Sunday, September 03, 2006

About Moxiedog: A Commonplace Book

What a Commonplace Book Is Not

What I love about a commonplace book is that it isn't a journal. Journals are so daily, so unforgiving. Whenever I start a journal, after a first burst of commitment, it sits sullen on the shelf like an accusation: why aren’t you writing in your journal? It reeks of discipline and demand, like homework. Or it’s like a troublesome, disagreeable pet that was irresistible at the shelter, and now you’re stuck with it, guilty and annoyed.

What a Commonplace Book Is

On the other hand, the commonplace book, since it sprang into being in the Renaissance, has evolved into a place for your mind to have a party. Whereas the tyrant journal demands quotidian obedience, you write in your commonplace book whenever you feel like it—when something just plain grabs you. You write in it when you can’t not write in it, and never never because you have to. You can put in it anything at all—half a poem you don’t quite remember; a beheaded, blurry picture of your dog; a deathless essay.

What You’ll Find, Maybe, in the Moxiedog Commonplace Book

As I'm a writer, this site has little chance of escaping a fair amount of writing. A bit of a novel here and there. A story here and there. Comment on whatever seems wonderful or fascinating or hilarious or terrible or other compelling adjectives. Comment on some books that aren't, in my opinion, a damn waste of time.

These at least are my beginning thoughts about content, but I'm pretty much just following my nose, quirks, genetic programming, so who knows?

Regarding Comments from Readers

I welcome and encourage comments (only please say nothing that will frighten the servants). And in the spirit of encouraging comments, I’d like to say something about the nature of good writing.

Sadly, I’ve noticed that there are lots of people with wonderful things to say who avoid writing because they think they’re bad at it.


Good writing, in my opinion, is saying as close to what you really want to say as you can, and saying it in your own voice. It drives me nuts that the half-witted way writing is usually taught crams into innocent skulls the absurd idea that you're supposed to sound like some pompous, tight-assed academic windbag spouting hideous prose as natural and comfortable in a person's mouth as bat wings. Forgive me for that lengthy clumsy sentence—I got carried away. What I mean to say is that writing from your own spark is the only thing that really counts. If "the rules" or "the right way" has you paralyzed, hang the right way. Do it your way.


Click The Venus Project to read the first scene of my romance novel.

The following link to a work of literary fiction is for ADULTS ONLY (18 and older): Click Burning Down the House for a story from my collection Sex and Money.


Books that Are Not a Damn Wast of Time: Mr. Vertigo by Paul Auster

Crochet a Life: an opportunity


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