"I am always at a loss how much to
believe my own stories."
-Washington Irving, Tales of a Traveler, 1824


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2000 C E L E B R A T I N G T W E N T Y Y E A R S 2020

Welcome to PenHead.org, an oasis of uninformed analysis in a desert of educated guesswork. What is a penhead? Do you fancy yourself a writer? Enjoy a good read? Then you may already be a penhead yourself!

We are your source for original stories, the occasional interview with our favorite authors, book and play reviews, recommendations (of current and forgotten finds), and more.

Our Goal: World domination through the written word via the vast network of the internet. Until then, we'll be found risking what's left of our reputations here, at PenHead.org.

Keep in mind the internet's similar to the Jersey Turnpike - it's all about hits and traffic - so visit often, share us repeatedly and we'll do our best to keep things interesting. Who knows . . . you might even be entertained.


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The desire of happiness in general is so natural to us that all the world are in pursuit of it; all have this one end in view, though they take such different methods to attain it and are so much divided in their notions of it.

                      -Benjamin Franklin, On True Happiness, 1735
Lapham's Quarterly is published four times a year by The American Agora Foundation, each issue focusing on a specific theme. Then the magic happens. Drawing from writing across the ages, it presents varying perspectives on the theme of choice. For the Summer issue of 2019, the theme was Happiness. Emblazoned on its cover is a smiling ceramic Mesoamerican figure from seventh or eighth century Mexico. With hand held aloft as if in anticipation of a "high-five", the figurine sports a wide grin, like a New World version of the Buddha. The cover art - like all the art smattered throughout - offers a timeless visual representation of the theme: Happiness . . . more >

Originally published in 1978, How to Get Happily Published: A Complete and Candid Guide by Judith Appelbaum and Nancy Evans is just that. With over 30 years publishing experience between them, Evans and Appelbaum put their expertise to use. Beginning with tips on writing: write what you know, and write it well. Or, in the words of Canadian critic and theorist Northrop Frye (1912-1991), "[Write prose that] is not ordinary speech, but ordinary speech on its best behavior, in its Sunday clothes, aware of an audience with its relation to that audience beforehand.'" Easy, right? Most people who fancy themselves as writers think they know how to write. Some even do. However, some will need classes, but the authors warn, "writing cannot be taught. It can only be learned." If you do pursue a writing class, find a teacher who believes that, and you'll probably be in good hands. Bear in mind, you're the best gauge of your own skill.

How to Get Happily Published covers all aspects of publishing from magazines to periodicals to books, providing tips on networking, retaining rights, query letters and agents. They also cover vanity presses (don't use them), steering hopeful writers instead toward self-publishing. The big difference between the two comes . . . more >

Valrie M. Selkowe and John Sanford teamed up to produce a celebratory book called Happy Birthday to Me!. With text by Selkowe, and illustrations by Sanford, it's a winning story that follows Rabbit, the story's protagonist, through his morning routine. But this day, Rabbit's birthday, is anything but routine.

Upon rising, Rabbit finds a key, and sets out to find the lock it opens. He's lead through a gate, down a path to a great pink house where a surprise party is afoot.

It's a simple story narrated by Rabbit, with bright illustrations that draw out the personalities of the managerie of farm animals in attendance. The dolls are positively creepy. The dancing joyous. Suitable for ages 3 and up, this short, adorable picture book makes a perfect birthday . . . more >

E pluribus unum: "Out of many, one," is a Latin phrase America's forefathers chose to descibe their vision for the nascient nation. Out of many states, people and beliefs, rises one unified Republic. That single phrase possesses our forefathers' dreams, intellect, and higher mind toward governance. It puts no one person ahead of another, seeking as close to perfection as one can hope for in a union as diverse as ours. Then along came Donald.

Out of Many
2020 saw several court battles over books featuring the Trump administration's misteps, and personal battles. One such title was The Room Where it Happened: A White House Memoir (Simon & Schuster, $32.50) by former national security adviser John Bolton. Releasing it to a public hungry for insight into a president whose actions left many perplexed, it sold upwards of 750,000 copies its first week alone. Mary L. Trump, PhD, the president's niece, blew those numbers away in July with the release of her book Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man . . . more >

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Site last updated: 09/23/20


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