Tag Archives: memoirs

Book Review ~ The Art of Communication

On Writing Well, by William Zinsser.  Available for under $10.00

writingSo, for a bit of a twist I thought I would share a book review today; a how-to book.  I know that not all my fans think of themselves as writers.  We are.  Every last one of us writes for one reason or another.  Tweets, text messages and dashed-off comments on social networks are becoming the norm and are probably doing serious damage to our ability to effectively communicate in our mother tongue.  Somewhere in life you, yes you, will be required to write.  Business communications, customer relations, organization news and inquires, marketing and magazine, internet and newspaper articles.  We still communicate through the written word.  “On Writing Well” is just the book to help you write better whatever the medium or the goal.   Whether it is emails, memos, official letters or brochures, or even books, this is a delightful reference to keep near.

Within the pages of this book, Professor Zinsser provides a well balanced mini-writing course.  He talks about simplicity, clutter, style, your voice and how to develop it, grammar and word usage.  He also presents ideas and examples of different types of nonfiction.  How do you conduct an interview?  What makes a good travel log?  How do you write a memoir?  How do you write about science and technology if you are a professional, or if you’re not?   How can business people and members of institutions write clearly to convey a message and sound like someone you might actually want to call if you have a question?

What is fun about this book is that Zinsser uses stories from his own career, both as a professor and as a writer, in order to illustrate his points.  He also uses his own writing style to show you what feels comfortable and conveys an intended thought; and what leaves you wandering all over the page trying to figure out how you got there. He shares some of his own proofs and indicates the changes he made.

Zinsser also speaks to humanity in writing.  He shows you how to choose the correct voice for the occasion.  A lover of clear, uncluttered language, he provides an example from the Roosevelt administration.  When asked to write a memo about the blackout orders of 1942, a staffer presented this:

Such preparation shall be made as will completely obscure all Federal buildings and non-Federal buildings occupied by the Federal government during an air raid for any period of time from visibility by reason of internal or external illumination.

The President responded with: “Tell them that in buildings where they have to keep the work going to put something across the windows.”

Zinsser further illustrates “clutter” with this bit of humor:

It’s the language of the flight attendant demonstrating the oxygen mask that will drop down if the plane should run out of air.  “In the unlikely possibility that the aircraft should experience such an eventuality,” she begins – a phrase so oxygen-depriving in itself that we are prepared for any disaster.

So, with samples, humor, stories from his own career and a smattering of examples from published works; Zinsser takes you by the hand and leads you to the land of communication.  A land that the reader will want to visit because what you write is what you meant to say.

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Filed under My Bookshelf (and a movie or two), Stuff about Writing ~ Tips and Tools

Featured Title!

Just sharing another milestone!  Who I Am Yesterday is a featured title at WonderWorld.

This blog features various genres of ebooks of indie authors.  As it happens, my book made it to the front page!

This was made possible through friends at Facebook and community supporters.  Thanks everyone!  I really do appreciate it.

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Filed under Authored Works, Caregiving Backstage

Book Review – Plain and Simple

Plain and Simple, By: Sue Bender
Readily available for less than $15.00

I decided before writing this review I would glance through a few of the reviews on Amazon to get some idea of what other people were saying.  My, my.  Sometimes I wonder if I have read the same book!

Perhaps it’s me, but my viewpoint on the book was 180 degrees from some of the input on the website.  I found the book some years ago when I, too, was looking for a different viewpoint, a different way of seeing things.  Since there is an artist hidden somewhere inside of me, I was drawn to the description on the dust jacket that indicated the author was first drawn to the “idea of the Amish” through their art.  Most markedly their quilts.  Her first introduction to the quilts was in 1967.  Sometime later she was struck by another art form of the Amish; faceless dolls.  She sought out an Amish woman that would make two dolls for her since they are not something on the open market.  By 1982 her personal haunting found an outlet and she arranged to spend some time with an Amish family.  It was sometime later that she was able to arrange a second visit in a different community with slightly different personalities and traditions.

This is not a book about the Amish per se.  It is about a particular person’s search to find whatever quality it is that creates this quiet eye of the storm represented by Amish communities and craftsmanship.  She chose the analogy of the quilts because she was able to “rearrange the pieces” of her mental quilt to find the pattern most fulfilling and intriguing to her.  The faceless dolls also gave her food for thought and a basis of inner reflection regarding the way she looked at life.  Yes, the book is her book, centered on her beliefs, her experiences and her interpretations.  That is the point of a personal journey.  It is the reader’s choice whether or not to join the author on the journey.  Her perspectives of the people she shared her time with bear an honest stamp of, “Could I do that?” And, yet she shows respect for the way they have shaped their lives around a central idea and body of beliefs.  I think her quest was to find some central idea or belief to support her life choices.  As it happens, she does find the tools.  A later book describes her struggle to implement those tools.  Conversion experiences are always uplifting but it is a different thing to take that feeling home and incorporate it in your day to day life.

I found the book special to my own thought processes and recognized the struggle she had between the life we usually lead and the one that lives quietly within us.

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Filed under Humanties for the Unbound Mind, My Bookshelf (and a movie or two), My Bookshelf ~ Current times

Who I Am Yesterday, now available

Who I am Yesterday is now available through the publisher: https://www.createspace.com/3843895

The book and the Kindle version are also listed on Amazon.com.

To clarify for all my Canadian fans:  The book will not be listed on Amazon.ca for various reasons, some apparently rather obscure.  I noted some other books I am familiar with on that site and the prices are really out of line so I wouldn’t want you to pay from there anyway.  I am assured by the publisher that you can purchase direct from their website (noted above), or nearly any other Amazon site in the world.  I think Japan is another one that is not available (just saying).  So, it’s quite a jungle out there and you should take your compass with you!

Thank you, sincerely, for all the support I have received in the journey and the sharing of it.

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Filed under Authored Works, Caregiving Backstage

Entering the arena

The book has been released to the publisher.  My understanding is that it will be available to the market within the week.  I will, of course, post all relevant information as soon as I have it.  There will be a Kindle version probably early July.

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Nearing publication

Who I Am Yesterday should be released within the next week.  I have included a thumbnail of the cover in this post.  It has been quite a journey; both the actual writing and the story behind it.  Each day is a new adventure and adds another tale.  It is time, however, to share what I know and hope that it helps others facing this process.  This is the cover shot for all marketing channels.

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Marching ever closer

Well, the manuscript and the cover have been submitted to the publisher for review.  Also had to add a description for all those “distribution channels”.  I thought this was appropriate:

“This book is my personal journey through the first year of learning to manage the day to day joys and tribulations of living with a loved one’s dementia. It is a personal story which provides the foundation of the relationship that I have with my husband. It is also a journey of observation, a tale of learning and discovery, and a sharing of the coping mechanisms that worked for me.  Join me as I follow the incredible workings of the human mind and learn how to find humor in the midst of heartbreak.”

I guess the next step is something called a “Press Pack”. After all this and my head is already into the “next one”.  At least I won’t have to write that one in the middle of the night!


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Filed under Authored Works, Caregiving Backstage