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On Blogging and The Reading List for May

I saw a comment on Facebook, today, from a fellow writer who said: “I’m thinking about starting a blog. Thoughts?”

My initial reaction was to say, “Yes. You should blog! It’s a good way to network and meet new people! Build a platform!”

But I stopped myself. Who was I to say such things, when I’ve been a slacker-blogger the last few weeks?

Truth is, blogging and other methods of interacting with new people (or, in social media terms, building a platform) are all wonderful things. I’ve reaped way more than I’ve planted here on the blog and by interacting with you all on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other places I tend to hang out virtually.

The writing and teaching, though, come first. Otherwise, I have no reason to blog.

This blog is an extension of my writing life, not the focal point. As such, it is a tool. It is something that I address in a slow and steady way, even when it looks like the momentum has been lost.

As always, thanks to you all for reading. I do enjoy talking to you and chronicling this writing life, even when I’m a slacker.

May Reading List

The end of the month brings about the next listing of books I’ve read this year. It was a slow month, reading-wise. Partly, this was due to finishing up last month’s BIG book (The Magic Mountain) which is, if you haven’t read it, sometimes difficult to push through. It was also slow because while I was in Wyoming, I did very little reading. Surprisingly, the time spent in Wyoming was consumed by tons of writing (good!) and tons of great conversations about writing and film and social media and other art (also, good!!). That said, here’s the list:

  1. The Old Man and the Sea, Ernest Hemingway – This is a classic, and a fairly quick read. Don’t rush it, though. Enjoy the story and the writing.

  2. Round Mountain, Castle Freeman Jr – A dozen short stories set in small-town Vermont echo with a ringing clarity of place and character. Another fairly easy read (maybe they all seem that way after The Magic Mountain) that shouldn’t be rushed.

  3. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins – I actually found this book to be less satisfying than the prior volume (The Hunger Games) because the simplicity of the storytelling began to wear on me some. These books are phenomenal best-sellers for a reason: interesting characters and intriguing plot. They aren’t high literature, which is just fine. Yes. I will be reading the last book of the series next month. Sue me. 😉

  4. Lone Survivor, Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson – While the book suffers from what I call “Ghostwriter Parrot Syndrome” (where the actual writer tries to make the text sound too much like the storyteller’s verbal storytelling style) it is an interesting account not only of the ill-fated Operation Redwing (of which Petty Officer Luttrell was the lone survivor) but of the rigorous training these elite service members undergo to become SEALs.

I also spent a lot of time re-reading and contemplating three books on writing that I am using as the main sources for my upcoming writing classes here in Bradenton/Sarasota. These weren’t new reads, but I am listing them here because they are great resources:

You can find the reading list from past months here:

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