The Paw Paw River Journal
Advice to writers How did I get interested in writing? I grew up reading the old Hartford Day Spring, and Editor Don Cochrane’s trenchant and pithy columns. I taught writing and literature for years. And after my Chief Accountant and I retired and moved back to Hartford, I started writing in earnest. Since then I have a shelf of more than 125 journals, four books, and almost 2,000 columns. Yes, I still enjoy it, and that same Chief Accountant looks on my almost constant scribbling with appreciation and love. She says it keeps me out of the pool rooms and other dens of iniquity! But this lady also serves another important purpose in my writing career. For illustration let me go to the Autobiography of Mark Twain. The man who invented Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn from his boyhood days on the Mississippi River is considered to be one of our greatest writers. And you know the old saying: “Behind every great man there is a woman nagging him on!” Well, that may be an exaggeration, but in his autobiography, Mark Twain quotes his small daughter, Susie, after being asked by a reporter if she knew what her famous father did for a living. She replied, “Yes, Papa writes books, and Mama ex-pur-gates them!” My Webster’s says that to expurgate means to remove objectionable sections from a written manuscript. Now I would not have the cheek to compare myself to that great man, but my Chief Accountant is always willing to listen whilst I read to her something I have written. Thus I pass through her filter the stories that wind up in this newspaper. And occasionally she has said, “Bud… do you really think you ought to say that?” I do respect her judgment. Thus my belief that a writer should have a sounding board… someone of whom he or she can bounce ideas. Some people may be able to write in solitude with no feedback, but I’m just not one of them. When I was teaching in Ann Arbor, I had a friend who was a published poet (God rest his soul). I was pleased when he told me that he liked to bounce ideas off my mind… helped to crystallize his poems if he could talk about them to someone. On the other hand, I’ve known people whom I thought could be terrific writers… but they liked to talk about their ideas so much they really didn’t get many of them down on paper. One friend of ours here in Hartford said he had a real history of our home town in the planning. When I asked him how much of it he had written, he tapped his forehead and said, “I’ve got it all right up here!” Then he was stricken with a fatal heart attack… it was still in there. More than thirty five years ago I began my servitude as an ink-stained wretch down at The Tri-City Record, in a manner of speaking. This publication has a long and illustrious history. Karl and Annie Bayer wanted to own a small town paper… and here was one for sale. So they moved to Watervliet. I started writing a feature column for them, and the rest is history! Every week I turned in a typed column, and Bonnie Bannen or one of the other girls retyped it and set it up as a dummy paper to be turned into newsprint. Then I got my first computer, and Karl went to computer typesetting. That meant I could send in my copy as an email attachment, and they turned it right into a computer page of the newspaper. I could even scan and send a picture if I wished to use one with the column. Now this was more like downtown! And I’m sure it simplified getting the paper out every week. Back in the day when I was a teacher and began a class, first day of the semester some of my opening remarks were on the necessity of getting ideas down on paper. I would always say, “Starting a new semester is exciting… I never know when I’m going to have a great writer or scientist who is just at the start of his or her career. Why… in one of these classes there may be another Ernest Hemingway, Jonas Salk, Albert Schweitzer, or Martin Luther King Jr.” At this juncture the students would be rolling their eyes at each other and wondering… is he kidding us? But you know, that made them all hustle a little more. And I had students who went on to illustrious careers. I don’t mean to say it was because of me… no, the promise was already there. Hope I nudged it along a little! Even to this day I have readers / friends who are in interested in writing. I try to encourage them in any way I can. By this time I’m sure you’ve figured out that I love the written word. I’m still teaching writing, and I’d do a seminar in a phone booth on that! I’ve had students who went on with their writing, and students who did not. One other remark I always made to my classes was… “The difference between a writer and a non-writer is that the writer writes!” That means putting pen to paper… or fingers to keyboard. And it is what I have been doing for years in this storybook town along the Paw Paw River… for better, or worse!
Coloma Library News Spoon Man performance Come and get “SPOONED” at the Coloma Public Library on Friday, July 27 at 10:30 a.m. The “Spoon Man” is a published author who offers a hilarious interactive comedy program for all ages. He gives a real stirring performance. Everyone will really eat him up. No bibs required. The “Spoon Man” has a totally clean act. He never uses dirty silverware. The “Spoon Man” will leave a lasting impression after playing on you (literally). It’s a spoonful of family fun. Libraries Rock! The Coloma Public Library presents “Libraries Rock” during their summer library program. Sign up today! The 2018 Summer Reading Program is open to all young people. There will be programs, prize drawings, storytimes, a reading club, and more for the whole family. Check the library’s website at www.colomapubliclibrary.net for information on upcoming programs. All programs are free of charge. Story Hour Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Toddlers and preschoolers are invited to hear a story, make a craft and sing a song with Miss Amy. There is no sign-up or fee required. It is asked that all children be supervised by an adult during Story Hour. Book Club The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, July 26 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Between Shades of Grey” by Ruta Sepetys. Call 468-3431 with questions on any Coloma library activity.
Watervliet District Library News Hopie Jo Live @ the Library Thursday, July 26, 7 p.m. Hope Thomas, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and ukulelist, brings her unique brand of alternative folk to the Watervliet Library. Vocals as smooth as silk and sweet acoustics make Hopie Jo’s performance a musical treat! Summer Reading Program July 19 Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Instrument Petting Zoo July 26 Ice Cream Party Pinteresting Monday, July 30, 6:30-8:00 p.m. Arts & Craft for Grown-ups: This month – Distressed Wood Flag Volunteer Nothing looks better on a resume! Best times to help out: Mondays & Thursdays, program times. Stop by to pick up a form. Library Garden Park Purchase a Legacy Walk brick and celebrate a memory! Bricks are $75; 13 characters, 2 lines. Pick up a form at the library. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m.; Wed 7 – 8 p.m.; Chair Yoga – Wed 6:00 – 6:45 p.m.