Past Issues

Missing past issues of the JDM Letter? You can find them all right here. Each issue features (1) a quote from a well-known writer, (2) some thoughts on what that quote means, and (3) a brief biographical profile of that writer. To download: Option-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) on the month of the issue you want.


JULY: Kurt Vonnegut
“Practice any art … to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.”

JUNE: Kate Atkinson
“To be honest if I write one good sentence in a day that’s a success for me.”

MAY: Raymond Chandler
“Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean.”

APR: James Baldwin
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”

MAR: Lou Berney
“There are times when it’s best to really think your way through it, and there are times when it’s best that you don’t know where you’re going.”

FEB: George Orwell
“The rough draft is always a ghastly mess bearing little relation to the finished result, but all the same it is the main part of the job.”

JAN: Anne Lamott
“Good writing is about telling the truth.”


DEC: Robertson Davies
“The most original thing a writer can do is write like himself. It is also his most difficult task.”

NOV: Thomas Mann
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”

OCT: Leslie Marmon Silko
“Stories are all we have to fight off illness and death.”

SEP: Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch 
“Murder your darlings.”

AUG: Jim Thompson
“There is only one plot—things are not as they seem.”

JUL: Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain)
“Yesterday Mr. Hall wrote that the printer’s proof-reader was improving my punctuation for me, and I telegraphed orders to have him shot without giving him time to pray.”

JUN: Madeleine L’Engle
“I think that all artists, regardless of degree of talent, are a painful, paradoxical combination of certainty and uncertainty, of arrogance and humility, constantly in need of reassurance, and yet with a stubborn streak of faith in their own validity no matter what.”

MAY: Rachel Carson
“The discipline of the writer is to learn to be still and listen to what his subject has to tell him.”

Apr: (no letter that month)

MAR: James Patterson
“If Sue ever leaves me, I’m going with her.”

FEB: Joan Didion
“I write to find out what I think.”

JAN: Jack London 
“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”

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