At the Frankenmuth Wickson District Library

FRANKENMUTH, MICH. — Just finished my newspaper work for the day. Tomorrow evening I will call some coaches about their teams and see if I can track down two kids who placed very high in the Genesee County spelling bee.

If you’re a writer, you probably are like me and love to write at libraries. Even in the absence of stern, Nun-style librarians who demand a library be as quiet as the vacuum of outer space, it is still a very tranquil place to be. Much easier to concentrate. You can type at a computer (such as what I am doing) or sit at a table with pen and paper.

Even now, a man is speaking on his cell phone in a slavic language. It’s not Russian, but sounds very similar. Bulgarian? Croatian? Possibly Polish? Russians are like Americans: they come in all different types of physical appearances (short, tall, skinny, heavy, dark hair, blonde, brown eyes, blue eyes, fair skin, dark skin). I don’t mind his banter at all.


I do hope I can get my laptop fixed so I can return to more writing freedom at home.

This library has one of two writers magazines that I love to read regularly. This leads me to a question: is it really worth it to buy that magazine or should I just spend an hour a month at the library reading it and taking notes? I will have to keep an even closer eye on my finances and eliminate wasteful spending…perhaps I should do this until I can assure myself I have the budget to afford the magazine.

Richard Zowie is a writer. Post comments here or e-mail them to

Writing when you’re tired

This past week I did very little writing in the realm I really like: fiction, blogging, journaling, essays. It wasn’t due to the usual procrastination culprit but rather, no energy. Three days in a row I had far too much to do between my two jobs (the newspaper and the gas station) and did not have the energy. In that trio of days I averaged four, maybe five hours of sleep.

What is Richard like after three days in a row of five hours of sleep?

By Tuesday night, when I usually get home from work at 11:30 p.m., I briefly considered calling my wife earlier and asking her to get a ride to Frankenmuth to drive me home. Despite drinking a lot of 7-11 Double Gulps (I prefer to mix Coke with either Cherry Coke or Diet Coke–don’t ask), I felt very tired. It was almost like Army basic training again, where I almost fell asleep during my graduation ceremony.

So, for the next two days, I slept close to 10 hours each day to try to catch up. I also felt a little under the weather and was worried, due to some discomfort when I breathed, I briefly worried I was coming down again with a viral infection in my lungs like I did in 1999, during another fun period of my life where I was consistently getting little sleep. Viral lung infections feel as if when you take a deep breath, someone is stabbing you in the chest.

And regarding sleep, that brings up the point of this blog posting: how do you write when you’re tired? 

For me, creative energy gets stifled when I have not been sleeping, or when I’m worn down and feel like doing little more than chatting with friends on Facebook.

The solution? Nope, not cocaine. I’ve never used cocaine but based on accounts I’ve read from Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft and from one person I know, the white stuff creates far more problem than it solves. I suppose it is to not allow yourself to get tired. Budget your time. Get sufficient sleep. If that doesn’t work, consume caffeine or make lifestyle choices that will give you more energy. An encouraging spouse or a writing accountability partner probably doesn’t hurt, either.

Suggestions, anyone?

Richard Zowie is a writer–or at least he tries to be. Post comments here or e-mail him at

2-15-2011 poems: 3 to 7 to 3, The Water Tower Planet

2-15-2011 — 3 to 7 to 3

Is it weird

To write poems

With non-sequitur

Titles that have nothing

Whatsoever to do with

The content contained in

The poems they’re named?

Weird? Probably.

But who cares?

2-15-2011 — The Water Tower Planet

The pale blue

Water tower

In Frankenmuth, Michigan

Is almost invisible

At night.

Its mushroom shape

Barely contrasts

The black darkness.

I wonder:

Is this

How a distant planet

Would look?

A planet

Billions and billions

Of miles from the sun?

So distant that

The sun is but

A twinkling star?

The minimal contrast of

Pale, pale blue

Against black

Is the only reflection

Of travel-weary,

Weak, bleak sunlight.

Richard Zowie’s current tools of choice for writing poems are Zebra pens and a reporter’s size notebook. Post comments here or e-mail them to

There’s a new used bookstore in Frankenmuth, Michigan!

It’s called Charlin’s Book Nook, and it’s located in Frankenmuth, Michigan on 154 South Main Street, Suite 4. Their phone number is 989-652-2900. Their store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Thursday-Saturday and then on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. They are closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The store is owned by Charlene Barber and Linda Strappazon.

Its e-mail address is

I’ve been there a few times and have purchased three books: a Gideon New King James Bible (which my middle son uses for church), Friday Night Lights and The Dark Half. I took my three sons there recently, and the two youngest each bought a book (one a book on Wishbone the dog and the other a Goosebumps book). The oldest, who likes to read about paranormal activities, didn’t see a book that he fancied.

I hope soon to take my wife, Jennifer, since the store has two types of books she really likes: mysteries (such as Nancy Drew) and true crime stories.

The owners tell me business is going well so far, and I hope it continues. It is so nice to have a used bookstore nearby, and I hope it becomes a mainstay.

Charlin’s Book Nook.

Richard Zowie enjoys reading and wishes he could do it for a living. Post comments here or e-mail him at