Spreading your wings in a perplexing world
March, 2017 James Hurd
- New blog article: “Al, My Pachuco Friend”
- Writer’s Corner
- Book and Film reviews
- E-zine subscription information
- How to purchase Wingspread: Of Faith and Flying
- Quotable quotes
New blog article: Al, My Pachuco Friend
I met Al Lopez only once after high school—in jail.
Growing up in Orange, California in the 1950s, I saw Mexican kids walking to Holy Family Catholic School, and wondered why they wore blue and white uniforms. I knew that other, poorer Mexican kids went to Kilefer Elementary—“the Mexican school”—over by the Orange Packing House…. Read more here:
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Writer of the Month: Arthur Conan Doyle. (The Complete Sherlock Holmes, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” “A Study in Scarlet,” “The Sign of the Four”). Perhaps the best known English mystery writer ever. Several movie adaptations have appeared, including many with the famous Holmes character, Basil Rathbone.
Word of the Month: Lyrical: expressing the writer’s emotions in an imaginative or beautiful way.
Quiz of the Month: Compare these two sentences:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy and peace.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, and peace.
Question: What is the formal name of the last comma in the second sentence, and when should you use it?
Answer to last week’s quiz: “Mark Twain” is a pen name. His birth name is Samuel L. Clemens
Tip of the Month: A writer must tighten every piece she writes. Try reducing your piece by 20 percent. Try eliminating all the adverbs. Eliminate all but one adjective that modifies a noun. Try to reduce or eliminate backstory. Shorten description. The narrative’s the thing—focus on telling your story.
For lovers of English:
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that word is “UP.”
- It’s easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP?
- At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
- Why do we speak UP, and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
- We call UP our friends.
- And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
- We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has special meaning.
- People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
- To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
- A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
- We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
Book and Film Reviews
Celtic Daily Prayer. A prayer book, but with a Celtic flair. (Think Holy Island, St. Patrick, 6th and 7th century Celtic monks, writers, and missionaries.) Daily readings and scripture. I’ve used it for 15 years. HarperCollins. 2002.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov. One of those classic Russian journeys through 19th century psyches. This one’s about three brothers, their father, and their loves and hates for each other. Betrayal, jealousy, murder, romance, and general mayhem. 700 small-print pages. Don’t plan on a one-night reading. 1957 Signet Classic.
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Quotable quotes about music
♠ We don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out. Decca Recording Co., rejecting the Beatles, 1962
♠ There are some experiences in life which should not be demanded twice from any man, and one of them is listening to the Brahms Requiem. George Bernard Shaw
♠ Too many pieces of music finish too long after the end. Igor Stravinsky
♠ Mr. Wagner has beautiful musical moments but bad quarters of an hour. Gioacchino Rossini
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