Study Hall, Tuesday February 15: My Book Shelf

What’s on your imaginary bookshelf?

Connie May Fowler has several volumes on my Inspiration Shelf.

I have several special bookshelves in my office. One holds my inspiration books, volumes by writers I admire, whom I turn to now and then to figure out a writing issue or to get ginned up on words in preparation for a writing marathon. Another special shelf holds all the lit mags and anthologies where my work has been published. One very special shelf is part reality, part imaginary—the place where my own books, those I’ve already written and published, and those I hope to publish in the future, reside. However, all those volumes have names:

My book shelf:

Eve’s Garden

Sa-co-in-ge/blue smoke: Poems from the Southern Appalachians

Bird Talk

Chocolate and Roses (also known as The Man Who Loved Chocolate)

The Fruit of Queens


A Journey of Moths

Weed Sugar and Other Stories

A Gypsy Poet Walked into a Coffeeshop

Mountain Girls Play Jazz

They’re not wholly imaginary. The first three are reality, already in print. Each of the others have at least an outline, while the last two are collections of poems ive published separately over the years, for which I’m now seeking a publisher. Weed Sugar is, similarly, a collection of short stories and hybrid forms.

I really want to know what’s on your bookshelves. Do you also keep an inspiration shelf? What’s on your future dream shelf?

This one’s a reality.

Write With Me! Study Hall, Monday, Ecember 7, 2015


  The Kansas sky is a carpet of stars, so clear you can see the full sweep–well, of our arm, anyway–of the Milky Way, as we could along much of the East Coast when I was a child. Those days are long gone to vapor lights. 

I try to hold onto that thought as I help my future daughter-in-law and son navigate through a thicket of attitudes about children and animals that is stunning in its cruelty. More about that later. 

Writing requires one thing above all, something most writers know but find hard to practice: Keep your butt in the seat if you want to succeed. My recent workshop instructor, Laura van den Berg, had a much nicer way of putting it when asked about her productivity on the page: Try to touch your manuscript each day. Any way you put it, persistence is the difference between success and less than that. 

Today my family had a bit of a disaster concerning two pets that kept me away from our Study Hall and my writing. So, apologies, all. Now let’s get to work. 

Today, I’m going to fashion a new chapter in my second novel, tentatively titled The Man Who Loved Chocolate, which you might call a paean to kind men. Today I met a local government official who was anything but kind, and I’ll have him in the back of my mind as I continue the love story with the sweet-souled bookseller, David Bear. Sometimes it’s good to draw a real-life character’s opposite.

It’s important when the World deals you dirt to remember who you are and what you are worth. To hold onto your star. I hope yours is in sight as you navigate through your day. 

Now, what are YOU working on?

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