International Book Giving Day


International Book Giving Day Website

I kept always two books in my pocket, one to read, one to write in.

Robert Louis Stevenson

Books are a uniquely portable magic.

Stephen King

Books I Would Give to Everyone:

  • The Day the World Came to Town: 9/11 in Gander, Newfoundland by Jim DeFede
  • The Magic Tunnel by Caroline D. Emerson

Reading is a form of prayer, a guided meditation that briefly makes us believe we’re someone else.

George Saunders

Others Recommendations:

  • WRITING: Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style from the Copy Chief of Random House by Benjamin Dreyer
  • On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King
  • POLITICS: Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America by Jared Cohen
  • MEMOIR: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
  • Life’s That Way by Jim Beaver
  • SPIRITUAL: A Year with Thomas Merton: Daily Meditations from His Journals by Thomas Merton
  • A Walk with the Saints by James Martin, SJ
  • POETRY: Hailstones and Halibut Bones: Adventures in Poetry and Color by Mary O’Neill, John Wallner, illustrator
  • FICTION: Here be Dragons by Sharon Kay Penman

The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.

Mary McLeod Bethune

I love the solitude of reading. I love the deep dive into someone else’s story, the delicious ache of a last page.

Naomi Shihab Nye

Download and color your bookmark today!

How Do You Write?


How do you write? That is the question of the week.

I use my Kindle keyboard, my laptop, and paper and pen. My pens aren’t anything special except to me. They’re ball point. I usually bet them while I’m on vacation in local gift shops. Good pens are also the free ones you get at the hotels. Seriously.

The other day I tried a new pencil. I almost never write in pencil, but I was intrigued by a recent podcast from Ann Kroeker, Writing Coach. I listen to her podcasts pretty regularly or I’ll read the transcript which is what I did in this case.

You can listen or read by following the link below:

Do You Need Stephen King’s Pencil?

I think we all kind of feel that the greats have some kind of special ability besides the actual excellent writing – a comfy chair, a perfect mug of their drink of choice, a light that shines on the paper or the computer and leaves no glare, and if writing on paper, a writing implement.

To be honest, I felt that Stephen King was a felt tip or gel roller type of writer. Or an old-fashioned typewriter like the kind I learned on in high school in the eighties.

But according to Ann Kroeker’s research, Stephen King’s pencil (not pen) of choice is the Blackwing 602. On the side of the pencil is the tagline: HALF THE PRESSURE, TWICE THE SPEED. The eraser is larger than on a school pencil but squared and squished.

I had to go to an artist materials supply store. And they cost $2.25 each. I bought a couple to let my upcoming students try them out.

And I have to tell you…

I loved it!

It was smooth. It was fast.

I liked it.

I’m not going to change what I write with (for the most part) but I really did enjoy the feel for it.

Anyway, if you’re reading this Stephen King and you want a couple of extra pencils, email me your address and I’ll send them out. I’ll even spring for shipping.

In the photos below,

Continue reading

Back to School Resources


I saved the following quotation from Stephen King for a future writing post, but I think it’s also quite appropriate for Back to School as well.

The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.

Stephen King

The very first resource I would recommend is Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style . I have the e-book on my Kindle and it is worth every penny whichever way you choose to purchase it. I’m waiting with bated breath for the next edition from Benjamin Dreyer. I have gotten through this year by daily tearing off the pages of his Day-to-Day Calendar.

Hat tip to Mr. Dreyer himself for most of these recommendations. The first two are my own.

Is today a holiday? It could be National Cheeseburger Day. Find out here: National Day Archives

What’s another word for…? Synonyms would be the bane of my existence without this site: Thesaurus

When was the sunrise on September 15, 1938? Was that a Saturday? Find out here: Time and Date

Mr. Dreyer’s Go-To Dictionary: Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition

Webster’s Third New International Dictionary

M-W Online

@MerriamWebster on Twitter

The Free Dictionary (online)

Writing Advice – Stephen King


Stephen King is one of the most prolific writers in the world. I’m embarrassed to admit that I have never read any of his fiction. Not one. I’ve also never seen the movies except part of Stand by Me. His genre of horror has never been something in my wheelhouse, but I did admire him as a writer and a person. I follow him on Twitter and he wrote a magnificent essay on JK Rowling for Time magazine.

The one book I did manage to acquire and read was his memoir/advice for writers book, On Writing. I found it engaging, brilliantly written and so beautifully in his voice. Writing this reminds me that I should re-read it just because.

Here are a few of his quotes that I feel drawn to: 

  • The scariest moment is always just before you start. After that, things can only get better.
  • Let me say it again: You must not come lightly to the blank page.
  • You go where the story leads you
  • If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.

  • I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.

Stephen King’s Writing Toolbox is a strategy after my own heart. I love the idea of tools and toolboxes to get us through everyday life – that specialized item that is exactly what we need right at that moment in time.
Two Interviews with Stephen King

with The Independent (from 2017)

with The Atlantic (from 2013)