Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Monthly Archives: November 2015

The Librarian Who Became a Novelist

I have a new (virtual) friend who just happens to be a fine poet.

Lucia St. Clair Robson

Click to visit Lucia St. Clair Robson’s site…

“Virtual” because I met her in a place called The State of Writing—which is in the Virtual World, Kitely.

She’d just visited for the first time two nights ago and we shared a boat trip (virtually) last night.

This morning she left a comment on yesterday’s post with a link to a fascinating article in the Capital GazetteLucia Robson: How I made peace with telling lots of lies for a living.

As usual, I’ll excerpt (with comments) and encourage you to go read the full article

Early in the article, Lucia says:

“In 1975, I accepted a job in Anne Arundel County’s exceptionally fine public library system.”

You’d think someone who’d spent so much time around books would be able to imagine writing one; yet, after an editor told her she should do just that, she said:

“Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t know how to write plots or character development or snappy dialogue.”

Luckily, the editor replied:

“Just shut up and do it.”

After much prodding, she began her attempt to write a novel, finished a six-chapter draft, sent it to the editor who’d gotten her into this, and had him give her the name of another editor to submit to—result (in Lucia’s own words):

“A week later Pam called the library and offered me a contract to finish what turned out to be a 562-page historical novel, Ride the Wind.”

Lucia went on to write nine more novels

And, apart from asking you, again, to go read the full article, the best ending to this post is this excerpt:

“My tenth and latest work of fiction, Devilish, is set in the present in Anne Arundel County. But no matter when or where a novel takes place, the writer and the reader make an unspoken pact. The astute reader says, ‘I know you’re lying to me, but I’ll suspend disbelief on the chance that, together, we’ll come to some greater truth.’

“That’s how I’ve made peace with being a professional liar.”

Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Is This How You Feel?

I normally have a re-blog on Sundays—a brief beginning of a blog post from someone else, with a link to their site (actually, I do this on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday…)… 

However, I’ve been blessed to receive word of an amazing site that presents an incredible enterprise.

It was so fantastic that I added a link to it at the top of the left side-bar

It’s a site from a group of Australian scientists presenting, not their carefully considered rational views on climate change, but Their Feelings about Climate Change

They have a Twitter Campaign of Anyone‘s Feelings about Climate Change

1. Handwrite your feelings on climate change
2. Take a photo of it on your phone
3. Tweet your photo to @ITHYF_Letters

There is even the Is This How You Feel? Blog

And, after all that is a page for Now What?

The Three Ages of Becoming a Writer

Are you a writer?

If not, do you think you might want to be?

If yes (to either question), today’s re-blog should be of intense interest :-)

Nail Your Novel

Was writing so easy when you started? If you’re bogged down by all the techniques you don’t know and it’s squashing the life out of your writing, this post is for you

I used to take singing lessons. I’d always loved belting out a tune, and being rather a perfectionist I wanted to do it well. I sailed through the basics and was sent to an advanced teacher. Then the trouble started. She had been a child prodigy and had been coached, much like a Russian gymnast, to do nothing but her art. So she was entirely intolerant of imperfection.

I’d open my mouth and she’d say ‘your tongue’s in the wrong place’. And I hadn’t even made a sound. Tongues, by the way, are not just the flappy thing you can see. They go all the way down your throat and have to be kept flat. Pretty soon I…

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#Reading Is Powerful Medicine

To say reading is powerful medicine demands that I say a bit about the word “medicine”… Woman Reading

I’m not necessarily talking about pharmaceuticals—dangerous stuff

I suppose, if your dying and there are no natural alternatives, sure, take certain pharmaceuticals.

It’s just that doctors are often paid to dispense pharmaceuticals that people don’t need and that harm more than they help—I, in particular, was nearly crippled by misdiagnosed pharmaceuticals


My Oxford dictionary informs me that “medicine” has it roots in the concept “healing”.

So, am I saying reading can heal?

Yep, that’s what I’m saying.

And, that’s what a cool article over at Fast Company says.

The title is How Changing Your Reading Habits Can Transform Your Health and here are a few excerpts:

“…according to Dr Josie Billington, deputy director of the Centre for Research into Reading at the University of Liverpool….’Reading can offer richer, broader, and more complex models of experience, which enable people to view their own lives from a refreshed perspective and with renewed understanding’…”

Dr. Billington also said:

“People who read find it easier to make decisions, plan, and prioritize, and this may be because they are more able to recognize that difficulty and setback are unavoidable aspects of human life…”

So, those are good general (psychologically healthy) reasons to read more—here are some specific physical health-related reasons:

“Reading for pleasure in general can also help prevent conditions such as stress, depression, and dementia….Research has shown that people who read for pleasure regularly report fewer feelings of stress and depression than non-readers. Large scale studies in the U.S. show that being more engaged with reading, along with other hobbies, is associated with a lower subsequent risk of incidents of dementia.”

I’m sure you know that stress and depression can lead to many physical health problems

And, the article even covers more general Social benefits:

“Reading has huge power to make you see things from another person’s point of view…”

Research is cited:

“[showing] that reading reduces stress and creates neurological changes in the brain that makes it think you’re in another world—or another life. ‘Reading about people different to you, for example who come from another culture or background, can help you understand their perspective and readdress former prejudices.'”

But, you may say, I don’t have time to read more!

The article shares these recommendations:

1. Read what interests you not what you think you “should” read
2. Find just 30 minutes a week to read
3. Create a challenge for yourself
4. Don’t stick with a book if you’re not enjoying it

And, I suggest you go read the full article so you can benefit from what they say about each of those four recommendations :-)
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Putting a Writing Life on Display

For my readers in the USA—be THANKFUL you can write in private—today’s re-blog shows you why…

For all my other readers—Be Thankful—for Something—today’s re-blog shows you why… :-)


It’s not uncommon for writers to document the writing process via an anxious dream journal, or on Twitter, or in emails to their friends. Artist and author Gabriela Denise Frank took this impulse one step further. Frank moved her living room furniture into Seattle’s Central Library. For 30 days, she brought her laptop and headphones and set up shop on her own couch, in the middle of the library. And her laptop? It was hooked up to a giant monitor, displaying her every typed word. Her roughest rough drafts were privy to observation and commentary by library patrons. Read about her “novel performance” at The Rumpus.

Around that time, I discovered a quote by John Green that cemented my resolve: “Writing is something you do alone. It is a profession for introverts who want to tell you a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing it.” Why…

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