January 19

Birthdays: Edgar Allan Poe (1809), Alexander Woollcott (1887), Patricia Highsmith (1921),  Jean-Francois Revel (1924), Nina Bawden (1925), Margaret George (1943), Julian Barnes (1946), Paula Deen (1947), Eden Robinson (1968), Casey Sherman (1969), Edwidge Danticat (1969)

Edwidge Danticat is a Haitian-American author whose books have been nominated for multiple awards and “The Farming of Bones” won the American Book Award.

Patricia Highsmith was an American author (d.1995) whose psychological thrillers were adapted into more than twenty films, including “The Talented Mr. Ripley”.

Quote: “When you read a great book, you don’t escape from life, you plunge deeper into it.” – Julian Barnes

Tip: Look out for dangling modifiers. This happens when a modifier has nothing to modify. For instance: “Having run through the mud, new shoes were needed.”  In this sentence, there’s an action (having run) but no subject. A better way of writing this would be: Having run through the mud, Joan needed new shoes. Even better: Joan ran through the mud and now needed new shoes.

Jumpstart: In addition to being National Hot Tea Month, January is also National Oatmeal and National Soup month. Create a menu for your character using these three basics. Would s/he go for elegant or simple? Would s/he eat in a restaurant, diner, or at home? Alone or with someone? Write the scene.

Who hasn’t read Poe? I loved his books as a teen, and still do. They get into your head. From “The Telltale Heart” to “A Cask of Amontillado” to his poems like “The Raven” or “The Bells”, they are works that will live forever.

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