Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Touching Wonder by John Blase

A tiny book, it might easily be overlooked on the bookstore shelf. But take a moment. Pick it up. Begin to read and you will see why Touching Wonder by John Blase has been highly acclaimed. On the cover flap, Thom Lemmons says - "This is the incarnation as real as it gets."

The book transports the reader to that time long ago, when characters like Zachariah and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary all encountered their God in new ways that would change their lives and the lives of everyone they knew, forever.

This is a book that could change your life. It is a re-telling of an old, old story in fresh and startling ways, with the help of The Message by Eugene Peterson. If you think there is nothing in the story of Christmas that can surprise and delight you, think again. The story comes alive in this book, through the eyes and minds of the characters, and the reader is brought to new understanding, fresh faith and deep joy as the story unfolds.

A great gift for anyone on your Christmas list.




You are invited to visit uReadBooks.com to listen to this new Christmas audio special!


uReadBooks presents:

Touching Wonder -
A Christmas Radio Special



Does it seem like you have heard the Christmas story a few too many times for it to still hold the wonder that it once had? With his instant classic, Touching Wonder, author John Blase breathes new life into the story of the Nativity. Just in time for the holiday season, uReadBooks.com presents a half hour Christmas special featuring excerpts from this new book.


About the book:

Little children understand how amazing the Nativity story is. But, sometimes, as we become men and women, we put away the childlike with the childish. The result? We lose something vital—the wonder of it all. When author John Blase went looking for the lost wonder of Christmas, he went back to the place he’d last seen it—the stories from Luke 1-2. What he found fills the pages of his new book, Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas (David C Cook, September 2009), with flesh and bone and dust and night and a baby’s cry; the intimate union of human and divine—the Incarnation.


By boldly imagining the first two chapters of the gospel of Luke, writer, editor, and former pastor John Blase has created an instant classic for Christmastime. In a tale that reads like a novel parallel parked by the record of Scripture, Blase beckons those who could use a little wonder in their lives to step onto the stage of history and witness the long awaited coming of the Messiah. With Eugene Peterson’s The Message Bible translation as his backdrop, Blase adds his own voice and commentary to the historic events, exploring the renowned drama from an array of viewpoints.


In Touching Wonder, readers will meet a cast of unruly unlikelies—a frightened teenaged girl, a worried carpenter, a collection of senior citizens, a disillusioned young shepherd, even an angel or two—moving toward the realization that the little one just born is the One. This imaginative retelling of the grand miracle will leave readers wide-eyed, slack-jawed, and heart-full. The Lord is come!


In this lovely and distinctive book to be read…and re-read…and pondered in the heart, young and old will recapture the wonder of the Christmas story by seeing through the eyes of those who lived it. The book’s graceful design and Amanda Jolman’s beautiful line drawings combine to make this a thoughtful Christmas gift as well as a wonder that families will treasure for years to come.


Touching Wonder: Recapturing the Awe of Christmas

by John Blase


David C Cook/September 2009

http://www.davidccook.com/


To listen to or download the program, visit www.ureadbooks.com/touchingwonder.





Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Christmas Miracles Coming Your Way

I'm a contributor to this beautiful new book, Christmas Miracles, edited by Cec Murphy. If you live in Canada contact me at Marcia AT vinemarc DOT com about ordering a copy. If you live in the U.S. look for it at your local bookstore or on the web at Amazon, Barnes and Noble etc.

This is a beautiful gift book.


In fact it would make a great companion to this one,
which you can also order from me in Canada or get at any bookstore and online in the U.S.

May your Christmas Miracles be abundant! :)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

It was on this day in 1939 that Nazi Germany invaded Poland, and World War II began.

W.H. Auden (books by this author), one of my favourite poets, wrote a famous poem about this day, called "September 1, 1939." It begins:

I sit in one of the dives
On Fifty-second Street
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odor of death
Offends the September night.

Toward the end of the poem, he says, "We must love one another or die."

