Dolly Parton: Book Hero

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“Hollywood Star Dolly Parton” by DominusVobiscum is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Who’s Reading What We Write?

It feels like everyone wants to write. Bloggers abound. Hundreds of content platforms exist. Seems like everybody wants to publish a “how-to” book, a memoir, or a book of poetry. Some estimates are that more than 6 million books are published every year, with self-publishing increasing daily.

Reading material is everywhere, and has been for several millennia. Since the invention of the Gutenberg Press in 1440, estimates are that there have been over 130 million unique titles printed.

One writer on Medium J.J. Pryor, suggested that there are 47,000 new articles posted each day on Medium, amounting to over one…

What you need to know — simplified

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Photo by Kyle Johnston on Unsplash

If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard about the proposed merger of Simon & Schuster with Penguin Random House. If you haven’t, you probably will. It’s a fundamental issue in the shaping of the publishing industry that may actually be litigated by the Department of Justice.

Here’s what you need to know and why it matters, simplified.

Who is Penguin Random House?

Penguin Random House (PRH) is the biggest publishing house in the United States. It was already a powerhouse publisher when it acquired Penguin in 2013. …

Mine would say, “How do I love thee, GPS?”

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Photo by NASA on Unsplash

Sciku: “My True Compass”

Without you, I’m lost,
Wandering off course, afraid,
Aching for guidance.

My parents were famous for getting lost. They once drove two hours east instead of two hours south before they noticed they were near unfamiliar towns.

I inherited what I call “directional impairment.” If I look at a map and highlight my route, I can tell you which direction I’m heading, but without visuals, I have no internal compass guiding me and end up lost and confused.

When we ran a business, panic would strike the minute someone called and said, “We’re coming west on…

The allure of the legendary Blackwing pencil

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

The Right Tools

My history crush, Benjamin Franklin, would have had no hesitation about spending hard-earned money on a quality pencil or the perfect pen. He did, after all, believe that

‘The best investment is the tools of one’s own trade.”

The more I write, the more I want to experiment with “tools of the trade,” including expanding my implement arsenal from my beloved Tul blue gel ink pens to include different kinds of pencils, and the allure of the Blackwing pencil is pulling me in. Who knows? Different jobs may go faster with different instruments. Maybe developing a social media set would…

The Balance Between Biomass & “Stuff”

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Photo by Javardh on Unsplash

A Sciku:

Buildings, bodies, “stuff”
Weigh down the world, forever
Changing its essence.

The Weight of It All

People are always talking about body weight, how many pounds they’ve put on, how much better they’d look if they’d lose some belly fat, what kind of diet they should follow, how much exercise they need to do to whip themselves into shape.

But we’re missing a bigger point.

Bodyweight may be personally important, but the weight of what humans have done to change our environment matters much, much more to the world than our individual poundage.

Think of this. Biomass is the weight of all living creatures on…

Pulitzer Prize 2005

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Photo by Johnny Cohen on Unsplash

Reading the Pulitzer Prize Winners for Fiction Since 2000

Last year, I made it one of my projects to begin reading all the Pulitzer Prize-winning novels since 2000. On one of my bookstore jaunts, I scored a $6.00 copy of Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead, a book that’s been on my reading list for years. Since Gilead was the 2005 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction — and since I’m not reading them in any particular order, I bought the book knowing that it would help me achieve my goal.

I’m sorry it’s taken me so long to find this deep and lovely, soulful and wise, book, one that will remain on…

Curation: February 5 — February 19

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Photo by Alexander Jawfox on Unsplash

Writing to Improve My Prowess — Not To Gain Distribution

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE it when I get distributed because that means more people might read my work. It offers a bit of hope that a piece from a year ago might still be read and earn me a few pennies.

But I don’t actively write a post with the idea of how to get it distributed.

I write because I’m interested in the topic, because I found interesting information that I’d like to share with others. …

The point of an emotional decision

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Photo by Kat Stokes on Unsplash

“Sometimes just the pure luxury of long beautiful pencils charges me with energy and invention.” — Steinbeck

What Writing Implement Makes Your Mojo Flow?

All writers have a process, a routine, a way of getting their creative mojo flowing. Who knew that for so many great writers, their muse speaks best when they hold a pencil in their fingers?

Writers choose their instruments as carefully as musicians tunes theirs. …

“Cute” Isn’t the Right Word

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A Sciku:

Huge, black, furred Slinky
Humps from canal to canal
Slithering away.

Sleek. Fierce. Surprising.
Never saw such a critter.
Pretty, but deadly.

An Unexpected Land-Sighting

We are camping in the south of Florida, a beautiful campground called Torry Island, located at the bottom edge of Lake Okeechobee, an area comprised of canals and marshes filled with birds, fish, and wildlife of all kinds.

A two-mile walking path rings the area and wanders around a little man-made lake and then down a wide grassy path between two canals. It’s quiet, isolated, and filled with surprises.

One morning shortly after we arrived, I was taking…

Because he still matters

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Photo by Blake Cheek on Unsplash

Everybody Thinks They Know About Thoreau

Almost everyone has heard of Henry David Thoreau, the writer of Life in the Woods, published in 1854, that came to be known as Walden. Most people know of Thoreau as a naturalist and philosopher who wrote about living a simple life in the woods, apart from the materialism and frenzy that overwhelmed most people.

Thoreau wrote “Civil Disobedience,” another widely known work, that argued that citizens should not have to honor unjust governments. He had stayed a night in jail rather than pay six years of delinquent poll tax. …

Melissa Gouty

Writer, teacher, speaker, and observer of human nature. Creative content for the literary world. Follow me at, Twitter, or Facebook.

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