Back in 1927: the first Hardy Boys mystery tells of a not-so-distant past

The Tower Treasure

By Franklin W. Dixon

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Released 1927. Review written 2022.

The first Hardy Boys mystery The Tower Treasure was in the words of your grandfather or great grandfather, who read the book when it came out all those years ago (almost one hundred years!), an “exciting page turner”. Continue reading

Powerful poems

Reading poetry is what I’ve been doing more of recently as a writer of poetry must read it to see how published poetry is done. One poem I read reminded me that poets choose subjects and write a poem on that subject. Choosing subjects is what poets do, but it is not the only basis for a poem. It is one of the ways to write a poem.

This poet obviously choose ‘freedom of expression’ as her subject and wrote an effective, even convincing argument for it. I was compelled by the subject because it was well done and made the point effectively. It even made me think about freedom of expression and asked how many of us are really good at it. I mean some people just dominate the argument…As you can see poems have power.

More writing to come read: articles etc.

I’ve been thinking…and there should be more writing and literature on this blog, in the future, than general writing and life talk although I will probably still include that. I would like to see more poetry and reflections and reviews of books, movies and music.

Commitment is more than ambition

One of things a publisher will want, I think, is commitment, and not serving the writer’s ambition first and foremost. This commitment, I think, must extend to a writer’s readers, so that even if a writer is posting blog pieces all the time and is not publishing the book, but shows a sincere commitment to their readers, is doing a better thing than someone who is not even making an effort with their readers, but has published the book. The book is always where the writer’s ambition lies, but the reader is the generous soul who makes an effort to connect with the writer and should at least be acknowledged if not put on a pedestal.

Cool view

A powerful force arrested him

And pushed him down the alley

Where he heard a clown

Speaking jests

I must have been so fooled by the sight

Like a vision made me see a whole other world, behind the wall

It blew my senses

Then, I was lost in my thoughts

Intrigue surrounded me

And I slowly felt my myself submitting to the sounds

Of my heart beating

To the rhythm of another unusual sight

Then, I saw this man standing there, this awkward looking guy

I kept going back to hear his ditty

It was kind of magnetizing me

I could not resist

He was so uncool

Then he showed me how cool he was, just for a moment

I was curious and wanted more.

I am his editor

Writers communicate internationally

Wisecracker: So you read those Indian romance poems in English. They’re English romances, then.

Writer: It was a translation into English. Translation. Get it?

Humbled wisecracker: Pretty accurate, then. I mean, extremely accurate.

Writer: You got it. You better take a class, though.

Humbled wisecracker: Yes, I should.

Writer: On translation.

The artist’s mind’s eye

In the throes of life, an artist happens to be picturing something in their mind, and wishes to translate that to paper. It may have arrived ‘through the ceiling’ as it was; or in the other words it just popped into their mind. It could come from observation of the real world; a landscape, a person; a thing. But like a camera the artist has a snap shot in their mind of something they want to put onto canvas or in a novel.

Continue reading

Obituaries

I don’t make a habit of reading obituaries or what is called the death notices, but as part of my reading The Film Year Book Volume 5 (edited by Al Clark), I am finding myself delving into the lives of who died in the film industry during the 1985-86 film year. It’s in these obituaries that we get a good look at how one’s life panned out in the long run.

The book’s obituaries are to the point and informative giving me a solid summary of the cast or crew member who died and many interesting moments of a life.

I was amazed at how the obituary columns came together, as back then the information was not as easy to come over as it is today, with the advent of the internet and what not. Without meaning to sound macabre, the work gone into them makes those death notices all the more special and awe-inspiring. I think I will never look at a death notice the same way again.

Merely interesting?

When an article is merely interesting. If its my article, I deny it. Because I believe, rightly or wrongly, that articles need to be more than interesting. But there are two types of interesting which sort of makes up for it. A stimulating interesting in that one is always engaged in the article, that while it doesn’t jump off the page or screen, is always stimulating. And a dull interesting, in that the way it’s done isn’t that imaginative, but is always readable.

This is stimulating reading

For me, when it comes to reading a piece, the best effect is when I’m intrigued and stimulated by the writing. From beginning to end, the piece falls into place nicely and sits well. The reader, that’s me, senses the piece is drawing one in, rather than away. How would one do that, as a writer? I think one must make it always interesting, with facts, color and imagination, descriptive prose, and good ideas, producing “the effect” on the reader.

Cliches are pain, are they not?

I’ve heard it said that it’s better not to use cliches in one’s writing and it’s better to say it a more imaginative, colorful way. Eschewing that rule, I used two cliches in a 200-word article I wrote some years ago and I didn’t mind. I didn’t consider them cliches, but still quite inventive and keeping their flavor. But I did reverse their wording, so that “to be or not to be” was “to go or not to go” and “mountains into molehills” became “molehills into mountains”. A twist I quite enjoyed and I’m sure my readers did. Or moaned.

Small touches matter: the edit that counts

Do small touches make the difference to an article? Like a slight tweak, a slight delete, a shortening, a change of word? Emphatically, yes! But it depends. Sometimes, it wouldn’t matter, but other times, it may sort out the clutter and expression, say, into something more readable, exciting, or colorful.

Looking closer at my work

There was a period where I again read, but critiqued, my own work, because I thought it wasn’t as readable as it should have been. But in a clearer frame of mind, I looked back at those articles, and saw the “big picture”, which changed my view of my older work. It was readable and sounded good when I saw the whole. This was encouraging as my previous view was negative, now turned positive. Seeing the context or big picture change my view of a work or piece.

Interviewees are interesting, always

Some articles can be eye opening. The insights from people I’ve interviewed can be astoundingly insightful, helpful and eye opening. Like the ones I was looking at today, an article where I interviewed a person who works in materially poorer countries. Little snippets like: ‘The poor find it difficult to accept the gospel when those who share it live affluent lifestyles.’ A challenge. And the list of attributes someone must have to work and live with the poor makes me think I haven’t got it together in my own field of endeavor, although it makes me want to do better, but perhaps perfect to a fault. Articles can stir us up, even the writer of them.

When there is already an angle – in the readership

There was an article I did a while ago that was supposedly about a controversial issue, but the readership weren’t blank canvases where I could convert their hearts with my writing. They knew where they stood on the issue. The editor seemed to put an angle on the piece, as my submitted piece differed slightly to the published one in the places where it mattered. Even so, the readers were already converted, this way or that.