William Kent Krueger’s Novel

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Andrew Buchanan on Unsplash

The Picaro Novel

I dredged up this term from the sea mud of my mind, remembering it from a college literature class. The term had been used to describe the novel, The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling, by Henry Fielding. Hour after hour I spent reading that REALLY long book, often falling asleep on the dorm lounge couch in the middle of the page.

While the people in the year 1749 made The History of Tom Jones a bestseller with record sales causing it to be printed in four different editions in the first year alone, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge declared it to be one of the “three most perfect plots in literature,” I was not so impressed. …

It IS happening

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Felix Koutchinski on Unsplash

Articles distributed from 11–9–20 through 11–26–20

Some of you might have read about my feeling of stupidity when I complained about none of my pieces being curated after the changes to Medium in October, only to find out that I had, indeed, been “distributed” multiple times. I learned that you have to investigate your stats closely to find out if your article has been chosen.

Click each article’s stats and look in the lefthand corner under the title for those happy words, “Chosen for further distribution.”

I am convinced that outside links, decent headlines (always a struggle for me,) subheadings, and good pictures make a difference in your distribution rate. …

Do it just for fun

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

This Tender Land

Our Monday night book club had been enjoying a discussion about William Kent Krueger’s novel, This Tender Land. Most everyone enjoyed the novel, and few had any negative comments about it. Overall, it was well-received and the group members were happy they had read it, willing to recommend it to someone else.

The novel takes place during the Depression and focuses on four children connected to the Lincoln Indian Training School in Minnesota. The Director of the school is a cruel, manipulative woman who is exceptionally mean to the two white boys enrolled in an all Indian school. Albert and Odie are brothers, and Odie is most often the target of the Director’s punishments. After abuse, a tornado, and an unintentional murder, these four children escape from the school in a canoe. Their goal is to get as far away as possible from the hated school by floating down the Gilead River, eventually arriving in St. …

Pestilence, politics, power

Image for post
Image for post
“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe. Photo: Wikimedia, Creative Commons

My Rose-Colored Glasses Are Smashed to Smithereens

Just last week, I wrote a piece about my family’s decision not to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. In that article, I said,

We don’t concentrate as much as we should on the contribution of the Wampanoag Tribe of Native Americans to the survival of those early colonists. In reality, Thanksgiving should be a celebration of Squanto, the Indian who spoke English. Heroic, beleaguered Squanto, a Patuxet Indian who spoke English because he’d been kidnapped, not once, but twice by English sea captains…

Squanto must have had a generous, compassionate spirit to befriend this rag-tag group of colonists and teach them to get sap out of maple trees and plant crops. …

You can work without writing

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mollie Sivaram on Unsplash

Brain blocks and brain breaks

Ever had a day when the words are stuck like Gorilla Glue to the inside of your head? When NOTHING you write sounds good? When all your free-writing and creative-thinking tricks result in absolute drivel?

Yep. Me, too.

It’s okay. Maybe you just need to take time away from writing. Research shows that when you concentrate too long on one project, you block yourself from the creative thinking processes that actually require less focus and more relaxation. In brain terms, your prefrontal cortex concentrates all your energy on achieving your goal. …

The overlooked, easy-to-use tool

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Giacomo Carra on Unsplash

Infographics Are Ages Old

Infographics aren’t new. In fact, they’ve been around since prehistoric times when cavemen painted symbols on the walls so people could easily understand events like hunts and gatherings.

Over the years, putting concepts and figures into easy-to-understand visuals became a way to discover information. In the 1850s, Dr. John Snow was able to plot cholera outbreaks around a common water pump. President Abraham Lincoln used an infographic map that marked the hotbeds of slavery so he would know where to focus his forces. Florence Nightengale and her statistician friend, William Farr, put data on the mortality rates of soldiers into a visual map. They called it a polar area map, but later it was coined the rose diagram because it looked like a flower. …

Why they inspire us

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Daniel Öberg on Unsplash

Quotes, Cash, and Inspiration

I get high on motivational quotes. They’re on my calendar, my office wall, and stamped on my brain. I keep a Pinterest board filled with quotes and fill notebooks with wise sayings. It must be some kind of addiction since I am seemingly unable to resist them.

Social media sites are filled with motivational quotes. Every day, blogging sites are crammed with inspirational sayings. Mantra-loving entrepreneurs are making money from advertising revenue on their quote sites, drawing thousands of followers simply because they post sayings written by other people.

T-shirts. Posters, plaques, mousepads, mugs, water bottles, umbrellas, and keychains. Quotes are everywhere, pumping us up and motivating our minds. It’s no wonder that the personal gifting market has quadrupled its size in the last five years and is on target to reach 77 billion dollars in sales by 2022. …

Literature Lust Love Letter #10

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

It’s Thanksgiving, a different kind of Thanksgiving than ever before. For the first time in my life, I am not gathering with my family, which makes the community of Medium friends feel even more important. I want you to know I’m thankful for you.

My very best wishes to you and yours on this holiday of gratitude.

For Readers:

Have You Ever Taught Writing? Three Novels You’ll Appreciate

For Writers:

Why I’m Thankful to be a Writer: And Why You May Be Too

For Thinkers:

How Your Heart Can Be Hurt and Be Happy When Thanksgiving Is Canceled

If you love heartfelt, hilarious stories….

If you ever made fun of your sibling…. …

This year is different

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Zera Li on Unsplash

A Story Four Centuries Old

You heard the Thanksgiving story from the time you were five-years-old sitting around the Kindergarten table coloring your construction paper headdresses and Pilgrim hats.

You listened to the tale as you glued the feathers onto the turkey you made by tracing your handprint. “What a feast the Pilgrims created to celebrate their survival after landing at Plymouth Rock!” you thought.

The story goes that the Pilgrims organized a big party with lots of food and shared it with the Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans.

We love that story because it’s about people gathering together to eat good food, play games, connect with each other, and take a day off from the daily struggles of survival. …

Seduction of Water, Punjabi Widows, and Lost Friends

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

The Art of Teaching Writing and the Unexpected Results of Doing It Well

How do you inspire a group of disgruntled kids to WRITE? How do you inspire them to create meaning out of words? As any teacher of writing knows, it’s hard to overcome the difficulties of a classroom. In some cases, you’ve got students with a lack of fundamental skills. At other times, it’s like walking over an abyss of disinterest, carrying big loads of enthusiasm, encouragement, and assignments that matter to the student.

If you work daily to help students see the value of writing and then actually do it, you’ll appreciate these books about three different writing teachers and the unexpected results of teaching well. …


Melissa Gouty

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

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store