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Len Boswell's Blog

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Oct.17.2012
This, my second post on the subject of learning a language, was prompted by another flashback to the Frankfurt Book Fair. (See also my first post, Language at the Speed of Sound.) After a long day at the fair selling translation rights to people from different countries at meetings spaced just...
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Oct.16.2012
Many years ago I made a last-minute decision to attend the Frankfurt Book Fair, only to discover that the closest hotel available was more than 100 miles from the city. Fortunately, my travel agent had a solution. She would call her best friend Bruno in Frankfurt and see if he could arrange for me...
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Sep.14.2012
I wrote my first novel, Cinemabibliomaximus, a few years ago and sent out a query letter that began . . . Imagine what would happen if the writing of a novel, the writing of the script based on that novel, and the filming of the movie based on that script were going on simultaneously, and the lines...
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Aug.27.2012
I am enjoyin' my coffee after an action-packed commute on the Marta train in Atlanta this morning. The homeless man at the back of the train, snoring loudly, a puddle of his urine forming rivulets each time the train slows for a stop, yellow fingers reaching out for the passengers, who lift...
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Aug.23.2012
The agent, who specialized in business books, thought the book was “wonderful, just the sort of thing people are looking for, a quick read with valuable content.” Publishers thought the book was wonderful, too: “I can’t remember when I’ve had a more enjoyable reading experience . . .” “This is...
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Jul.26.2012
“Never wander into a paragraph,” she said, scolding me. “Give your thought some thought.” It was 1972, and I was being taken to task by Olive Mills, our senior editor and my writing mentor. The same admonition would be repeated over and over again until I got it right. Paragraphing did not come...
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Jul.10.2012
The attic in the house we just bought from the old man is alive with antiquities and memories he refuses to take with him. Dusty old portraits showing sour-faced old men and women in their early Eighteenth Century best. A Civil War diary written with a cursive flourish by a young girl pining for...
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Jun.21.2012
“They found the corpse on the eighth of July just after three o’clock in the afternoon.” The year is 1965. Mary Quant invents the Mini Skirt. The hills are alive with “The Sound of Music.” The Vietnam War rages on.  Newborn J. K. Rowling cries in her crib like any other Muggle baby. Stieg...
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Jun.07.2012
When a book is required reading and we follow through by actually reading it, even though every word may seem a hurdle, do we ever feel the same about that book or that writer ever again? And when a friend rushes up to us and shoves a book by that author into our hands and proclaims it to be the...
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May.17.2012
edwardgorey.jpg
If you’ve ever watched an episode of Mystery! on PBS, you’re familiar with the work of my favorite illustrator: Edward Gorey. Whether you consider his illustrations Victorian, Edwardian, or Gothic, all remind us that life is far from a bowl of cherries, that life is filled as much with pits and...
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May.04.2012
The startling news about a certain cookie changing its name prompted this boyhood memory . . . Growing up I shared a bedroom with my younger brother, Kenny, who hated me intensely but seemed to accept everything I said as gospel. For example, I had him convinced that Sir Isaac Newton’s law of...
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Apr.27.2012
So I get on the Marta train this morning, and this old man sitting opposite me, clearly drunk, squints at me and says, "How old are you?" It's an amazing question, because today is my birthday. So I answer, and he is incredulous. "That would make you older than me, and I look like shit." "Um...
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Apr.26.2012
I have no objection to a “no winner” outcome for the Pulitzer Prize; in fact, I think such an outcome lends credibility to the award and enhances its image as a major achievement.  I am reminded of Little League award ceremonies, where every player receives a trophy, even that little right...
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Feb.16.2012
When the doctor grabbed me by the ankles, lifted me in the air, and smacked me hard on my bottom, I knew I would be a writer. After all, even though I was “a brilliant little boy,” to use my mother’s completely objective words as she lay there postpartum , the best that I could vocalize was, “Goo-...
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Jan.26.2012
On October 12, 802701, a time machine bearing actor Rod Taylor suddenly appeared in a fantastical landscape. It was a bad day for the Morlocks and a good day for the Eloi. And for a 17-year-old boy sitting in the balcony of the Coral Hills Theater, watching The Time Machine for the first time, a...
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