"September 1, 1939" became one of Auden's most famous poems, but in later years, he rejected it. He refused to give permission for it to be in anthologies, and when he did include it, he either changed "We must love one another or die" to "we must love one another and die," or he took out the stanza entirely.

Read the whole poem here

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Mohamed's Moon

There's a small notation on the cover of Mohamed's Moon. It says, "a novel of suspense." It doesn't lie. The novel, set partly in Egypt and partly in California, evokes a strong sense of place in both settings and keeps the reader going from page to page. Just when you think you know where it's going, there's a new twist.

The author, Keith Clemons does a good job of presenting the folly of Islam in this book, as he takes Mohamed, his main character, through a battle of faith. He helps us to understand the commitment of men to a belief system that demands death yet gives us a picture of people who are searching, as we all are, to find God.


There is a little of everything in this book - romance, a love triangle, political ingrigue and spiritual enlightenment.

An entertaining and worthwhile read. Pick up a copy today.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Divine Appointment

“Do you know anything about these flowers?”

The young woman’s eyes were hopeful but I had to disappoint her and explain that I did not work in the hospital gift shop. I was just there to stock the book rack. I pointed to two ladies at a nearby counter. “Maybe they can help,” I said.

She nodded, stared at the flower display and sighed. “I’m not really sure what I want.”

I took note of her dress then – a baseball cap pulled over messy hair; a thin pair of pyjama bottoms topped by a hospital issue housecoat wrapped around a frail frame; pull-on terrycloth slippers.
“My friend is dying,” she said, then turned back to me. “I am too.”

I put my clipboard down and waited. Her story unfolded in simple language, the words slipping from her mouth almost as though rehearsed. She reached into a pocket and pulled out a picture of her seven year old daughter. I could see the resemblance. She smiled when I mentioned it and went on to say there was a surgery that she was hoping for – highly experimental, there was only one doctor who could do it and he just happened to live in a nearby city. But then her voice fell and I had to lean close to hear. Her friend had had the surgery. She was still dying.

The conversation turned to the word hope then. She had hope they would agree to do the surgery, hope that, unlike her friend, she would recover, hope that she would live to watch her daughter grow up.

She said a pastor came to visit sometimes and “we say our small prayers together. They seem small, just words, but maybe not, eh?” Again that hopeful look in her eyes.

I was praying small prayers right then. She’s so young, Lord. Please. Please.

Then she was gone and I resumed stocking the rack. I do this once a month and in that hospital the rack is usually almost empty by the time I return. As I filled the pockets with books I was acutely aware of their content. They were full of pages about the love and mercy of Jesus, pages filled with stories of courage and faith, pages of humour to lift a sad heart and inspiration to lift a weary soul. Pages of hope.
And my job suddenly seemed a lot more important. I knew I was not there that day to "just stock the book rack." My other job, as a writer, suddenly seemed essential, “That I may publish with the voice of thanksgiving, and tell of all thy wondrous works.” (Ps. 26:7, KJV).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Inscribe Christian Writers' Fellowship

Inscribe Christian Writers' Fellowship is having their annual Fall Conference on Sept. 25-26 in Edmonton Alberta. This promises to be another excellent conference with Bonnie Grove (author of a smash hit debut novel, Talking to the Dead) and Kathleen Gibson, journalist extraordinaire.

Don't miss it!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Talking to the Dead

When my friend Bonnie Grove told me the title for her new novel, I admit I was a little surprised and I wondered how it would do once it was on the shelves. I'm not sure how it's doing, but I know the reviews have been through the roof fantastic and for good reason.

This is an excellent novel - entertaining, intriguing and extremely satisfying. It has just enough suspense to keep you wondering, just enough thought-provoking content to make you keep asking yourself questions. And those questions aren't just about the novel. They're questions that make you think about yourself - how mentally stable am I? How strong is my faith? What if my world collapsed around me?

