Thursday, April 23, 2009


Had fun with the Middle Schoolers at that workshop last week. Went to the winter sock drawer and pulled out a dozen heavy old socks from my logging days and dropped various objects inside. Passed them around and heard a lot of "Ewwwws!" and "Yukkkks!" I assured them they were freshly laundered and that they wouldn't get any cooties from inserting their hands therein. The writing exercise was to describe the hidden object in twelve words or more. Pretty interesting. Some students wrote two paragraphs. Some could barely get five words down. Some descriptions were general and vague. Some were highly specific. All were entertaining. It was fascinating to watch hands go into Dirty Old Socks and see words come out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


"Taught" a workshop last Friday. Eleven middle-school writers. What actually happened was, they taught me. Sure I led the discussion. Sure I provided some writing exercises. Sure I knew more about writing than they did. But, guess what? They taught me more than I taught them. The taught me to be enthused about writing. They were gung ho about their words. They read their poems with pride and gusto. They didn't defend their work. They didn't whine about being unpublished. They just wrote what they wrote and read what they read. As they say on the dragstrip, "They run what they brung." Exceedingly refreshing. Thanks folks. You made my day. my week, my month.

On another note. If you want to see an interesting site, visit Chris Forman is an excellent writer, the real deal.

Finally...any chance you'd be willing to refer someone to follow this blog? It's a numbers game and I enjoy seeing the followers list grow. I keep inviting folks. They say they'll follow, but then they never sign up. Maybe you'd have better luck. It's easier on Facebook. But this is the SPI blog and I'm supposed to "build" it. Why? Because I'm the publisher.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


Been in touch the last couple of weeks with Melissa Ellefson of Duluth, Minnesota. She's a writer who is crafting a compelling life story. You see, Melissa was a drunk. A drunk of Jim Frey proportions. Her first three chapters were captivating. She effectively communicated her craving, her outlandish need for booze, her compulsion. And she describes some pretty out there behavior. Trouble is, the book's not done. She want's a publisher to "believe" in her writing, to use her word.

So, there you have it. Who is going to have faith in this situation?

She wants me to believe in her story, offer to publish it, and go forth into the cold, cruel, world of mayhem known as publishing a book, so that she can continue writing with a guarantee.

Okay, scene change...

My basement. The "warehouse" for 20,000 some odd Savage Press books that have not sold in the last 20 years. I'm looking for a book that we published in 1997. Someone want's five copies. What has driven me into the catacombs to battle a bizillion dust mites with only two partially functioning nostrils? Someone wants five copies of a book that was published 12 years ago. Oh my frikking God! A customer!! An actual paying customer!!!

Okay, maybe I should be writing daytime drama. But, there you have it. Who is going to have faith in a book? It starts with the author writing, without (for the most part) assurance that their story will ever be read. Maybe, if the writer is lucky and the publisher is a blind man searching around in his dark basement for five copies amid 20,000, just maybe, five readers out there in the world of millions and millions of readers, will have the good fortune of getting their need to read met by that blind man.

And the writer? The writer will have passed away years ago never having known that his work would someday be in "popular" demand by five souls still living and breathing and having their being on this plane of existence.

So, there you have it again. Faith. Who has the most faith? From whence cometh faith?

Two words, friends. Two words to the four people who follow this blog.


John 1:14 says that the word became flesh and dwelt among us. The WRITER makes the word flesh and it dwells among us. Not the publisher. Not the reader.


Monday, April 13, 2009

The Old Forge Press

Met an interesting guy in Ireland named P.J. Curtis, musician, musicologist, author. He lives in the old, old, old, house handed down to him from generations ago. I'd read his book, The Lightning Tree, a fascinating account of life in Ireland before the Celtic Tiger. The book reports on all the old ways, the healing, the herbalism, the mysticism, the "Hunger," the religious abuse. P.J.'s father was the village of Kilnaboy's blacksmith...hence the name, The Old Forge...and did not approve of the boy's love of reading and music, so, at sixteen years young, the boy ran away to, of all places, Liverpool where he played in the era when the Beatles were learning their music. P.J. is a real fascinating guy. The photo is of him holding forth while seated in the hearth of his "loovly, loovly" home filled with ancient artifacts. Visiting his site is pretty informative. The URL is above

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


Hey, sometimes it just make snese to leave the misteak bee. Purposful earerrs kan gather mucho extension & evn chrarm yer reeders. Lik dis sign...

Cents whren does white pines eat dear? I din't no dat pie-ens were carnivvrous even.

Monday, April 6, 2009


This clock is a great reminder that anytime is a good time to read!

I took this picture outside a bookstore on Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts which reminded me that there's so much to read, but so little time to do it.

I'm staying with a friend who owns more books than anyone I know. The house is filled with books of every genre. Bookcases are in every room, neatly stacked with titles ranging from out-of-print collector's items to New York Times bestsellers. Because he was getting over-run with so many volumes, when the Kindle first came out, he was one of the first to pre-order it and is now on the 2nd generation Kindle which he loves even more. Greater storage means more books to read.

But even with the electronic technology available today, nothing compares to holding a real book in your hands and turning the pages.

A restaurant called Cafe Moxie was next to the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore and it burned down last Fourth of July, also devastating the bookstore. Bunch of Grapes, a Vineyard establishment since 1975 has moved to another temporary building nearby which I visited today. I learned that the clock had been stopped at 9:57 am on July 4 since the power went out on Main Street in Vineyard Haven. It was repaired, synced by satellite, and started ticking again on October 22, 2009.

It's a reminder that even though the economy is not great, the conventional wisdom that independent booksellers are a dying business doesn't have to be true. It's also a symbol that the town will once again be moving forward.

The bookstore is due to re-open in a few months and the owner is optimistic that it will be better than ever with an interior that is bound to bid customers to sit and read for a while in new comfortable chairs and a sofa with a book in hand. The owner says she feels confident that the bookstore will continue to flourish because they're living on a very literary Island in a very literary society where people still value the printed word. When Bill Clinton was president, the Island was a favorite vacation spot and he liked going to Bunch of Grapes. They had to close the store down for security purposes so he could browse the books like an ordinary man. The people who were in the bookstore at the time, didn't mind being locked in for a while and ignored him. Then after a while, he went up to someone and said, "Don't you know who I am?" and shook hands with them. Once a politician, always a politician.

Reading takes time, but when you read a good book, it's so rewarding. You appreciate the author's efforts as well as the enjoyment you get out of a good story whether it's fiction or non-fiction. It does something to your brain to make you want to read more books by the same author or the same subject. Like an addiction, books are so pleasurable. It's a good, healthy addiction though.

Keep buying and keep reading!

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Been interesting the last day or two, having no access to the blog. I was trying to post a guest blog by Candy Fraser and it wouldn't propagate. Contacted Wizard Larry who went to work on the problem. In the meantime I found it instructive to observe how important the Internet is to me. Even if it is minimally true, I believe people out there are "listening" to my posts. Here's what's important:

I have a voice.

I speak.

People listen.

So, there you have it, the essence of writing.

Think about it.

PS: Sorry about the delay, Candy. I'll get your words and photos up next week ASAP.