Roger J. Wendell
Defending 3.8 Billion Years of Organic EvolutionSM


Writing Hand Writing
Although it's usually just a Letter-to-the-Editor, or a quick magazine article, I feel lucky to have had some writing published in various places (especially considering my education consists of a business degreee!). Anyway, as time permits I'll post some of my published stuff for review by that small, intimate group of critical readers known as the Internet...





"To write well is at once to think, feel and express oneself well; simultaneously to possess wit,
soul and taste. Style comes from the integration and exercise of all the intellectual faculties."

- Georges-Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon


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V.S. Pritchett once said that a writer stops living at twenty-five, then devotes the rest of his years to writing about that first twenty-five...




"Be who you are, breathe fully, be alive, and don't forget to write."
- Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind (Living the Writer's Life), p. 14


"It is an author's most solemn obligation to honor truth. If the free and independent writer does not speak truth to power, who will?"

Note to my fellow American writers: What a gutless pack of invertebrates you mostly are. What a fawning groveling writhing genteel array of courtiers (male courtesans) - gutless temporizing trimming poetical-rhapsodical fence-straddling castrated gelded neutered craven equivocating tepid vapid insipid timorous timid high-minded low-bellied spineless cool hip crafty cowardly moral jellyfish you are! Banana slugs of literature! A living slime-mold on our intellectual life! (from Journal XX, Confessions of a Barbarian, p 343)

- Ed Abbey


"... let me say a word or two in favor of the habit of keeping a journal of one's thoughts and days. To a country man, especially of a meditative turn, who likes to preserve the flavor of the passing moment, or to a person of leisure anywhere, who wants to make the most of life, a journal will be found a great help. It is sort of deposit account wherein one saves up bits and fragments of his life that would otherwise be lost to him."

- John Burroughs Spring Jottings


"It should be easier, certainly shorter work to compose a memoir than an autobiography, and surely it is easier to sit and listen to the one than to the other. . . . In my [memoir] I find most of what I've got left are not memories of my own experience, but mainly the remembrance of other people's thoughts, things I've read or been told, metamemories. A surprising number of them turn out to be wishes rather than recollections . . . hankerings that the one thing leading to another had a direction of some kind, and a hope for a pattern from the jumble - an epiphany out of entropy."
- Lewis Thomas
The Youngest science


"Writing, no matter about what subject, has its way with the writer. Writing helps to teach us what we can't know otherwise, which makes it a demanding and invaluable discipline. Writing offers, not a way out, but a way into the impossible dilemmas of not-knowing. Each sentence begun can wander off, sometimes irretrievably into confusion and mistake, sometimes to greater clarity. Tropes transport memories and transform them, as resin is transformed under pressure into amber, sometimes with a small, ancient bit of life suspended inside. Amber can be remarkably clear, but the piece that conserves a suspended life is often more valuable. Writing works on memory, compressing and doubtless distorting the past, and offers bodies for the inspection of reader and writer alike"
- Christina Crosby, author of
A Body, Undone (Living on After Great Pain), pp. 200-201


Writing as Therapy!

Punctuation Saves Lives "Since I couldn't sleep anyway, I decided to get up and write in my journal, a technique I often recommend to my therapy clients to get their feelings out. The idea is to write without lifting your pen, so you can write without editing anything. Just letting the words flow, tumbling from the gut, allowing the raw feelings to spill without thinking about how they're coming out of what they sound like - out from the bowels of your belly, where they're overpowering your ability to sleep, relax, think, talk, or behave reasonably - can do wonders for a troubled mind. I call it verbal vomit. Get those words out. They're toxic on the inside and totally benign on the outside - as long as you splat them down on paper and not onto another person. The idea is to detoxify yourself, not harm someone else with your poisonous words. So, you write, then you burn or tear up the paper, or tuck it away in a safe place where no one else will ever read it. Once the ripping, roaring, raw emotions are out and you've given yourself a little time to calm down, you're cleaned out a bit and free to think rationally. Now you can choose carefully how you want to discuss the real issues that are still left and important to resolve."
- Joanne Stern, PhD - Parenting is a Contact Sport
(8 Ways to stay connected to your kids for life)




  1. A Short Dance published in the Fall, 1992 edition of the Garden Doctor and a number of other publications around that time. (Here it is in pdf)
  2. Backcountry Survivial 101
  3. Dogs, Soccer and a Thanksgiving Tradition (161k)
  4. Grand Canyon meteor sighting reported in the Denver Astronomical Society's "Observer" - 1986
  5. Morse code Letter to the Federal Communications Commission
    (Okay, it was 1983, I was young, full of myself, and typewriters didn't have grammar and spell checkers!)
  6. Sweet Syringe published in the Colorado Mountain Club's Tech Section News January, 2002
  7. Walking Softly Low Impact Techniques for the Backcountry
  8. Ten Essentials




It's already too late for the Metro area

I've always been concerned about the environment, biodiversity, and quality-of-life issues. In my late 20s, during the 1980s, I started the environmental organization Wilderness Defense! and kicked it off with a "huge" public relations campaign of letter writing, talk shows, and speeches (at schools, clubs and similar gatherings). This particular letter was an early attempt at gaining public awareness about population and sprawl issues in the Denver Metro area. Titled, "It's already too late for the Metro area," I jumped into a long laundry list of reasons why population growth and sprawl where ruining our lives along Colorado's "Front Range." Of course the Post's editors cut a large portion of my writing out in addition to injecting some typos (typographical errors) that I hadn't already created myself. So, I telephoned them, the next day, demanding that they publish my entire letter sans typos and editing. I remember them laughing in the phone and saying they don't even give that kind of consideration to their biggest advertisers! Ahhhh youth, it never hurts to try!
Denver Post Letter to the Editor by Roger J. Wendell - 08-26-1986
Click on this clipping for a closer look...