The characters in Talking to the Dead are so real you won't be able to let go of them easily. Or perhaps they won't let go of you. The elements of faith are true to life and, again, make you ask questions. How do I react to people who are out of step with reality? How loyal am I to my friends and family?

And who can I send a copy of this book to?

Can't wait for Bonnie's next one.

BTW, Bonnie is one of the speakers at Inscribe's next Fall Conference.


Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Dying To Live. "From death can come life; dying needs to precede living." This is the premise of this captivating book by Clive Calver, and he knows first hand of what he writes. With examples of real-life people who have lived lives in complete obedience to Christ, the book is at once challenging and inspiring.

Calver is talking about radical Christianity in this book, the kind of dying to self that Jesus taught - the kind many of us try to avoid. He mentions that in his position as pastor he recognizes that the message is often not a popular one. In fact, one of the elders in his church remarked that his emphasis on that theme was causing people to leave the church. But rather than ask him to stop he gave him a book to encourage him along the way. Those who embraced the idea were growing and bearing fruit.

Calver talks about sacrifice but not in terms that we normally hear. He cautions against living "for Christ" and urges us to submit to God's will so that the Christ that lives in us truly has control. The emphasis is on Christ living through us.

At the end of each chapter there is a prayer that gives the reader the opportunity to invite Christ to make the necessary changes in his or her life that will result in a transformation. These are what a friend of mine would call "dangerous prayers." I believe if prayed with sincerity they very well could move you from comfort to living on the edge, with Jesus.

If you are feeling that your faith is stalled and your walk with Christ is dull, read this book. Pray the prayers. Then watch what God will do.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Come and Stori

In Papua New Guinea most of the people speak a pidgin language, a trade language, called Tok Pisin. When my family and I moved there we spent the first while learning how to speak it. I loved that time because of the many phrases and words that made me smile. For instance, when someone invites you to visit he or she will say, “You must come and story with me.”

Because the written word is a relatively new thing there, verbal communication is vital. Telling stories is their way of understanding the world and people around them, their way of relating what is in the depths of their hearts.
A man who had lived in that country a long time said, “you don’t just blurt information here, you must build on it, make it into a drama, give it life.”

I once watched a Papuan friend tell a story to a small group. We were sitting in a half-circle, the story-teller squatting in the middle. His head swivelled as he made eye contact with those on both sides, often repeating parts and using his hands with emphasis to make sure they were getting it all. His audience leaned forward, intent on his words, even though it was a story they all knew well, an old folk tale that had been told and re-told for many generations.

I have heard it said that there are less than thirty unique plot-lines from which to choose when writing fiction. With such limited material, I once despaired of ever doing anything unique. But, like that Papuan man who kept his audience spellbound, I have discovered that it isn’t so much the story itself that captures people, but the way in which it’s told and the unique perspective of the teller.

Jesus knew this when he told stories to those he sat with in the markets and houses of Palestine. The stories he told weren’t anything new. They were simple stories about fishermen and farmers, about the birds of the air and the flowers of the field. But as He told them He allowed them to see with His eyes, giving them a perspective that took them to depths they had never gone before. In a sense, He told them what they already knew, but in such a way that they drew in their breath with fresh understanding. He allowed them to see with His Father’s eyes and the view was suddenly astonishing.

We too can open the eyes of our readers to the wonder of our world and our God. The Apostle Peter, as he was preaching, once said “We did not follow cleverly invented stories when we told you about the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2Peter 1:16).

We have not seen Jesus face to face on this earth, but we have seen his majesty. We’ve seen it in the world around us, in the people around us, and most astonishingly in our own lives. As believers we have had the longings of our hearts satisfied, the drama of our lives given meaning, and that which was once dead brought to life. That is the story we can and must tell, over and over, in all the plot lines and all the turns of phrase.

