A Room Without Windows: Horace Mann

“A house without books is like a room without windows.”

Horace Mann

I feel a special connection with Mann since he served as the first president of my alma mater, Antioch College.

Antioch College seal.png

Windows serve two functions:

  • To let in light.
  • To allow us to see out.

Antioch filled those roles for me wonderfully.

Free Books from the Met

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is making fifty years worth of books free on the Net.

I downloaded about ten from the Met Publications site. No charge. Easy search. Easier browse (since I don’t know much about art). Download as PDFs.

The artwork is, as you would expect, spectacular.

I downloaded “Bloom” because in my other life I take a lot of photos of flowers. Published in 1995 and now out of print, Bloom is a “celebration of flowers in fashion.” I didn’t read the text but I enjoyed looking at the photos and was amazed by the dressmaker’s lavish attention to detail.

I was especially intrigued by two books of American Indian art — Masterworks from the Museum of American Indian and Native Paths: American Indian Art from the Collection of Charles and Valerie Diker. I’m researching tribal legends, myths and belief systems to round out a character for the third book of the Black Orchid Chronicles. That manuscript is almost done, but I need to add some heft to the “Pony That Sees Far” character, aka for dumb white folk as Joe.

If you love ancient Egypt, you have just unlocked a graduate study of resources not just of Egyptian art but hieroglyphic language. Teach yourself Egyptian. It’s free.

I don’t know much, if anything, about art. I don’t write about art.

But I think any writer could find at least a half-dozen useful resources here. And did I mention it’s free?

Secret Device for Successful Writing

I was Flipboarding through the news this a.m. and stumbled on a piece in Inc. about an ancient communications device that taught Neil deGrasse Tyson how to write better.

Spoiler alert: It’s a quill pen and ink.

quill and inkDon’t get it?

The quill pen and ink imposed a cadence on users that translated into how they write: Word, word, word, word, word, (maybe word), (maybe word) [dip the pen; you’ve run out of ink.]

Short sentences communicate more easily.

See?

It reminds me of my high school Latin teacher who expounded on the benefits of Anglo-Saxon over the latinized Norman speech: Simple words in simple straight forward sentences.

Or, as the Inc. subhed stated,

Keep your words simple and your sentences short.


On a completely unrelated note, my new suspense novel, The Mark of the Spider, contains lots of simple words and short sentences.

Get your copy (in print or ebook) from Amazon and see.