– W.H Audi

“I came from a one syllable neighborhood.”

– Sammy Cahn (In speaking with pride that various of his lyrics had five syllables)

“Your duty is in bed.”

– General Douglas MacArthur (when asked by his mistress what she might contribute to the war effort)

“The streets don’t love nobody these days.”

– Anonymous Chicago crime victim:

“Be good and you will be lonesome.”

– Mark Twain

“I don’t want to go to heaven. None of my friends are there.”

– Oscar Wilde

“I gave up trying, it’s the first step toward failure.”

– Homer Simpson

“Whata you got?”

– Marlon Brando in the movie ‘The Wild Ones’

“To trust is good, not to trust is better.”

– Italian Proverb

“You can’t make a writer out of a born pharmacist.”

– Wallace Stegner

“This is the stuff dreams are made of.”

– Humphrey Bogart’s character in The Maltese Falcon (Based on the Dashiell Hammett novel)

“We’ll camp here.”

– John Wayne’s character drunkenly falling off his horse while leading his troops in the pursuit of Indians

“Overtime, just when you depend on it they’ll cut the sonofabitch.”

– Part of an overheard conversation

“It isn’t what you call me but what I answer to that is important.”

– African saying

“If I’m not for myself, who will be? If I am for myself only, what will I be to others?”

– Thomas Aquinas

“The Borgias ruled for thirty years and produced Di Vinci and Michelangelo. In Switzerland they practiced brotherhood and equality for five centuries and produced the cuckoo clock.”

– Orson Welles’ character ‘Harry Lime’ in The Third Man

“Sooner or later we all sit down to a banquet ofconsequences.”

– Robert Louis Stevenson

“I think and therefore it is true that…”

– Don Quixote (Cervantes)

“She was once an ex-wife of mine.”

– Jerry Jeff Walker

“Practicing an art has nothing to do with fame or money. You aregrowing your soul.”

– Kurt Vonnegut

“It’s always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it’s just hilarious.”

– Bill Hicks

“Life is divided into the horrible and the miserable.”

– Woody Allen

“In its transient integument called man the song flows on like the waters of eternity, washing all away, giving birth to all.”

– Isaac Babel

“Only the mediocre are always at their best.”

– H.L. Mencken

“Writing is a calling, it is not a way to make a living like piloting an airplane or selling mutual funds. You do it because you can’t help doing it.”

– Paul Gruchow

“No, why should I?”

– Yankee pitcher Don Larsen when asked if he ever got tired of talking about how he pitched the only perfect game in World Series history

“Understand that heroic acts won’t come from common people, but small good acts will.”

– Gandhi

“You don’t build a movement without a mimeograph machine.”

– Maggie Kuhn, one of the founders of the Grey Panthers

Frequently Asked Questions

What made you decide to become a writer?lkdj;faldsjflkjaslkdj90328409283-409832ojlafdj;lkfnalknv;lkadj9032u9042830432

I knew it involved a lot of sitting down and I was already accustomed to rejection.

What are some simple words of advice for people who want to become professional writers?

Marry well.

I read that Stephen King is a millionaire. Do most writers get rich?

Writing is an occupation in which there is also a 1% trend. A small number of writers earn the greatest share of money spent on books. And like in the real world of actors, business people, politicians, and everyone else, talent and hard work aren’t everything. Luck is also important. Many of the finest writers alive must supplement their writing earnings through teaching or other jobs.

Why are books so expensive?

If you are a reader and I hope you are, consider how many hours of enlightenment or entertainment you get from a book. Let’s say you spend twenty hours reading a book that costs you twenty dollars. That means you’ve paid a dollar an hour for an experience that is likely to be lasting in your memory. When you are through you still have the book. If you borrow the book from a library, it costs you nothing. If you spend ten dollars to go to a two-hour movie you are paying five dollars an hour for gaining impressions that will likely disappear by tomorrow.

How do you write things that are funny?

Don’t try too hard.

What is your favorite book? 

