Heigh-Ho, January! Sane (and Fun) Writing Goals for the New Year

Typebars in a 1920s typewriter

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January, although frigid and dreary, has a few compensatory gifts up its wintry sleeve that no other month can offer: a chance to rewind the clock to start, a vague idea that anything is possible, and a sense of euphoria that can only be found when the year is in its first blush. Although these feelings naturally fade as the temperature rises, you should be able to use this energy all year-long. The goals I have in mind aren’t tauntingly out of reach, nor must they be broken down into a dozen discouraging steps; they could just as easily be called Life Skills for Writers. Continue reading


A Year in Books/Day 2: The Matinee Idols

  • Title: The Matinee Idols
  • Author: David Carroll
  • Year Published: 1972 (Galahad Books New York)
  • Year Purchased: 1990’s
  • Source: Book Harbor, Columbus, Ohio
  • About: This slim volume covers all of the great American and British matinee idols of theatre and film, from John Wilkes Booth (yes, that one) to John Gilbert.
  • Motivation: I’ve loved all things related to silent cinema and the theatre since I was a child. It paid off because, as an adult, I have dedicated a meaty chunk of my professional output to the former.
  • Times Read: 3
  • Random Excerpt/Page 71: “Murmurs of excitement are heard in the audience as he displays a mounting fury over Fedora’s cross-examination. Fedora cajoles him, pleads with him, screams at him, then accuses him directly of the murder, but he denies the crime. Fedora throws herself at his feet and the scene builds to a point of almost unbearable tension. Finally he snaps.”
  • Happiness Scale: 8

A Year in Books/Day 1: February House

  • Title: February House
  • Author: Sherill Tippins
  • Year Published: 2005 (Houghton Mifflin Company)
  • Year Purchased: 2008
  • Source: Daedalus Books
  • About: The true story of how Carson McCullers, Paul and Jane Bowles, Benjamin Britten, Gypsy Rose Lee and W.H. Auden all came to live under one roof, in a Brooklyn brownstone, during the early 1940’s.
  • Motivation: The combination of Auden and McCullers, and the quirky communal living aspect, was irresistible.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 111: “And now-running after the fire engine, laughing, and shivering in the night air-Carson experienced the moment of illumination for which she had been praying. The key to her novel, the image that would allow her to continue, had emerged at last. “I caught Gypsy’s arm,” she would recall, “and out of breath said, ‘Frankie is in love with her brother and his bride and wants to become a member of the wedding!’
  • Happiness Scale: 7

Project 366: A Year in Books

My goal for A Small Press Life’s version of Project 365 366 is a simple one: to catalogue the vital statistics of one book per day from my collection. I have long been openly fascinated by the psychology of book buying. My own history is full of a long list of complex motivations; I have never, to the best of my memory, chosen a book due to boredom or indifference. As a life-long passionate reader, a sense of excitement has accompanied every ring of the cash register. As the year wears on, I hope to occasionally spotlight others’ books as well. Each entry will show basic information, a random excerpt and a photograph.