American Watercolor, an e-zine begun by Kelly Kane, has a short feature on my watercolors — thanks in great part to you, my faithful newsletter readers. I was named ambassador of the week and got into the running for that title because, several weeks ago, I asked those of you who were interested to sign up […]
Malcolm Gladwell talks books, banned books, Beatles books, and the godmother of forensic science: newsletter, September 20, 2019
When Mark Lewisohn published the first volume, Tune In, of his trilogy about the Beatles (The Beatles: All These Years) six years ago, it turned out to be massive: 390,000 words, which is about four times the length of a good mystery novel and at least twice as long as most nonfiction books. It took […]
Jennifer S., my good friend, valued colleague, and fellow reader and writer, responded to an item in last week’s newsletter about Joseph Campbell’s concept of “A Hero’s Journey” with this: I enjoyed encountering the wonderful Joseph Campbell within the virtual pages of your newsletter! Campbell’s work was very eye-opening to me as a young reader, […]
Julie K. Brown, the reporter for the Miami Herald who would not let the Jeffrey Epstein story go when just about every other reporter and prosecutor would, has a just-out series of podcasts about this sad and sorted tale. Epstein recently committed suicide rather than face a trial for his multiple assaults on underage girls, but his name […]
We’re coming up on the annual Banned Books Week, a celebration of intellectual freedom sponsored by the American Library Association. This year’s theme is Keep the Light On. If your local library is having an event, be supportive and take part. If not and you have other means of promoting this idea (a website or […]
Malcolm Gladwell (The Outliers, The Tipping Point, David and Goliath) is an author who has achieved fame — and a good bit of success — by examining parts of society that don’t often get attention or by casting a new light on things we thought were familiar. He’s just published a new book titled Talking to […]
Anyone who knows anything about book publishing knows that the genre of the romance novel is one of the most lucrative in the industry. Thousands of titles are published each year, and these books sell in the millions of copies. The reputation of these books is not, well, high-minded or intellectual, to say the least. I doubt […]
Joseph Campbell, a scholar of comparative literature, had been studying the history, development, and functions of “myth” since his young adulthood in the 1920s, but outside of academic and intellectual circles, he remained relatively unknown. That all changed in 1977. Campbell noted how stories — myths — developed in ancient and modern societies, as well […]
The Hero’s Journey, romance has a history, and the “Father of American illustration”; newsletter, September 13, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,671) on Friday, September 13, 2019. My email bag was delightfully full last week with readers commenting on a variety of items that they had seen in the newsletter. I try to range around the web to find interesting things, and I am always glad […]
Having written a little fiction and read a lot of it, I hereby humbly offer a few thoughts as to the tools that a fiction writer has when structuring a story. These tools are secondary to character and plot, but they are the engines of storytelling: Dialogue. Characters have to talk to each other and […]
A better lexicographer than Webster, tools of the fiction writer, and what we think we see: newsletter, September 6, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,674) on Friday, September 6, 2019. Summer has drifted into September in East Tennessee with the temperatures unduly hot and the land remaining dry. Despite that, the bees seem to be thriving. We have been feeding them since July when we took our share of […]
If any American name is associated with dictionaries, it is Noah Webster. The name we should remember, however, is Joseph Emerson Worcester. Webster, whom I wrote about last year, made a fortune by producing the Blue Back Speller and by his determination, in the early days of the Republic, to produce a dictionary that put […]
It took John Steinbeck less than 100 days in 1937 to write one of the 20th century’s great novels, The Grapes of Wrath. Steinbeck was a writer and resident of Salinas, California, at the time. It was a town located near a migrant worker camp, and Steinbeck had witnessed the poverty, degradation, and oppression of those […]
When Franklin Roosevelt was president during World War II, the words he spoke publicly took on a heightened importance and had to be weighed carefully. When he had to give a speech or a radio address, he turned to the people he trusted the most to help him weigh those words. One of the people […]
Henry Timberlake‘s short life came to a sad end. He died in 1765 in debtor’s prison in London, there because of some unfortunate but well-meaning decisions and some truly bad luck. He was somewhere between 30 and 35 years. We’re not exactly sure when he was born. We probably wouldn’t remember Timberlake at all except […]
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,680) on Friday, August 30, 2019. My comments last week about the difficulties of traveling brought reactions from some of you, and I appreciate your responses. Many people still enjoy traveling despite the hassles. If you’ve been someplace interesting in the last few weeks, let […]
Ken Burns, Klaus Fuchs, Wesley on money, and the time it took to write Grapes of Wrath: newsletter, Aug. 23, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,689) on Friday, August 23, 2019. Summer is the traditional time for travel and vacations, and many of the people we know have taken flight, either literally or figuratively. But traveling seems to be more difficult than it has been in a long time. Airline […]
Most of what happened to Methodism after John Wesley‘s death in 1791 was highly predictable. Wesley had created Methodism, a religious movement within the Anglican Church, in the 1740s by his interpretative theology, his going outside the church walls to preach to those neglected by the church, and by forming “classes” of his followers who […]
Nigel Hamilton’s FDR, where Joseph Campbell began, John Wesley, and banana peels: newsletter, Aug. 16, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,696) on Friday, August 16, 2019. Two big events this week: the publication of two books that we had been working on for the Friends of the Blount County Library. One is Loyal Mountaineers: The Civil War Memoirs of Will A. McTeer, which we mentioned in the newsletter several […]
Newsman Bob Considine, the semicolon, the demise of Mad, and another Longfellow poem:newsletter, Aug. 9, 2019
This newsletter was sent to everyone on Jim’s email list (2,707) on Friday, August 9, 2019. Thanks much to those who signed up for a free subscription to American Watercolor magazine on my behalf. I reached the appropriate number and have been offered the possibility of an “ambassadorship,” which means my stuff will be […]
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Since 2004 JPROF.com has been providing journalism instructors and students with material and ideas for teaching and learning journalism. Jim Stovall is the site's creator and operator.
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