There are so many reasons people give for reading. Whether it's for pleasure, or thrills, or illumination, or education. My dad liked those wicked porno paperbacks published by Beeline Books that he kept hidden under his mattress, and I'd find and read. There was a clear and direct reason for reading! But I think one of the greatest driving forces for readers is this: companionship. I don't know if you're like me, but my favorite author becomes my best friend. OK, so maybe it's an imaginary friend, like my Chayo's talking pink winged horse or the various Sally/Victoria/Golden Wing Special Angel types of invisible sprites that seemed to come out of her closet or out of the forsythia bushes in the back yard. But I have felt not only possessive of my faves, but protective of them--like the bud in the hi school lunch court you hang out with after hours. This is why I try to remain available to readers--they are always, almost always, so nice. So kind. So open.

Today's writing thought comes from a man long gone who can become your best friend. If you like Joy and clear thinking full of love and light, he's your boy. If you want to fell grateful for being alive, he's your boy. If you want books you will be happy to read, even if you're a PhD, but wish there was a great book you could give your grandma, he's also your boy.

David Grayson. Do you know him? Find him! (Stay away from Ebay, y'all--there are a couple of his ancient books for sale there, and I want them!) He was very wise and very writerly, but he was also a nature lover, a farmer, and a journalist, when he wasn't being a powerful politician. I wish he were here today. Oh, but he is--in his books. You can find 'em on amazon.

Here's Grayson:

"Sitting in My Window, Writing"

March 13. I was up at dawn this misty spring morning, and as I sat here at my window, writing, I saw in glances the slow daybreak. There was rain in the night, and all the delicate twigs of the spiraea at my window are pearled with drops of water. I can see the esatern light gleaming among them, so that they look as hard and cold-white as frost crystals. And all around me these quiet morning hours lie my books and papers: just here at my left the musty records I am working upon; my notebooks there; the half-shaped clay of my chapters lying in a semicircle at my elbow, where I can give a pat to this paragraph or strike a bit of unnecessary mud from that. And there stands my friendly familiar, with his comfortable potbelly, his bald head, and his air of worldly wisdom--My Ink Bottle; and here in the open case my everyday spectacles, ready so that if anyone comes in, I can quickly and secretly slip them on and make believe I don't need reading glasses. Near at hand is my old friend with his two-faced duplicity, my Calendar, who tells me how time flies and that if I do not hurry I shall be old before my work is done. And here are my bookcases--not an arm's length away--where I can find anything I want--almost anything!--but what I can't find is sometimes infuriating.

Is there anything in the world better than this? Here is where I live: this is my joy. I shall never have any reward better than this.

Under My Elm


When I open the Urrea Institute of Writing and Trust, David Grayson's books will be in every room. I recommend The Countryman's Year to you for good companionship and smart conversation about life, work, writing, and gardens. And you can give it to your mom and Uncle Pete for his 90th birthday as well as to that Edward Abbey hiking freak you know and to a haiku-lovin' writer. Keep him by your bathtub--he won't peek. Take a bubble bath with David Grayson and go write in your notebook.

More Grayson to come....

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