In The Chronicle of Higher Education, Sunday, November 21, 2010, Jonathan Barkat wrote a piece titled; "The man who writes your students' papers tells his story" - an interesting topic (to me at least!) because academic fraud, and fraud of all kind, is so prevalent throughout our society. On my page about Books I also address this the "Soapbox" section where various authors had been revealed fabricating portions of their books and memoirs in the late 2000's.

In the piece Ed Dante (a pseudonym for a writer who lives on the East Coast) talks about the countless papers and research he's been paid to write for students from almost every discipline imaginable. Below are a couple of quotes from the article:

"In the past year, I've written roughly 5,000 pages of scholarly literature, most on very tight deadlines. But you won't find my name on a single paper. Related Content

"I've written toward a master's degree in cognitive psychology, a Ph.D. in sociology, and a handful of postgraduate credits in international diplomacy. I've worked on bachelor's degrees in hospitality, business administration, and accounting. I've written for courses in history, cinema, labor relations, pharmacology, theology, sports management, maritime security, airline services, sustainability, municipal budgeting, marketing, philosophy, ethics, Eastern religion, postmodern architecture, anthropology, literature, and public administration. I've attended three dozen online universities. I've completed 12 graduate theses of 50 pages or more. All for someone else.

"You've never heard of me, but there's a good chance that you've read some of my work. I'm a hired gun, a doctor of everything, an academic mercenary. My customers are your students. I promise you that. Somebody in your classroom uses a service that you can't detect, that you can't defend against, that you may not even know exists.

"I work at an online company that generates tens of thousands of dollars a month by creating original essays based on specific instructions provided by cheating students. I've worked there full time since 2004. On any day of the academic year, I am working on upward of 20 assignments.

"In the midst of this great recession, business is booming. At busy times, during midterms and finals, my company's staff of roughly 50 writers is not large enough to satisfy the demands of students who will pay for our work and claim it as their own.

"You would be amazed by the incompetence of your students' writing. I have seen the word "desperate" misspelled every way you can imagine. And these students truly are desperate. They couldn't write a convincing grocery list, yet they are in graduate school. They really need help. They need help learning and, separately, they need help passing their courses. But they aren't getting it."

"I live well on the desperation, misery, and incompetence that your educational system has created. Granted, as a writer, I could earn more; certainly there are ways to earn less. But I never struggle to find work. And as my peers trudge through thankless office jobs that seem more intolerable with every passing month of our sustained recession, I am on pace for my best year yet. I will make roughly $66,000 this year. Not a king's ransom, but higher than what many actual educators are paid.

"Of course, I know you are aware that cheating occurs. But you have no idea how deeply this kind of cheating penetrates the academic system, much less how to stop it. Last summer The New York Times reported that 61 percent of undergraduates have admitted to some form of cheating on assignments and exams. Yet there is little discussion about custom papers and how they differ from more-detectable forms of plagiarism, or about why students cheat in the first place."




Some notes on writing:

This is how you use quote marks When a piece of dialogue goes over one paragraph:
"Start with a quote mark.
"Start every subsequent paragraph with the quote mark.
"But don't close your quotes until the last paragraph."


Lorem ipsum is dummy text that has been used by the printing and typesetting industry
since the 1500s. It was back then when an unknown printer took a galley of type and
scrambled it to make a type specimen book. Not only has "Lorem ipsum" survived five
centuries in print, but is also used in electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged:

"Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore
  magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo
  consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur.
  Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum."


There are numerous internet Lorem ipsum generators. Here are the first three paragraphs from a fun one randomly generated at saganipsum.com: "The only home we've ever known worldlets Vangelis Euclid finite but unbounded astonishment. Take root and flourish extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam intelligent beings take root and flourish concept of the number one. Two ghostly white figures in coveralls and helmets are soflty dancing shores of the cosmic ocean great turbulent clouds made in the interiors of collapsing stars tendrils of gossamer clouds made in the interiors of collapsing stars.
"Cambrian explosion extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence birth tingling of the spine corpus callosum science. Descended from astronomers the only home we've ever known something incredible is waiting to be known astonishment tesseract not a sunrise but a galaxyrise. Bits of moving fluff with pretty stories for which there's little good evidence concept of the number one descended from astronomers hearts of the stars network of wormholes? Network of wormholes a still more glorious dawn awaits emerged into consciousness finite but unbounded network of wormholes citizens of distant epochs?
"Dispassionate extraterrestrial observer Drake Equation gathered by gravity permanence of the stars Rig Veda extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Network of wormholes circumnavigated inconspicuous motes of rock and gas network of wormholes paroxysm of global death emerged into consciousness. Encyclopaedia galactica two ghostly white figures in coveralls and helmets are soflty dancing laws of physics vastness is bearable only through love the sky calls to us not a sunrise but a galaxyrise and billions upon billions upon billions upon billions upon billions upon billions upon billions..."




  1. A Short Dance - We have no right to destroy Nature
  2. Autographs
  3. Books
  4. Bumper Stickers
  5. Creative Commons - Share, Remix, Reuse - Legally
  6. Elements of Style - Strunk and White (1918)
  7. History
  8. Humor
  9. Hunter S. Thompson note on the bottom of my "Margy's Hut" page...
  10. Library - Jefferson County
  11. Letters to the Editor
  12. Letters Unanswered
  13. Life
  14. Movies
  1. Music
  2. OWL - Online Writing Lab
  3. Open Source Initiative
  4. People
  5. Poetry
  6. Reference
  8. Quote of the Quarter
  9. Quote Quiz archive page
  10. Tidbits and Miscellanea
  11. Trivia and teasers
  12. Travel
  13. Travel Two
  14. Word Origins




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