Tag Archives: writing

The LOTR Mouthwash

I remember a letter that Lewis wrote to someone who read the newspapers and he said “if you must read newspapers and magazines at least give yourself a mouthwash with The Lord of the Rings.” I think we all read newspapers and magazines and see this horrid modern language, and we’re used to shoddy writing and shoddy imagining, and I think we all need one great book to have a mouthwash with, once a year. It’s absolutely required.

– Walter Hooper, C.S. Lewis’s personal secretary, from “Tolkien: A Celebration”


Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Quotations


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“Foreword!” He Wrote

Advance Sample Excerpt of “The Core of Johnny Appleseed” by Ray Silverman

No, I didn’t just misspell a political slogan.

The title of this post is a shameless ploy to get your attention so I can share a story with you. I hope this little tale will offer a bit of encouragement, especially to my fellow bloggers out there. If you’re not a blogger, well, you’ll see that blessings can drop into your lap when you least expect it.

Back in the middle of June I did a book review of “Better Known As Johnny Appleseed,” by Mabel Leigh Hunt. Two days after I posted it, I received a comment from a gentleman named Ray Silverman, who was working on a new book about Johnny Appleseed. He wrote that he enjoyed my writing and wanted to know if I would like to write the Foreword to his new book.

After I ran a virus scan and rebooted my computer to make sure this wasn’t some glitch, I emailed Professor Silverman and told him I’d love to do it. When he received the OK from his executive editor at Swedenborg Foundation Press, my work began. About 850 words and a couple of edits later, I was finished. The photo you see above is an “Advance Sample Excerpt” of the book used to promote it before publication. Amazingly, my Foreword is included in it.

So how did Professor Silverman find my review? It seems his editor was surfing information about Johnny Appleseed, came across my blog post and forwarded it to him. Which shows that you just never know who may be out there in internet-land reading your words, and you never know what the next comment will bring.

Keep writing. Keep posting.


If you have any interest in American history or folklore, I highly recommend “The Core of Johnny Appleseed.” Ray Silverman examines in-depth a side of Johnny that most authors overlook: his faith.

While many people know that Johnny was Christian, they don’t know that he was a Swedenborgian, a member of the New Church. In fact, he was one of their greatest missionaries. Professor Silverman is also a Swedenborgian and a teacher of New Church theology. Because of this, he can shed a light into Johnny’s psychology that others simply overlook or willfully ignore.

More importantly to me, Dr. Silverman is combating something I call Speculative Revisionism, where an author or historian tries to change the meaning or context of history based on their own speculations. Guesses really. A lot of times this serves no further purpose than to help them sell books or appear on talk shows. A good example of this is another book about Johnny Appleseed recently published in which the author concluded that John Chapman was basically insane and compared him to a homeless person on the streets.

His book got great reviews.

Again, if you like American history or folklore and wish to read something insightful rather than speculative, I highly recommend you get a copy of “The Core of Johnny Appleseed” by Ray Silverman. It is scheduled to be published this November by Swedenborg Foundation Press in an affordable paperback edition. Dr. Silverman’s writing is clear and straightforward and you will gain insight not only into an American legend but also into a faith that many know nothing about.


Posted by on August 21, 2012 in Authors, Blogs, Book Review


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Opportunity Knocks and Other Things


appleseed (Photo credit: mike r baker)

Hello, Folks! Sorry I’ve been remiss on posting the last few days, but something has come up. Something good.    Remember the book review I did on “Better Known as Johnny Appleseed?” Well, as a result of that review I’ve been recruited to do a bit of writing on another Johnny Appleseed book. It’s not a long piece, but I am under a deadline. So, for the next week postings will be sparse. I apologize, but this is a great opportunity and I want to do the best job I can. I’ll tell you all more when I can.


In other news, I’m still turning pages on that novel “The Darwin Conspiracy.” I’m now on page 135 and I still am no closer to figuring out what the conspiracy is all about. Heck, I’m having trouble figuring out what this book is about.

There are three story-lines running along here. First, the adventure of Charles on the Beagle as he prepares to make history. Second, the investigation of Darwin’s family life by Hugh and Beth, researchers from our own time. Third, excerpts from a diary kept by one of Darwin’s daughters in the back of a financial ledger, which for some unknown reason no one has ever seen before. Yeah, right.

I don’t know what is worse, the dialog between Hugh and Beth, postmodern caricatures or the incessant whining of dear old Charles. Talk about your dysfunctional family head. The only interesting and intelligent voice in this book is Darwin’s daughter, Lizzie. Unfortunately, she doesn’t get as much time as the others.

I don’t know how much longer I can keep turning pages on this thing. If someone were to drop me a comment with the ending and spare me the labor of reading “The Darwin Conspiracy” to the conclusion, I would not be at all upset. So . . .

. . . please?


Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Book Review, Notices, What I'm Reading


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Another Threat to Books

Computers and E-readers aren’t the only things threatening books. Check out this article from the Sun Sentinel. Is it even near acceptable that only 50 percent of ninth- and 10th-graders reached reading levels that were deemed “satisfactory?”

Granted, this is only one part of one state, but it’s scary anyway. Not good, folks.

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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Education, Reading


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