It is a simple truth, the essential truth, the only story. May He find us faithful.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Controversy over The Cross

Just came across this article - The Shack's writer William P.Young comments on the meaning of the cross and the writer of the article points us to other reputable authors who disagree.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Great blog


Check out Terry Whalin's blog The Writing Life - lots of great information.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New Trailer

My new trailer is up at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iz1VG59-Aiw
Have a look and let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Edge of Recall by Kristen Heitzmann


If you like a good tense read, this is it.
Edge of Recall by Kristen Heitzmann will keep you up all night. It's the story of a young woman with "issues." Her colleague and one-time boyfriend calls her a "high maintenance woman" and her psychiatrist keeps trying to get her to tell him the real underlying problem that won't let her go. She keeps telling him she isn't holding anything back, but the nightmares are always there. The obsession with labyrinths keeps her searching.

When Tess gets a phone call from Smith Chandler, the architect who broke her heart and betrayed her long ago, all the issues rise to the surface. Her psychiatrist tells her it's too dangerous for her to work on a labyrinth and be close to Smith, but she can't say no to the job he offers her.

Then strange things start happening at the remote site where they are working. Things are moved or disappear all together. Tess and the others sense they are being watched. And Tess begins to see things and hear things that drive her to the speed dial on her phone so the psychiatrist can keep it all under control.

But then Smith is attacked and Tess becomes the primary suspect.


Don't pick up this book unless you have several free hours to finish it.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The ADD Writer


I start my day with a cup of coffee and think about what I should have for breakfast. I decide on cereal but there isn’t any milk, so I find a scrap of paper and begin a shopping list.

The phone rings and I take a message for my husband, on another scrap of paper, then remember that I have to call a friend but the phone goes dead so I return it to the cradle and go hunting for the other one.

I enter my office and notice there’s a ‘note to self’ to send an email to my publisher. I sit down to do that and open my email program.
But there’s a note from my daughter so I open it and then decide to send my other daughter a note but she’s on Facebook so I click on the internet icon and open up the world of fb friends.

One of them is excited because she is having her first book published so I send her a note to congratulate her.

Then I decide to click into her site to see what the book cover looks like and notice a link about marketing that looks interesting, so I click on it and decide that it’s a great article so go to my blog to link to it.

There’s a message from a reader there so I take just a wee moment to answer it, and while I’m doing that I remember I intended to post an article to my writing blog.

So I open the folder on my computer where that article should be but it’s not there so I open another one and find a short story that I intended to send to a magazine.

So I go back to my email program and open it up and see that the four lists I’m on have all sent their daily digests so I take just a few moments to look at them and then my stomach growls and I realize it’s lunch time.

My husband comes home and we decide to go out for a bite and then decide we really need to look at that bed that we’ve been thinking about buying and then we see the Tim’s on the corner so decide we need a coffee.

Then I remember that there wasn’t any milk for breakfast so we go to our favourite, huge, all-in-one store and take just a little while to look at the laptops and cameras.

Then suddenly it’s supper time. We drive home and throw something together to eat before heading out to our regular Bible study.

Someone asks how my writing is going.

Writing? Who has time for writing?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fantasy Football by Marcia Lee Laycock

My daughter sent us a YouTube video recently, featuring the prowess of a few NFL football players. They were ‘strutting their stuff’ to prove they were worthy of being picked for the Fantasy Football Team. My husband loved the video and even though I don’t follow the sport much, I was impressed. The young athletes were able to do amazing things. One even leaped through two open windows of a car, landing unscathed on the other side, with a football in his hands of course.

As I watched it I thought of the pressure these young men are under to perform. They have already achieved amazing things as athletes. They have trained every day, honed their skills until there is very little left to learn and then been able to put it all on display on a football field in front of thousands of fans. No small accomplishment. Yet they are still trying to prove they can do it. The refrain in the video was, “Look what I can do. Pick me.”

