Tag Archives: The Pocket Muse



Note: This month some of my book club colleagues are reading the novel Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood. This is a repost of a short essay posted on the Writing page on July 10, 2014. Monica Wood is an author worth meeting. I hope Book Club members and other blog readers, who may have missed this post, will enjoy meeting Monica Wood.

“There’s no such thing as wasted writing.” From Monica Wood

Because I recently read her novel Any Bitter Thing, because I expect to read more of her writing, and because I hope to learn something about her, here’s a short information piece on author Monica Wood.


Monica Wood was born in Mexico, Maine into a devout family of Irish Catholics who worked in the paper mills. She has said she believes in the importance of a person’s first family––the family one is born into. She is a reader and she advises writers to read. Now that’s a song I love.

Ms. Wood recently wrote a short piece for Oprah Magazine titled “My Sister, The Best Person I Know.” It exemplifies the best of her writing. Her characters and in this case her sister kick against the heart, crawl under the readers’ skin and live in the reader’s memory for a long, long time. She writes varied characters so clearly it is as if she carries a torch to light the way, and they arouse deep sympathy and empathy. The unexpected turns of the plot in Any Bitter Thing may startle the reader. The places she writes rise from the page and allow the reader to enter. Often-falling snow muffles and softens some of the hurt she writes so well. Perhaps the story’s resolution is her strongest arena. This is realistic fiction at its best.

Her latest book, a memoir When We Were the Kennedys: A Memoir from Mexico, Maine, won the May Sarton Memoir Award for the best woman’s memoir published in the United States and Canada in 2012. She has also written Ernie’s Ark, a book of connected stories, My Only Story, a novel and The Pocket Muse: Ideas and Inspiration for Writing.


She conducts events and appears at speaking engagements, often in the Portland Maine area. Find more information at her website www.monicawood.com. It includes a section: Tips for Writers.

I recommend her work. Choose the book that’s right for you.