A Few Words Are Worth a Picture!

PSCovCropTweetThis one note before my blog…my historical novel, THE POPE’S STONE is available in Kindle version for free this weekend (all day Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24). Please take advantage of this special promotion.  Here’s the link:




And now, here is my latest blog…

I prefer to keep my writing reasonably “clean” and focused.  “Tight” is what some call this style.  I like to write tight.  I admit my descriptive skills are not where I wish them to be.  You will not see long flowery sentences from me describing every aspect of a particular scene or being.  Once in awhile I’ll venture off into the adjective garden and pick a few blossoms, but not too often.  So, when I see good descriptive writing I actually do stop and smell it, taste it and poke at it with my mind’s finger.

PhantomTollboothThere is a wonderful children’s book by Norton Juster titled THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH.  This is one of those children’s books that is a legitimate crossover because it has as much, if not more, to offer an adult reader.  If you like language and play on words, run like a thoroughbred and get a copy of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH.

I read this book for the first time last year.  Somewhere about 2/3’s of the way through, I came across a sentence that stopped me in my tracks.  Actually, it stopped me in my sheets since I was in bed reading.  I can’t tell you how many times I read and marveled at this particular sentence.  I read it over and over again.  It was a true work of art.  Why?  Well, first of all, it was descriptive as hell.  In one simple collection of words if was able to draw a very precise image that was inescapable.  And yet, it was tight.  How do you write so incredibly descriptive and be tight and concise at the same time?  Norton Juster knows how to do it.  He is a magician…an artist.

I became so intrigued with the sentence I went looking for a picture that would fulfill its every nuance.  Usually the procedure is the opposite.  The picture comes first, then the description thereof.  Uh-uh.  Not in this case.  Juster pulled off the reverse.  I found the picture; didn’t take long.  It is a perfect match for the sentence.  I married the two and framed it.  It’s on the wall above my desk.  What a hoot!

The sentence speaks for itself.  Here it is:

“The late afternoon sunlight leaped lightly from leaf to leaf, slid along branches and down trunks, and dropped finally to the ground in warm, luminous patches.”

Did you ever want to talk to a writer about something he or she wrote?  I’d love to talk to Norton Juster.  I’d like to know if this sentence simply rolled out of his fingertips as he pecked away at his typewriter (it was written in pre-computer days).  Did the sentence just appear—POW!—onto the paper in its completed state?  Or, did it take a moment or two, or three or four or….or did he struggle with every single word until they all unionized in one perfect collaboration?  Like I said, what a hoot!

The picture?  Here it is…


Perfect fit, huh?!


Marc Kuhn is the author of three books.  Recently published is an adult historical novel, THE POPE’S STONE.  The other two books are for children:  NEVER GOOSE A MOOSE…And a bunch of other things you should never do!; and ABOUT A FARM, lessons for life regardless of where you live.  All three books are available at amazon.com and each has its own .com website under its title.

Intimate details about Marc Kuhn and other exhilarating stuff at marckuhn.com

About Marc Kuhn

I am a retired radio exec. I've worked at major stations in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and Miami. That was then. This is now: I've published seven books and this blog thingy. Need to know more? Really? Okay, I bare/bear all at http://marckuhn.com The other links are for the websites of each of the books I've written. I've been busy! Hope you'll stop by and check them out. Thanks for your interest!
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3 Responses to A Few Words Are Worth a Picture!

  1. Marc Kuhn says:

    It’s like a good movie…makes you want to see it again so you can re-enjoy the parts you liked, and discover all the ones you missed!
    Thanks for the comments.


  2. I read this book when I was 9. It’s actually on my desk as I type. I love the way Juster writes. And his wordplay is pretty awesome, too. There’s Tock the watchdog and his brother Tick, jumping to Conclusions, and the Whether Man. I especially like when Milo eats letters.

    And now I want to go read the Phantom Tollbooth again.


  3. Phantom Tollbooth was the first book my uncle ever bought me. He said, “Michelle, if you ever want to be a writer, you need to read this book.” And I did, and I loved it, and now I need to go read it again 🙂


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