The Pulp Novel

October 31, 2008

As much as I get annoyed at books that don’t challenge the reader and don’t force us to think, there is something I almost miss about the popularity of pulp novels.  For one thing I novel the cover art, it’s overly emotional and intense and it just sends a powerful message.  Of course that message is a direct reflection of the writing that on the surface the novel will be colorful and interesting, but much like the faces of the characters on the cover it is devoid of real passion behind the eyes.  I guess the other thing that I miss is that reading wasn’t something you just did on the plane, that it was a past time.  That reading was a part of what we did to help expand our minds and build out our understanding of the world.  Maybe some day when TVs around the world suddenly die, we will all turn back to the ways of reading.  Until then I am sure you can still find an old pulp novel laying around somewhere.


I love the tradition of holiday cards because it forces people to sit down, slow down and take a little stock of their lives. A person has to review all that they have accomplished and share best wishes with those that they love. I would say it is one of the few things, now that texting and emails have destroyed communications, that is still pure and enjoyable for families and friends alike. That is why, on top of your normal holiday message, I challenge everyone that is going to send a Christmas Card this year to include something a little extra. I don’t care if it is a story, parable, or poem – just try and push the literary envelope for yourself to see what you can accomplish and the joy you can bring to those that get your cards. Below is a really good example, but don’t just copy it! 🙂

Traditional Santa Claus Greeting Card card

Traditional Santa Claus Greeting Card


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This article on Culture Vulture is a very interesting piece that cuts deep into the background of John Updike and why/what he writes. Basically he calls himself a chauvinist, but only to the point to expose the pointlessness of claiming that one sex is more powerful than another. That is part of the idea behind his novel, The Witches of Eastwick, being that even when women are in power they are corruptible and make the same mistakes that men do. It is interesting then that he chose to revisit the characters in the new novel, The Widows of Eastwick, basically using them as a vehicle to talk about his own mortality. It’s almost as if the Witches series was designed to mirror the life of Updike…or maybe not.

Best Foreign Authors

October 22, 2008

Sometimes I get too bogged down in the American authors because they are so easy to access and understand. For one thing I know the language and on top of that I understand the cultural background they are talking about. Even when foreign novels are translated there is still a lot you miss because you don’t understand where the author is coming from. That said this article on NPR ( has a great list of foreign authors that are accessible and good to read to expand your knowledge of the world. It is important to read authors outside your comfort zones (as we often forget to do) because they give you a new perspective on life and the world. I recommend shaking up your comfort zone.

Babies as young as 5 months are able to distinguish certain types of classical music, long before most people thought that they were able to comprehend the world and interact with it. What this confirms is that even what you do with a baby on the day of it’s birth can really influence how it develops later in life. That is why we need to subject our children to the arts earlier in life so that they have a chance to grow up cultured and with the most information and knowledge possible. It is important that parents don’t depend on the government to train the children of the US and instead do it themselves to make sure that each child is prepared to take on the world in this globalized economy.

Writing Helps Your Memory

October 16, 2008

Write something everyday and I promise you that you will remember what you’ve written above all else. The act of writing engages the brain, forces you to put your thoughts into a logical pattern that is understandable for yourself and others. This process requires energy and when your brain expends energy it wants to conserve it for the future. That means that by writing something your brain is going to remember that logic pattern for later use so that it doesn’t have to do so much work over again. So get out a pen, think a little and write it down. You will be surprised at what you can turn out by just writing for 30 minutes a day 3 days a week.

Writing and Depression

October 12, 2008

CNN had an interesting article that links writing and depression, basically saying that the more creative you are the higher chance you might be clinically depressed or bi-polar. This of course doesn’t mean if you’re depressed or bi-polar that you will be an amazing artist, but it does help to explain the suicides and disease ridden artists throughout time. Of course I point to examples like Hemingway or Hunter S. Thompson. It is a terrible thing for these people to go through and for those that have it, I think that art is a form of release from it, a way to put your emotions into words to express them through a vehicle that doesn’t point directly to you. I don’t think I have these diseases so I am happy for that, but I do appreciate the works and expressions of those that did. I am sorry for your suffering all of you out there.

Awesome Alphabets

October 10, 2008

Words are fun! I know it, the readers of the world know it and everyone else should know it if they don’t. This article which has a play on how to write the letters of the alphabet is just another example of how fun words can be. Check out the full article here, or see some of my favorites below. What is your favorite way to write the alphabet, with spaghetti?

It’s the Beardabet!

A Blessing Poem Card

October 8, 2008

I know I talk about note cards and greeting cards a lot, but I think it is important that we write and send little notes to our loved ones because people need to see that you think there relationship is worth the effort that it costs to write a letter. Also all of our electronic communications will be lost when we are all dust, but our writing on cards will survive us for the historians of the future to understand how we lived. With that said, I love the blessing that this card has and I recommend that you read it, it’s old, but that just means it was good enough to stand the wear of time.

Irish Blessing for Weddings Card card

Irish Blessing for Weddings Card


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Killing the Mockingbird…

October 6, 2008

As you, scout and I know. You don’t kill the Mockingbird because there song is just too beautiful. I would imagine the person that doesn’t like this sound probably also doesn’t like the sound of a cool breeze through the trees or the sound of sprinklers raining down water droplets on a lawn…these sounds are as American and are our homes when we are far from them. We should cherish them, not try to destroy them…