It reminded me of times when I have been in a classroom full of fourth graders. They are anxious to prove themselves too, waving their hands energetically at every question. (Even when they don’t know the answer!). Often they would come to me with the work they had finished, looking up with hopeful eyes for the teacher’s praise. Even those who were able to do excellent work never ceased to try and claim the approval they were never totally confident they would receive.

I have talked to many writers who are a lot like these football players and fourth graders. Even when they have accomplished amazing things – many articles published in magazines, or books circulating all over the country – they still have doubts about their work and feel they have to continue to prove they can really do it.

Some time ago I discovered I had fallen into this group. Though I have managed to accomplish what many do not – publication in several areas – I am plagued with self-doubt. I hold my breath with every submission. I also discovered I was using my writing like those football players and fourth graders – as a means to gain approval. I realized I was waving my hand to try and attract God’s attention, then holding out my accomplishments and saying, “Look what I can do. Pick me.”

Sometimes I forget that God isn’t looking at how many by-lines I have in how many magazines. He isn’t keeping track of the number of books published and sold. He’s not looking at what I’ve accomplished at all.

He’s looking at what Jesus did. For some unfathomable reason He showered His grace upon me and opened my eyes to what happened when Jesus died on a cross more than 2,000 years ago. He picked me. And now the Father sees a heart changed and His Holy Spirit living in me.
And now He’s smiling.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast”( Ephesians 2:8 &9).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Great post by Lyn Cote at Novel Journey today. Very practical info.


Also check out my interview at the Hot Apple Cider blog

Monday, January 26, 2009

Once A Thief

Recently some friends were sharing stories about having their Bibles stolen in various circumstances (one Bible cover looked like a purse!). We speculated about the effect that would have on the thief.

I got thinking it would make a great short story. So I've launched a writing contest - Once A Thief.

Go to my website - http://www.vinemarc.com/ to see the guidelines. Click on the link in the top left corner.

There is no entry fee and the winner will receive a book.
:)Marcia

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Beautiful Books


Click on this link to have a look as some unusual and beautifully bound books.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Interesting Info. from Abe Books

AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales of Children’s & Young Adult Books in 2008

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling - $12,874Rare first edition signed by JK with the dust wrapper panels signed by the cover artist Cliff Wright. The first issue has a misaligned block of text which was corrected in the subsequent issues.
2. Grimms Fairy Tales by Jakob & Wilhelm Grimm - $11,388 A first edition, first issue copy of these famous fairy tales including 22 etched plates by George Cruikshank. It is housed in a clamshell box.
3. The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell - $7,000 A complete set of the children’s fantasy series containing Beyond the Deepwoods, Stormchaser, Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, Cloud Wolf, Curse of the Gloamglozer, Last of the Sky Pirates, Vox, and Freeglader. All titles are first UK editions with signatures of Stewart and Riddell.


AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of Art Books in 2008
1. Etudes à l'Eau-Forte by Francis Seymour Haden - $17,216A collection of 25 etchings by Seymour Hayden - 24 of the plates depict the landscape around London, the Thames, Ireland and Wales and the final one is a portrait of Thomas Haden. The text reproduces an article printed in the Gazette des Beaux-Arts by Philippe Burty and contains a catalogue of the etched work of Seymour Haden.
2. English Etchings - A Collection of Original Etchings - $5,867An eight-volume set of the English Etchings series of prints. A thorough survey of the etched work of English artists such as William Strang, James McNeill Whistler, Frank Short, Percy Thomas, Herbert Marshall, Robert Currie, Buxton Knight and Oliver Baker among others.
3. A Corpus of Rembrandt paintings - $5,404Published in 1982 in three volumes

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of Poetry Books in 2008

1. Poems (1909-1925) by TS Eliot - $8,500Containing many of Eliot’s canonical works including “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” “The Hollow Men,” and “The Waste Land,” this is a first edition - one of 85 numbered copies signed by the poet.
2. The Collected Poems by DH Lawrence - $4,893 A limited first edition, one of 100 numbered copies that were signed by Lawrence. This 1928 two-volume collection comes with a cream dust jacket.
3. Poems by Frank O’Hara with lithographs by Willem De Kooning - $4,500One of 550 first edition numbered copies signed by De Kooning (1904-1997). Illustrated with 17 original lithographs, bound in black goat-skin, stamped in gold and encased in a linen clamshell box

