Word Play, December 2019

News on Writing, Books + the World of Publishing

Text by Diane Slocum

December holidays are supposed to be a time of joy. For many, they are not. Here are some books offering ways to encourage joy in our lives.

“The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World” (Avery, 2016) by the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and Douglas Carlton Abrams shows how the two world leaders have lived lives of joy despite — or even partly because of — all the poten- tially devastating hardships that they have survived. Abrams captured their time together celebrating the Dalai Lama’s 80th birthday as they shared how to be joyful even with inevitable suffering.

“The Art for Joy’s Sake Journal: Watercolor Discovery and Releasing Your Creative Spirit (Artisan Series)” (October 2019, Schiffer) by Kristy Rice encourages people at all levels of artistic talent to pick up a brush and paint for the sake of joy.

“The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less” (October 2019, Thomas Nelson) by Tonya Dalton, productivity expert and CEO of inkWELL Press Productivity Co., encourages women to be less busy and focus on what is important.

“Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness” (Little, Brown Spark, 2018) by Ingrid Fetell Lee shows how to find joy in the simplest of things like sunsets and shaggy dogs, or simply a freshly painted room or a vase of flowers. She wondered how the physical aspects of the world around us could bring joy and began her research.


College of the Sequoias English Professor Christina Lynch is the author of “The Italian Party” (St. Martin’s Press, 2018). The story is about American newlyweds who come to live in the Italian city of Siena in the 1950s and the secrets that are revealed as the story unfolds. The wife, Scottie, discovers dark truths about herself, her husband and her country. Her husband, Michael, begins to see himself as a pawn.

Lynch has been an editor on the Harvard Lampoon and the Milan correspondent for W magazine and Women’s Wear Daily. She wrote for Unhappily Ever After, Encore, Encore, The Dead Zone and Wildfire. She is also the co-author of a two-book series using the pseudonym Magnus Flyte. The titles are “City of Dark Magic” and “City of Lost Dreams” (Thorndike Press).

Fresno Pacific University Professor Lawrence Dunn began writing poetry after his son died. He didn’t intend the pieces to be poems, merely expressions of his grief. A presentation by former poet laureate Juan Felipe Herrera opened his mind to the idea that his expressions of emotions could be poems. He is working on a memoir of poetry. He is a professor of peacemaking and conflict studies and has published “Discovering Forgiveness: Pathways Through Injury, Apology, and Healing” (Cascadia Publishing, 2014).


The Tulare County Library is offering the opportunity to pay fines with food. Through Dec. 20, up to $10 can be deducted from overdue fines by donating nonperishable food and health-care items at any branch. Donations will be delivered to local organizations for distribution. Call or visit your local branch for more information.


Funtastic Friday will be offered on Friday, Jan. 3, from 2 to 5:30 p.m. The STEM club will meet on Friday, Jan. 3, at 3 p.m. in the Blue Room. Tutoring will be offered most days at various times, including on Saturdays in January from 9 to 10 a.m., 10 a.m. to noon and noon to 1 p.m. Toddler Story Time will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. on Tuesdays. The First Tuesday Book Club will meet on Jan. 7 from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m.


The Chattahoochee Review is accepting submissions for the Lamar York Prizes. Unpublished stories and essays of up to 6,000 words will be accepted through Jan. 31. All entries will be considered for publication. The $18 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to the review. Winners in each category will receive $1,000 and publication. Judges include novelist Anthony Varallo and essayist Alice Bolin. Details at: chattahoocheereview.gsu.edu/lamar-york-prizes.


“When it rains it pours. Maybe the art of life is to convert tough times to great experiences: we can choose to hate the rain or dance in it.” — Joan Marques