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You’ll find plants and gardens in many of my books. I’ve always loved flowers and growing things.


Tending a garden is like turning the pages of a book. You’re full of anticipation, always waiting for something to happen, and sometimes it takes you by surprise. Suddenly, there it is, a smiling face between the leaves. Or a disaster, thanks to snails, possums, birds, rabbits or rats.

The garden moves on, but unlike a book there’s no end to it. I must admit it needs rather a lot of attention, and I never have clean fingernails.

I recently came home from an enlightening cruise up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to St Louis. Because I can still sing the little chant we learnt at school, I was able to spell Mississippi correctly! And along the way, I picked up some quotes from that wonderful American writer, Mark Twain, who was also a riverboat pilot.

Here are just a few to help with our own writing:

If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. (This tells us to think carefully when we make up our stories, like telling a lie.)

Use the right word, not its second cousin.

A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.

As to the Adjective: when in doubt, strike it out.

These quotes come from The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain; edited by Alex Ayres.  And each quote gives us something to think about.

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Mark Twain