Often, it is the last one I’ve read. Over time there are four that I’ve read more than once: GRAPES of WRATH (John Steinbeck), THE GREAT GATSBY (F. Scott Fitrzgerald), ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (Erich Maria Remarque), ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)  

Who are your favorite writers? 

In addition to the above: Alice Munro, Raymond Carver, Graham Greene, and many others.  

I’ve heard it takes a long time to learn to become a writer who makes a decent living. What is a good trick to help me get by while I am learning? 


What exactly is a so-called “Work in Progress?”

An excuse.  

Where do you get your ideas?

There is no special knack. They arise from everyday living and curiosity. Many non-writers possess much more vivid imaginations than mine. John McPhee, a wonderful writer of nonfiction, says that ideas are like flotsam in a stream. There are always more coming around the bend.


This is what you shall do; Love the earth and sun and the animals,

despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy,

devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have

patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or

unknown or to any man or number of men, re-examine all you have been told at school

or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh

shall be a great poem.

Walt Whitman

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire a-flame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And someone called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done,

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.

William Butler Yeats

The Walking Man

I see him along the road, 

a journeyman in all seasons.

His legs are relentless against harshest air,

with the muscled arms pumping,

driving his fists upward

toward the visor of his cap.

The black glasses fix their shadows, 

showing holes for eyes,

his skull reaching, but never passing,

the limit of my land.

But on some late dawn, I know,

with the scant leaves hardly noted,

he will pass the car’s way,

front my small house and bid me

with a toss of his grim chin

to walk the downhill with him.

Or on a road riven by frost,

I shall rush to match his steps,

to heed the dare, keep the promise,

and take the closing curve.

And so we’ll pass at last,

in his wise smiled silence,

the pavement’s end together.

Paul M. Hedeen
(from When I Think About Rain)

Unusual or Oddddddddddd

  • Ray Fosse, the baseball player who Pete Rose ran over during the 1971 All Star game contributing to the shortening of his (Fosse’s) career, was born in Marion, Illinois where Rose later went to prison for income tax violations.
  • King George IV of England who was barely five feet tall, on a visit to Edinburgh kissed all 200 ladies present for his reception, then when offered a choice of desserts between pie and pudding selected both. Hence the rhyme: Georgie Porgie, Pudding, Pie. . .
  • Reality check? In Hannibal, Missouri you can see the fence that Tom Sawyer whitewashed and the jail that housed Huck’s dad. These sites are promoted as if they were part of actual history.
  • In certain religious orders monks build and then sleep in their own coffins to remind them of eternity.
  • In my travels I’ve driven on the following streets or highways:
    – Johnny Cake Road (Apply Valley, Minnesota)
    – Egg and I Road (Near Port Townsend, Washington)
    – Oink Joint Road (Western Minnesota)
  • A couple computers ago I had an email from Microsoft that said “your storage is growing” which I read as “your strangeness” and wondered how they knew.
  • I was once in a remote part of Alaska where I believed that I was beyond the reach of pop culture and was grateful for it when I heard one young Inuit girl say to another: “Did Fergie have her baby yet?”
  • While traveling in Prague I came upon a demonstration of some kind. Our guide told us to ignore it, to not get too close, and that if we paid no attention it would soon be over. I found that attitude remarkably interesting considering the history of the region. The guide was young. I wonder if she realized what her life would be like if her parents and grandparents had avoiding protesting.
  • Don’t know what to cook for dinner tonight? Here’s something easy, fast, and cheap:
    (From Laura Ingalls Wilder cookbook)
    Mix some flour and salt, boil it a while, bake it, poke holes in it with an 8 penny nail.
  • Horrible irony: the cell phones ringing in the pockets of Virginia Tech massacre victims.
  • Love lasts. Tess Gallagher rubbed Raymond Carver’s feet just after he died because that’s what he liked having done while alive.
  • “John Gill of Rockville Center, Long Island, was thrown 50 feet when a train struck his truck which was loaded with mattresses. Luckily, John landed on one of them unharmed” –Pages from the Past’ 60 years ago Turtle Mountain Star, 1/28/1988