amreading Poems writer's inspiration

He could not stop writing poems

But no matter how many babies he delivered,

no matter how many sick people he cured,

Willie could not stop writing poems.

A River of Words is a short, illustrated book about the life of Dr. William Carlos Williams.

His life, as both doctor and poet is inspirational.

I keep this book close by.

You should too.

From: A River of Words

Written by: Jen Bryant

Illustrated by: Melissa Sweet


Reading on a whim

Peeling back pages.

Pen at hand, underlining

the mysterious.

4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday: Joe Kubert’s Tor: A Prehistoric Odyssey

Dream state

The late Joe Kubert was one of the finest comic book artists of his generation. He was also an underrated paleo-artist.

TOR – A Prehistoric Odyssey unleashes Joe’s paleo-chops. The panels are filled to the brim with not only Dinosaurs, but Sabre-tooth tigers, giant squids, prehistoric alligators, and yeti as well.

amreading Commonplace Book

Jhumpa Lahiri and Ernest Hemingway’s adoration of far away lands

I’m opening 2020 reading Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast and Jhumpa Lahiri‘s In Other Words.

This wasn’t a planned joint reading adventure, but there was a natural connection between the two – the deep adoration both authors shared for their temporary homes.

Lahiri on the sounds of Florence that captured her:

– But from the start my relationship with Italy is as auditory as it is visual. Although there aren’t many cars, the city is humming. I’m aware of a sound that I like, of conversations, phrases, words that I hear wherever I go. As if the whole city were a theater in which a slightly restless audience is chatting before the show begins. I hear the excitement of children wishing each other buon Natale – merry Christmas – on the street. I hear the tenderness with which, one morning at the hotel, the woman who cleans the room asks me: Avete dormito bene? Did you sleep well? When a man behind me on the sidewalk wants to pass, I hear the slight impatience with which he asks: Permesson? May I?

In Other Words, pg 13,15. Lahiri, Jhumpa

Hemingway on the coming Paris Spring:

With so many trees in the city, you could see the spring coming each day until a night of warm wind would bring it suddenly in one morning. Sometimes the heavy cold rains would beat it back so that it would seem that it would never come and that you were losing a season out of your life. This was the only truly sad time in Paris because it was unnatural. You expected to be sad in the fall. Part of you died each year when the leaves fell from the trees and their branches were bare against the wind and the cold, wintry light. But you knew there would always be the spring, as you knew the river would flow again after it was frozen. When the cold rains kept on and killed the spring, it was as though a young person had died for no reason.

In those days, though, the spring always came finally but it was frightening that it had nearly failed.

A Moveable Feast, pg48. Hemingway, Ernest

4Panel Friday amreading Art comics

Four Panel Friday: Making Comics – Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels


There’s plenty of how-to guides for making comics out there. Still, I can’t think of one as comprehensive as Scott McCloud‘s Making Comics.

Though first published in 2006, Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga, and Graphic Novels holds up. Even chapter 7, The Comics Professional, still shares sage advice to aspiring comic writers and artists alike.

amreading Commonplace Book

Life Lessons from The Name of the Wind

As I continue reading The Name of the Wind, I keep noticing Patrick Rothfuss drop small wisdom nuggets in each chapter.

Some of them apply to the real world:

On doing business with a tinker:

Still, it’s never wise to look eager to sell.

The Name of the Wind: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, pg 524. Patrick Rothfuss

On negotiating for a horse:

I spoke with certainty in my voice, but no hope in my heart. He was a gorgeous animal, and his coloring made him worth at least twenty talents. Still I’d go through the motions and hope to squeeze the man down to nineteen.

The Name of the Wind: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, pg 519, 520. Patrick Rothfuss

On using common sense when dating:

I might not be one of you University folk, but I can see the moon on a clear night. I’m smart enough not to stick my hand in the same fire twice.

The Name of the Wind: 10th Anniversary Deluxe Edition, pg 491 Patrick Rothfuss
amreading Poems

New Years Walt Whitman Special: Great are the Myths pt.11

Great is language….it is the mightiest of sciences,

It is the fulness and color and form and diversity of the

earth….and of men and women….and of all

qualities and processes;

It is greater than wealth….it is greater than buildings or

ships or religions or paintings or music.

Let Walt Whitman bring in 2020.

Happy New Year!

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.158

amreading Poems

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.10

The truth in man is no dictum….it is vital as eyesight,

If there be any soul there is truth….if there be man or

woman there is truth….If there be physical or

moral there is truth,

If there be equilibrium or volition there is truth…..if

there be things at all upon the earth there is truth.

O truth of the earth! O truth of things! I am determined

to press the whole way toward you,

Sound your voice! I scale mountains or dive in the sea

after you.

Walt Whitman often speaks of balance in his poems by calling out life’s opposite forces.

If there be man or woman there is truth

If there be physical or moral

I scale mountains or dive in the sea

Each example is an opposite. Each noun or verb needs the other to exist.

From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.158

amreading comics Commonplace Book writer's inspiration

Neil Gaiman on that bastard medium – comics

A comic tends to be a small enough, personal enough, medium that a creator can just make art, tell stories, and see if anyone wants to read them. Not having to be liked is enormously liberating. The comic is, joyfully, a bastard medium that has borrowed its vocabulary and ideas from literature, science fiction, poetry, fine art, diaries, film, and illustration. It would be nice to think that comics, and those of us who come from a comics background, bring something special to film. An insouciance, perhaps, or a willingness to do our learning and experimenting in public.

Neil Gaiman, The View from the cheap seats, On Comics and Films: 2006. Pg 224.

I won’t lie here. I did have to look up insouciance.

amreading Poems

Walt Whitman: Great are the Myths pt.9

Great is the greatest nation..the nation of clusters of

equal nations.

Great is the earth, and the way it became what it is,

Do you imagine it is stopped at this?….and the increase


Understand then that it goes as far onward from this as

this is from the times when it lay in covering waters

and gases.

Great is the quality of truth in man,

The quality of truth in man supports itself through all


It is inevitably in the man….He and it are in love, and

never leave each other.

A bit about Whitman the man:

Whitman was a Brooklyn native. He was born in West Hills, Huntington Township, New York, but his father moved the family to Brooklyn in search of building work.

His background is a familiar one to writers of all generations.

He held down various day jobs – office boy, teacher, printer, freelance journalist.

He worked for a variety of papers in New York City – the Aurora and Evening Tattler (How could you not read a paper named the Evening Tattler?) among them. He even ran a housebuilding business.

Throughout this time though he was writing, publishing poems, literary prose and sketches.


From: Leaves of Grass 150th Anniversary Edition (Penguin Classics), pgs.157,158

and Walt Whitman: Poetry and Prose (Library of America) pgs. 1347,1348