Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Summer reading

Written By: Jessica Morrell - May• 25•20

When I think of long-ago childhood summers, I think of reading. Dappled light filtered through maples is easing through my bedroom window or a heavy storm is pounding at the panes, and I am worlds away, lost in a story. There is nothing like the simple luxury of reading a good book.

With this in mind, I’m providing this link to The New York Times  wonderfully curated list of Summer Reads. These days I’m reading Paulette Jiles gorgeous novelSimon the Fiddler. Let me count the ways that Jiles is a writer’s writer. Glistening and hardy prose, impeccable research, quirky and endearing characters, and a poet’s eye for the world. Set during Reconstruction, it’s the tale of itinerant musicians scraping together a modest living amid uncertain times. Oh, and there is an epidemic underway that they’re trying to outrun.  Music holds the tale together and deeply speaks to the protagonist as in this lovely passage: “He knew he didn’t play music so much as walk into it,  as if into a palace of great riches, which opened into still other rooms, and in these rooms were courtyards and fountains with passageways to yet other mysterious spaces of melody, peculiar intervals, unheard notes.”

I promise Jiles’ figurative language, demonstrated in this passage, will inspire. And her characters will thereafter live within you.

With a debt of gratitude to all who have served this country and their families.

Keep writing, keep reading, keep washing your hands and wearing masks.

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