Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

dmccloskey's blog

Everyday Heroes

By Dennis McCloskey

In a discussion of the concept of heroism, the late U.S. President, Ronald Reagan, said he had read a report that indicated John Wayne was the last American hero. Reagan expressed sadness at the thought that we are living in a time when there are no heroes. Of course, he was wrong. There are heroes. They are everywhere. We just have to look all around us.

The Observant Writer

By Dennis McCloskey

The late, great New York Yankee player and manager, Yogi Berra, had an unorthodox way of expressing himself, like when he said: “You can observe a lot of things just by watching.” He’s the same guy who was asked why he never went to a certain New York City restaurant, and he replied: “No one goes there anymore because it’s too crowded.”

Oh, The People You'll Meet!

By Dennis McCloskey

In my last blog I extolled the virtues of travel and how I’ve gotten so many story ideas by visiting Europe, North Africa, and the four corners of the North American continent and a thousand points in between.

British novelist and poet Vita Sackville-West described travel as the most private of pleasures. “There is no greater bore than the travel bore,” she wrote. “We do not in the least want to hear what he has seen in Hong Kong.” I disagree with her 100%. I love hearing of the travel adventures of my friends and fellow writers. When they describe the fascination of walking along the Great Wall of China or the seeing the wonders of Prague architecture or Australia’s outback, it only makes me want to experience it first-hand.

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

by Dennis McCloskey

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself
Any direction you choose.

If you recognize the words that I have shamelessly copied from the famous Dr. Seuss book, you are probably one of the estimated 300,000 people who receive the book each year as a graduation or going away gift. I’ve done it many times: given the book to relatives young and old as they embark on the adventures of their lives.

Book Signings

By Dennis McCloskey

What if your publicist organized a book signing and no one came?

Ten thousand hours

By Dennis McCloskey

Are you willing to write for 10,000 hours to become one of the best in the writing business? I suspect that most aspiring writers are not, and that is why there are precious few big name commercial authors like the Grishams, Kings, Clancys, Bradfords, and Ludlums.

Joy of Discovery (Part II)

by Dennis McCloskey

A writer’s work is never done! With the blessing of my dear wife, Kris, I spent the evening of Thursday, December 18, 2008, in the company of 10 lovely women. We talked about my latest book (“My Favorite American”) for nearly four hours. All of them had read the book and all said they enjoyed it. Food and drinks were served throughout the evening. Man, do I love my work and my life!

Joy of Discovery (Part 1)

By Dennis McCloskey

There is a saying in the writing community that writers don’t like to compliment other writers. I don’t believe that’s true. I constantly toss “bouquets” to other writers, and my work is often on the receiving end of flattering comments from members of my profession.

Speak Up!

By Dennis McCloskey

If you have ever been asked to stand before an audience and “say a few words”, you might be familiar with the feeling I get when I’m called upon to perform one of the most difficult acts known to humankind: public speaking!

If you’re at all like me (and most of the rest of the human race), you get nervous before you speak in public. My muscles get tight; the blood drains from my face; my heart pounds like a beating drum; my mouth goes dry; I forget what I’m going to say; I tremble slightly; and I start by saying how happy I am to be there when I’d rather be home cleaning out the kitty litter box. I admit: I’m a scaredy cat when it comes to making speeches!

Writerly Advice (Part II)

By Dennis McCloskey

English novelist Somerset Maugham said there are three rules for writing the novel. “Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”

There is no shortage of people who are willing to “put a flea in your ear” about the best way to become a writer, or how to write a novel. But not everyone enjoys being on the receiving end of advice. Some writers balk at getting advice from other writers. U.S. playwright Lillian Hellman once said that writers are just “fancy talkers about themselves.” She added, rather dismissively: “If I had to give young writers advice I would say don’t listen to writers talking about writing or themselves.”

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