world of wonders

The Reading Life, Part Six: Texture

I picked it out the remainder bin at a store somewhere around the intersection of Brainerd and East Brainerd Roads in Chattanooga–funny, I can remember the streets but not the store.  It was a standard size novel, about 350 pages long, marked down to $1.99 which on that particular day I could afford.  Black cover, bearing […]


The Reading Life, Part Five: Spirit

Perelandra is another book twice-read, and much more powerful the second time.  I haven’t said much about the physical surroundings of each of these readings, but I probably should, because how a book affects you depends on where you are: spiritually, emotionally, but also physically. It was the summer of 1981.  I was in Chattanooga, with […]

wordsmith 3

Sentence Gymnastics (a Wordsmith sample lesson)

Ask anyone what the basic unit of language is, and Anyone would probably say, “Words, of course.”  But think again.  Words are pieces, not units, and while they are certainly useful for labeling and signalling (Stop! Hello! Ouch!) they do not, by themselves, constitute language.  If “language” is understood as the means used to communicate ideas, […]


Dylan’s Great Books

Last fall, you may have heard, Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel prize in literature–an honor shared by Rudyard Kipling, William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Eugene O’Neill, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway, and a bunch more people, most of whom wrote in something other than English.  The literary world was stunned.  Dylan may have been […]


Don’t Let Your Writing Go This Summer!

I know, I know–the beach beckons, the mountains call, and even if you have no exotic destinations in mind, some 90-odd days roll out before you when you don’t have to do anything about school! But . . . A 90-day block of time is a terrible thing to waste.  There are contests to enter, […]