Close Encounters with Famous Writers – Maya Angelou

I met Maya Angelou once at a dinner theatre in Delaware of all places. She was doing a reading and I was trying to recruit her for a small film project I was working on. She graciously took a moment to talk to me about the project but let me know in no uncertain terms that she was way too busy to get involved. I didn’t care, though. It was nice to have met her in person and to have made a small connection with a brilliant and beautiful mind. She was a “phenomenal woman.” Her light has gone out, but her words shine on.

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Vassar College’s student bookstore is moving their premises and they are liquidating all of their hardcover books.

This is great news for me because I got to pick up Josh Bazell’s Beat the Reaper for $1!


Get your copy on click the photo

Here’s the NY Times review: “Josh Bazell is an unusually talented writer….[he] more than earned my indulgence as a reader. If there’s a better recommendation for a story than that, I don’t know what is.”

I agree. I always know I’m going to have a great time when I pick up a book in a bookstore and before I know it, I’ve raced through Chapter One.

It’s a fun read and there are sharks and mobsters and medicine and doctors and plot twists and turns and a lot of violence, but a really funny voice in the first person narration of Pietro “Bearclaw” Brwna, the narrator.

If you find it, pick it up, (or click on the image and order from Amazon) it’s a great summer read.

Leonardo DiCaprio was slated to play Bearclaw if they make into a movie. (That was five or more years ago) I didn’t know that before I read the book, but I could definitely see the film as I was reading it. 

Drop me a line if you pick it up and let me know what you think!

The Ballad of the Sad Cafe by Carson McCullers

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Carson McCullers The Ballad of the Sad Cafe (1951)

I found this faded Bantam Books paperback edition from 1971 for $.50. It was on a discount books cart outside the wonderfully indie Inquiring Minds Bookstore in New Paltz, NY (I’m a frequent buyer) and the pulp illustration on the cover grabbed my attention. I’m also a fan of Southern Gothic and knew that Ms. McCullers would be spinning quite a story inside the yellowing pages.

I sat down to read the novella at my small dining room table and finished about three hours later, haunted and changed for the better for having read it. I found myself breathing heavily and moving my arms and body along with the characters as I read the descriptions of action in the story. At the end of the story I closed the book and said, “Wow. That was a story.”

I found myself thinking about Miss Amelia, Marvin Macy and Cousin Lymon all day today. The loneliness and sorrow that permeate this story will follow you around like a stray dog on a back-country road begging for a scrap of meat just before it falls over dead from starvation. It’s that devastating.

You can get a copy of the film at this affiliate link (thank you!) at

Anne Lamott – Writing Quote Wednesday


“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation.

They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored.

We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea.

You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”

                                                                                                                                           – Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird



Tell me when you write…


If you’re like me, you’re curious about when writers are putting in their writing hours. Are you someone who gets up early, stays up late, or writes when you can? There’s a lot of advice out there (and some science – click on the link). I’m interested in finding out when writers are actually putting in writing time to see if there is a trend.

If you could pass this quick poll along to your writer friends and other bloggers, I’d sure appreciate it. It would be nice to get a big enough sample to share the results with everyone in another post. Have a great writing day!

Stories are the wildest things.

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