andrew’s Brain on YouTube.

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According to Cory Doctorow, most recently the author of the YA novel Homeland, is often asked if he’s related to E.L. I found a quote on Answers.com where he’s attributed as saying, “Writers always ask if I’m related to award-winning novelist E.L. Doctorow. The answer is ‘probably.’ Family legend has it that my paternal grandfather’s uncle is E.L.’s grandfather. My folks met E.L. in 1998 and tried this theory out on him, and he said that it sounded about right, but didn’t seem very excited by it. ”

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DON’T FORGET, I’m still looking for short-stories and essays about writing to read on the Stories are the Wildest Things Podcast. Please send me your short-stories and essays to pauljennynyc@gmail.com

Madeleine L’Engle – Writing Quote Wednesday

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Writing Quote created by Paul Jenny using Flickr photo by Scott Cresswell

Madeleine L’Engle was one of those authors that made me want to be a writer as a kid. Reading A Wrinkle in TIme opened up a whole new world to me and I devoured it eagerly one summer when daily rain kept us from playing outside.

When I see a copy now in a bookstore I get the warm fuzzies recalling the rainy summer days I spent reading this book. She and her husband, Hugh Franklin, were actors like me and I’ve always aspired to live as rich and full a life in creative work as they did.

I chose this quote this week because it reminded me of what Samuel Butler talks about in his essay How to Make the Best of Life. In the first episode of the Stories are the Wildest Things Podcast, you can hear this essay about how our lives as writers might be more engaging and “real” when we live on in our writing. It’s a fascinating read from the Victorian era by an iconoclastic satirist. I hope you’ll click through and take a listen.

I’m also seeking submissions of short stories in any genre and short essays about writing for the next episode. I talk about all the details on the Stories are the Wildest Things Podcast. Please submit your stories and essays by email to pauljennynyc@gmail.com and put Podcast Story and your story’s title in the subject heading.

I’ve received some great stories already and I’m looking forward to reading all of them.

Have a great writing week!

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Listen to Madeleine L’Engle talk about writing, A Wrinkle in Time and her process on YouTube.com.

You can visit Scot Cresswell’s Flickr photo here. (CC license)