When Writers Look Like Their Book Collections

Miss Crankypants has the highest regard for other writers. She’d NEVER snoop in their fridge or open the junk drawer. But every now and then, when she visits another writer’s house, she casts a longing look at Other Author’s bookshelf. And finds out that just like people start to look like their pets, writers’ libraries resemble their owners too. 
The kind of library other authors have tells as much about them as say, their medicine cabinets. Not that Miss CP would ever snoop in another’s private collection of hair depilatories, magic breath deodorizers and ear wax removers.
But she gleefully passes judgment on their book collections.
Her finding? A lot of authors seem unable to give up the worst book on the planet, because it’s a book.  And these authors start to look like the books they cling to!
Miss CP’s library is a case in point. Why, oh why does she hang onto the 1980s book about writing magazine articles? It’s chock-full of old wrinkles about one-inch margins, eschewing onion-skin erasable typing paper, and including SASEs whatever they are. It’s as telling as the liver spot correction cream or Weight-loss Vibration Belt that’s hiding in her closet.
Then there’s the book that promises to fix “Twenty-three Common Writing Mistakes.” One of the chapters has the edict that no writer should ever write anything in first person. That’s like saying Miss CP should give up wearing the bronzer that makes her face glow radioactive orange. Miss CP loves first-person! She loves bronzer, too!
But her favorite writing-book-that-is-no-longer-helpful has to be the list of Literary Agents from the 1970s. Most of the agents listed in this little gem are dead. But can Miss Crankypants bear to part with this literary touchstone? No! She can’t bear to part with those high platform shoes that bring her up to a whopping five foot three, either.
The sad part is, Miss Crankypants is older than these geezer writing books. She’s starting to resemble a broken-spined, tattered cover version of an author. In order to infuse youth and energy into her library, she vows to buy only YA books. If the theory holds up, she’ll start looking like a sassy teen again in no time. Order more bronzer, a few more pairs of flip-flops and a zillion tight stretchy camisoles! Miss Crankypants can hardly wait!

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About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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