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of Science Fiction & Fantasy Books in 2008

1. Out of the Silent Planet by CS Lewis - $7,950 First edition of Lewis's earliest and rarest works from 1938.
2. Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell - $7,000 A complete set of the children’s fantasy series containing Beyond the Deepwoods, Stormchaser, Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, Cloud Wolf, Curse of the Gloamglozer, Last of the Sky Pirates, Vox, and Freeglader. All titles are first UK editions with signatures of Stewart and Riddell.
3. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - $6,780 First edition, first printing, of Orwell’s 1949 dystopian classic featuring the red dust jacket.

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of Religious & Theology Books in 2008
1. Goslar Gospels - $7,470 Limited facsimile edition of 300 copies published in 1990. A replica of one of the most exquisite books from the 13th century. Bound in leather with 30 biblical scenes.
2. Sefarad: Revista del Instituto Arias Montano de Estudios Hebraicos y Oriente Próximo by Consejo Superior de Investigaciones - $7,265 This journal deals with theology and textual criticism of the bible and its ancient versions, with the history and culture of the Jews in Spain. Vols. 1-63. Madrid, 1941-2003. Vols. 1-15 (1941-1955).
3. Memories on the Affairs of the Jesuits by C.P. Platel - $5,698 Entirely reworked and much enlarged edition of the crushing attack on the Jesuits by Abbot CP Platel, pseudonym of Norbert Parisot, or Father Norbert (1697-1769). Published 1766, Signed by P. Yver, 5 volumes.

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of Novels in 2008 (Adult)

1. Lord of the Flies by William Golding - $9,260 A first edition, proof copy of Golding’s 1954 classic
2. Men Without Women by Ernest Hemingway - $8,000 First US edition printed in 1927 including first state dust jacket without review blurbs on front flap. Slip of paper inscribed by Hemingway laid in reads "To Marian Spies/ wishing her much luck/ Ernest Hemingway."
3. Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - $6,780 First edition, first printing, of Orwell’s 1949 dystopian classic featuring the red dust jacket

AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of Ephemera in 2008 (non-book items)

1. George Bernard Shaw’s typewriter $7,979 Along the top edge of the machine’s guarantee in faded ink, Shaw had written the words "Bernard Shaw, Ayot St Lawrence, Welwyn Herts". He had also written the date, 9th Feb 1935.
2. Signed letter by Katherine Mansfield - $5,414 An autographed letter to her father by Katherine Mansfield - written four months before her death from tuberculosis.
3. Autograph of Sir Joshua Reynolds - $3,764 A rare letter from the 18th century portrait painter.



AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of Harry Potter Books in 2008

1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling - $12,874Rare first edition signed by JK with the dust wrapper panels signed by the cover artist Cliff Wright. The first issue has a misaligned block of text which was corrected in the subsequent issues.
2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling - $6,958 First deluxe edition that was signed by Rowling at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August 2004.
3. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by JK Rowling - $5,213 First printing first issue of the deluxe edition signed by the author.


AbeBooks’ Most Expensive Sales of Books by People in the Headlines in 2008

1. Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama - $5,500 Signed first edition of the 2004 reissue of the President-elect’s first book.
2. Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer - $4,000 A complete set of all four books from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series. All books are first editions, first printings in fine condition. All copies are signed by the author.
3. Space Odyssey Series by Arthur C Clarke - $3,750 First editions of the Space Odyssey Series – all signed by Arthur C. Clarke, who died in 2008.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Writing Lesson From Richard Nixon

I just received this and thought it worthy of posting.

