The World Loves Books, But It Hates Writers

The world loves books, but it hates writers. Not like noxious, irrational dictator hate. More benign, like a why-are-you-writing-when-we-could-be-having-queso-dip-at-Chili’s hate. It’s a time thing, a lack of understanding the process. You  want to protect a hard-fought Saturday saved for writing. The world will forever offer you cheese dip.

Think about it: The avid reader you’ve watched slowly devour novels–for years–is the same queso lover pressing you their writer pal for lunch on Saturday. “Come on,” they’ll say. “It’ll be fun.”

And it would be, especially around halfway through the second margarita. But then Continue reading The World Loves Books, But It Hates Writers

Sweet Roam, Alabama


photo by Paula Benson

They had me at “rolling tailgate party.” There it was in plain print in the invite. Please join us down here in Alabama, the organizers said, and don’t worry about Friday night icebreakers because Margaret’s rolling tailgate party had things covered. Yes, I admit envisioning some mechanical lovechild of liquor cart meets Bama game, but that only added to the intrigue. Plus there would be talk of books. So it was with much excitement, and a taste for a gin and tonic, that last weekend I drove the three hours to Birmingham. No, there wasn’t a liquor cart with grill and sauce attachment.*

They did way better, Margaret and Tammy and all the volunteers who worked their tails off.

They put on a wonderful weekend.


It is a scientific fact that crime writers–the modern ones, anyway–are Continue reading Sweet Roam, Alabama


A slavish attention to grammar is over-rated.

There, I said it, and I’m not taking it back. Hang on to your wigs a sec, slavish grammarians. You get your props in a bit. First I’d like to talk to these other good folks about style. About effect.

About the humble sentence.

Oh, they write tomes on precise grammar or on compelling plots, and they’ll tell you to polish your prose, to omit unnecessary words, to avoid ending sentences with prepositions or you’ll have Strunk & White to truck with. Sure. But how about what polishes a sentence? The guts, I mean.

First principles: Continue reading Subjectivism