You know how it goes...

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You've got your "To Read" stack all nicely organized (or sorta stacked up) on your bedside table. You've sworn to yourself that you are really, truly going to read those books (in that order) this time. Really. I promise.


Sounds like a junky talking to me.

Anyway, I had everything all organized when SisterM came over and brought me a present: My Staggerford Journal by Jon Hassler. Somehow it jumped to the top of my "To Read" pile.

For those of you who have not read any Jon Hassler, I say: Get thee to Half Price Books and get you some Jon Hassler. Staggerford is his first novel. My personal favorite is The Love Hunter. We read him in my book club a couple of years ago, based on an article in Crisis magazine.

Jon Hassler is the only author I've ever written a fan letter to. AND I got a reply! (OK, so it would be hard to write Jane Austen or Charles Dickens a fan letter, but you get my drift.)

Anyway, the book SisterM gave me is excerpts from the journal he kept while he was writing his first novel. It has interesting insights into the process of writing--how the story changed, how the characters asserted themselves, how the plot couldn't have been different. An interesting look into the mind of a writer.

An interesting aside: He doesn't keep a traditional journal. He keeps copies of the letters he has written to a college friend of his, with whom he has maintained a 40 year correspondence. He says that he was capable of a shade more "vitality and wit" when he was writing to a friend than when he was just writing to himself. And I thought, isn't that kinda what we're all doing with these blogs? Those that are at least semi-personal? It's easier to make myself write for the Mamas, than it is for me to write on a blank piece of paper that no one but me will see. Anyway, I felt myself to be in good company.


Dear Terry,

Excellent points here. By writing to others we also educate ourselves through a metacognitive process. We come to terms with the issues that disturb us, or at least we raise them in a forum that provides us with some means of addressing them.



i don't know what a metacognitive flippinshipper is, but this is much more captivating than my journal.
sides, little stevie king's number one piece of advice for will-be writers is, you guessed it, write. everyday. no matter what and no matter what it is about. keeps the creative juices flowing.

Arrgghh! I had a Hassler novel on my "Items Saved For Later" portion of amazon and the mo fo disappeared somewhere in that list. (I have 182 items saved for later, which means that unless I want to delete them one by one anything on my "Items Saved for Later" are "Items You Will Never Find Again".) I asked Amazon to blow away all items on my shopping cart but they won't.

Concerning the journal-writing - good point. I write a lot more than when I was just writing in my journal. In fact, I don't write much in my journal anymore which is in a way a shame since the honesty gets ratched up a notch there.

I just started reading John Hassler by suggestion from an English teacher and I'm on my fourth book....which is The Love Hunter..... I was did you write him and could you give me the information to write him? I would greatly appreciate it...



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This page contains a single entry by MamaT published on February 4, 2004 9:40 AM.

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