Power Writing
Super fast tips to punch up your prose Jan. 6, 2009
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Do you remember the days of Richard Nixon? Today's newsletter describes the creative experiences of actor Frank Langella who's currently starring in a movie as the former president -- and translates his thoughts into writing advice. (You're receiving this brief newsletter because you subscribed. If you like it, please consider forwarding it to a friend. If you wish to unsubscribe, youcan do so easily via the link at the end.) Word count this issue: 510 wordsEstimated reading time: Just over 2 minutes ************************************************* ***
PW #153 - A writing lesson from Richard Nixon I was in high school when former U.S. president Richard Nixon resigned. I don't remember seeing him give his official TV farewell, but I strongly recall his gravelly voice, his pursed lips and his shuffling gait. I devoured All the President's Men when it was published in 1974 and saw the movie starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman as reporters Woodward and Bernstein when it was released two years later. This fall, as a kind of middle-aged throwback, I raced to the Nixon/Frost play by British dramatist Peter Morgan, when it appeared in Vancouver. Then, over the Christmas holidays, I dragged my husband to see the movie of the same name starring Frank Langella. It astonished me how the excellent play was fully supplanted by an outstanding movie. If you have any interest in Nixon or in politics -- or in showmanship acting -- be sure to see it yourself. In the first few minutes, I held a few uncertainties about Langella, but by about the 10th minute, he had me by the throat. The 70-year-old actor, who became moderately famous through Diary of a Mad Housewife and Dracula films has turned into a possible Oscar nominee. My Langella love-fest subsequently caused my eyes to rest on a blurb about him in this month's Vanity Fair (the one with Tina Fey on the cover). In it, Langella speculates on the reasons for Nixon's downfall, saying intuitively, "he seemed to wear outside his clothes the worst in all our natures -- not only the venal side, where you see the evil, but the frightened, sad, loner side that all of us have, whatever we present to the world." Langella, who teaches master classes for actors, then went on to add a more personal and even more interesting digression. "When I do master classes," he said, "what I say is: 'Never give in. Try with every fiber of your being to push past your window of terror.'" This phrase "window of terror" struck me as particularly apt for any creative pursuit -- not just acting, but also, writing. After all, who can write without feeling a little knife of fear slice through the heart? Is my writing good enough? Is it interesting enough? Will it appeal to enough readers? If you're a copywriter you may also worry whether your material will actually sell enough stuff to justify your wage. But the bald fact is that terror should not come with the writing. After all, writing is simply putting words on paper, which is an easy enough job. The reason we're stalked by terror, is because many of us start editing (a harder task) while trying to write. Or, worse, we try to imagine where our work will be published and what others will think of it. The secret to writing quickly and effectively is to remember that writing is writing. All that other stuff -- the editing, the marketing, the worrying -- needs to come later. Keep this rule in mind and you will not suffer the same fate as Richard Nixon. ***********************************************************
DETAILS, DETAILS...Do your new year's resolutions include a promise to improve or speed up your writing? My super self-help manual 8 1/2 Steps to Writing Faster, Better is a great resource for copywriters, corporate writers and procrastinators. You have a choice of two versions -- basic (an e-book) or premium (e-book and printed copy -- plus additional goodies, including my handy booklet, 72 Ways to Beat Writer's Block). Here's how you can learn more.If you found value in this newsletter, please forward it to colleagues and friends who might be interested. They'll thank you and so will I! (You can use the handy blue "forward email" link near the end of this email.) Want to reprint an article? I have a wide variety of pieces on writing you can consider for your website or newsletter. I'm sure there's a perfect fit for you! Please email me (see link in my contact information, below) and I'll be happy to give you some choices and the required attribution line.Privacy policy: I do not rent, sell, trade or share your email address with anyone, ever.To change your email address: Go to the "update profile/email address" link near the end of the page.To unsubscribe: Go to the "safe unsubscribe" link near the end of the page.The fine print: This newsletter is © 2009 by Daphne Gray-Grant
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