Words I Like to Live By, Some of My Own, Some Borrowed from Others

A motto I find useful to live by, on New Year’s Day, and most days: “Stay neutral, lean positive.”

And since I’m quoting myself, here are a couple more coinages of my own:

“Being an editor allows me to express my latent religiosity, since I spend so much time praying for my books.”

“Publishing companies have long been known as ‘houses’ because they (are supposed to) offer hospitality to writers.”

And a Yiddish proverb I found years ago in W.H. Auden’s marvelous A Certain World: A Commonplace Book, a personal anthology of favorite lines and wise quotations the English poet gathered over his lifetime of reading and writing, published in 1970. I treasure my old copy.

“If the rich could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a comfortable living.”

Happy New Year! Let’s all have a great 2015. PT Mac selfieAuden, A Certain World back coverAuden, A Certain World front cover

#tbt The Day I Discovered My Two Long-lost Scottish Uncles

#‎tbt In 1989 I toured the Outer Hebrides in Scotland and met these two fellas in a wee shop on the island of Lewis. We became fast friends and I took their picture. The gentleman behind the counter served in WW1, which makes me think now he must’ve been in his 90s when I met him. He owned the shop and his pal kept him company there. I’ve always treasured meeting them.Two old guys on Lewis

Marking Photojournalist Ruth Gruber’s 103rd Birthday

As a book editor, I've had the privilege of working with dozens of talented authors. Amid all the superb writers one sub-group stands out: authors in their 80s, 90s, or even older, in their 100s. This group has included Edward Robb Ellis (1911-1998), author of A Diary of Century: Tales by American's Greatest Diarist. Here is a collection of posts Ive written about him. Another of these remarkable authors is Ruth Gruber, also born in 1911, with whom I've published six books, including her memoir Ahead of Time: My Early Years as a Foreign Correspondent, also the title of a documentary about her. Ruth turned 103 this week, and is still going strong. This is a collection of posts I've written about her. Please join me in celebrating her amazing life and career.

On the Rails Headed Home

Seen somewhere in upstate NY aboard #LakeshoreLtd from Cleveland to NYC. @Amtrak pic.twitter.com/5aPteJdJd3

— Philip Turner (@philipsturner) August 19, 2014
Canadian train travelers, I'm sure VIA Rail gives you headaches at times, but consider yourself fortunate you don't have Amtrak as your national passenger rail carrier. On our recent vacation, my wife and I flew to St. Louis, and after seeing family for a few days there, began voyaging back east on the rails. From St. Louis, we took Amtrak to Chicago, arriving almost ninety minutes late that night. After three days there we took a 9:30 PM train, the Lakeshore Limited, that actually left at 10:30, then arrived the next morning in Cleveland at 9:30, instead of 5:30. Following three days in Cleveland, we boarded the Lakeshore Limited again, a 5:50 AM train that left at 7:10. It arrived thirteen hours later in NYC, about two hours later than its scheduled arrival. In the course of these trips we learned that Amtrak doesn't really own the track its trains ride on, and is thus subject to the schedules of the freight haulers who do own the rails. I love train journeys, but Amtrak makes it really hard to love it at all.