Interesting interview with a favorite author

Ann Patchett Shares Her Reading Resolutions for 2024

The author, most recently of ‘Tom Lake,’ talks about her to-be-read pile, running her beloved Nashville bookstore and when she gets her best writing done

Here’s a snippet from the WSJ article:

Are you an Ann Patchett fan? What are some of her books you like?
Who are your favorite authors?

What’s in a word?

Those words stuck with me because I enjoy idioms and finding out the etymology of words.

Spur of the moment — in great haste, referring to the use of spurs to urge a horse to move.

Above Board — a gambling term from the 17th century derived from card playing when cards had to be above the table in view. 

Underhand — the opposite of above board.

Aftermath — from the 17th century it means the result or consequence of something. In the 1500s it was called aftermowth and meant the second mowing of summer grass.

Ahead of the curve — became popular in the 1980s in business circles  referring to a graph and being ahead of trends or in the forefront.

Baloney — means rubbish or nonsense. Two theories are that it came from the Irish immigrants word blarney. Second, it’s Italian based on cheap bologna that is made of bits and pieces

Haywire — when things go wrong or out of control. In the early 1900s haywire was used to describe something poorly constructed. It was based on cheap wire that tangled easily and was used to bale hay.

Pass Muster — a military term from the 15 or 16th century where a soldier passes inspection. Now it means you undergo a review or examination successfully.

Make a clean sweep — now means to win everything but it originated with cleaning or sweeping in the 19th century.

What are some of your favorite sayings and where did the words originate from?

Here’s a video of the hawk enjoying a meal in our tree.

Doggin: A Dog Story

Here’s the story:


Copyright © Los Angeles Times

In real life, Doggin did catch a burglar. I don’t believe my husband and Doggin made it into the newspaper though. My husband said Doggin was a hound dog mix. I wish I had a photo of him to share.

What is your favorite breed of dog? Or do you prefer mutts or mixed? Or cats?

A California Times publication

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Bill would do what?

The Elements of Style was listed as one of the 100 best and most influential books written in English since 1923 by Time in its 2011 list.

I looked up to — or rather worshipped my older brother at the time. He was the golden boy who was smart, good looking and could do no wrong in my eyes as well as my parents.

What memories do you have of an internship or first job? What did you learn?

Amazon and fake AI books

Here’s a summary from Quartz:

Author Jane Friedman spotted more books on Amazon this week that falsely claimed to be written by her than ones she actually wrote.

At least five books under her name were taken down from Amazon yesterday (Aug. 8) after Friedman wrote a blog post on Aug. 7 detailing her experience finding books under her name being sold on Amazon and listed on Goodreads, the Amazon-owned social media and book-logging platform for readers.

Here’s another story about the fake IA books on Amazon:

Five books for sale on Amazon were removed after author Jane Friedman complained that the titles were falsely listed as being written by her. The books, which Friedman believes were written by AI, were also listed on the Amazon-owned reviews site Goodreads.

“It feels like a violation, because it’s really low quality material with my name on it,” Friedman told the Guardian. The Ohio-based author has written several books about the publishing industry, and the fraudulent titles mimicked her real work. How to Write and Publish an eBook Quickly and Make Money and A Step-by-Step Guide to Crafting Compelling eBooks, Building a Thriving Author Platform, and Maximizing Profitability were two of the listed books. Friedman’s real books include The Business of Being a Writer and Publishing 101.

One of the falsely attributed books’ descriptions read: “This book offers practical strategies, tips, and techniques to help writers streamline their writing process, accelerate their eBook publication timeline, and maximize their earning potential.”

Have you heard about this scam before? What are your thoughts about AI and writing?

Less is More

Sunrise view during a morning walk.

With vacation coming up and a busy schedule of getting things done before I leave, I’ve decided to change my blogging schedule. Currently, I’m posting Monday through Friday. I’m going to cut back to Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I think the new schedule will keep my blog fresher and also allow me time to work on other projects like revising a novel.

After reading Ally Bean’s AMA (Ask Me Anything) post, I learned a good tip from her.

From The Spectacled Bean:

“As a newbie I wish I’d understood that LESS IS MORE. Early on I drove myself batty posting daily, often long wordy posts, because I thought I was supposed to do that. But I learned otherwise and scaled back to a  weekly-ish schedule. Readers seem to respond positively to less from me, than to more from me. That’s the lesson. “

I know many people post seven days a week. I don’t know how they do it. I have the hardest time coming up with ideas five times a week, let alone daily. I need days off to recharge my brain.

I’ll try this new schedule for the rest of the summer and re-evaluate it in September.

What are your thoughts about “less is more?” What is your schedule for blogging?

It’s never too late!

This is a photo I found of Caeleb Dressel from last year. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s a seven-time Olympic gold medalist and world record-holder. I remember watching him swim years ago at meets with my daughter. They are the same age and he’s one of the top swimmers in the world.

I read something very encouraging. It was from the Wall Street Journal and here was the opening paragraph:

When are we our fastest, strongest and most creative?

Elite swimmers peak in their early 20s, powerlifters peak at 35 and equestrians later still, on average. Creativity peaks either very early in our careers or later, depending on how we think. Our ability to quickly absorb facts reaches its zenith in our late teens, while our vocabulary skills crest in our sixth decade.

This article is called: “Here’s When We Hit Our Physical and Mental Peaks: Even when we’ve peaked in one endeavor, we’re likely getting better in another written by Clare Ansberry.

I especially like the bit about our vocabulary skills improving into our sixth decade. That gives me hope.

Here’s more:

Economists, sports scientists and psychologists have analyzed Olympic performances and chess matches, as well as thousands of online quizzes to determine the average age when people peak mentally and physically. They are trying to understand how our brain and bodies work and if there are lessons on strengthening each. Checkmate Chess players’ performance rises sharply until ​the early 20s and peaks around the age of 35.

The good news is that while we may have peaked in one endeavor, we are likely getting better in another. 

“At every age, you are getting better at some things and worse at others,” says Joshua Hartshorne, an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College, who researches how various cognitive functions change with age.

I didn’t realize at the time I posted the photo above of Dressel (which I did because of the first words of the WSJ article “elite swimmers,”) that after almost a year off from swimming he swam at US Nationals last weekend. For swimmers, who practice six days a week, often two practices a day — a year is a lifetime.

He left the 2022 World Championships in Hungary while the meet was still going on. Everyone thought that was odd and the explanation was health reasons. Michael Phelps was one of the first Olympic athletes to talk about his struggles with mental health. I listened to Phelps discuss his battle with depression at an event and I wrote about it HERE.

Dressel returned to the pool at U.S. Nationals this past weekend, and from what I’ve read he feels like he’s in a good place and happy to be back. Although he didn’t make the US World team and was seconds off his best times (which as a sprinter is another lifetime) he has his sights set on 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. His coach and teammates say it’s the happiest they’ve seen him in years and his presence on the team is a huge plus for everyone.

Back to the article, above. I think it’s encouraging that although we may lose some skills as we get older, other ones get better as we age. I’m also happy for Caeleb Dressel that he was able to rekindle his love of swimming and took the time to get the weight of the world’s expectations off his shoulders.

Here’s an article from Sports Illustrated from called Caeleb Dressel Is Finally Content.

What are your thoughts?