What do we learn from the past?

It seems like every time I have a chance to go on facebook and see what some of my friends and family are up to someone has posted something from the past. Like, “Do you remember this?”

What do we learn from the past? When we keep making the same mistakes we have learned nothing. History and literature from previous ages, however, can be fascinating. By the study of genealogy I have gleaned a great deal about my ancestors and what their worldviews were and the times, both good and bad,

When we study bygone days we are not to repeat the same mistakes that gave our forebears great angst. We are to learn to make the world a better place.

At St. Clair Publications we preserve the great literature which defined the nineteenth and early twentieth century. Such a book is our latest release, The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane.

It tells the all-to-common tale of the inward conflict of a Union private torn over the issues of the divided American nation and ridden with guilt from his decision to flee his unit. He is ashamed of his cowardice and seeks peace, wishing for a wound, a ‘red badge of courage,’ which would show that he had at least faced his duty as a soldier.

Stephen Crane is now seen as one of the most prolific authors of his generation. Own your copy of this immortal classic today by ordering our version with a forward by me from Amazon for only $9.95.

Return children to the thrilling days of yesteryear…The Best of Mother Goose

We have seen the revival of a lot of old ideas over the past few decades. Back in the 1970s we saw a new interest in getting back to the past. Roots by Alex Haley brought us a greater interest in the history of our families. Movies like Wilderness Family spurned a desire of many to return to pioneer-style living, and log cabin kits became a rage. Then car companies brought back the first generation of their classic lines and movie companies over the last several years have revived the popular super-heroes like The Lone Ranger, Batman and Superman.

At St. Clair Publications we have brought back a number of the classic novels of the past centuries. In fact, another one will return next week (hint). But today I am announcing something just a bit different.

From the eighteenth century through the mid to late twentieth centuries, Mother Goose and Nursery Rhymes were very popular with parents and grandparents for their toddlers to preschoolers. If you are my age, you will well remember. Now, electronic gadgets have taken away a lot of the pleasure of the old rhymes which delighted our kids.

St. Clair Publications Emma Lynn Children’s Book Division has just released The Best Of Mother Goose and Other Nursery Rhymes Illustrated, which recalls the same delightful rhymes we grew up with. I compiled them and they are available now on Amazon! So give your grandkids a gift from your past–order one or more copies today!

If at first you don’t succeed…

I dare say that everyone reading this post can finish this proverb. I heard it from my mother, she heard it from hers, and it goes back for generations. And it is really great advice. If we give up to easily we will miss the sweet smell of success. My latest tome, Most Comprehensive Origins of Cliches, Proverbs and Figurative Expressions tells where this old axiom came from. It’s found at the bottom of page 264 (of 730 pages):

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again

This proverb first appeared in Teacher’s Manual in 1840 by American educator Thomas H. Palmer who wrote:

“‘Tis a lesson you should heed, try, try again. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.”

Some sources believe that the phrase dates to well before this, to the time of Robert I of Scotland, best known as Robert the Bruce, the fourteenth-century king popularized in the movie Brave Heart, who suffered a major defeat at the hands of the English. Legend says that he then hid in a cave near Gretna, close to the border of Scotland and England. While there, according to legend, he watched a spider attempting to spin a web. Each time the spider failed, it simply began again. So inspired was the Bruce by the little arachnid that he left the cave and returned to lead his troops in a series of victories against the English. Whether Bruce actually used the phrase is questionable, but the tale may have inspired Palmer.

The saying was brought into popular culture by British hymnist, educational writer and Westminster Review editor, William ‘Edward’ Hickson in 1857 when the entire quote from Palmer was used in his Moral Song. It is now applicable to much more than lessons in school.


This book is being sought after and purchased online around the world every day. If you don’t have a copy yet, you can get either a paperback or a Kindle e book on Amazon.com, or you can get a copy direct from stclairpublications.com. You can even ask your favorite bookstore to get one from you. Why it’s right on their computer to order!

Live music anyone? Or not…

For live concert lovers who just live to hit the road in June, Middle Tennessee is your place. First, in Nashville the CMA Music Fest will run from June 6 through 9 headlined by such Country chart-toppers as Blake Shelton and wife, Miranda Lambert, Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, Brad Pasley, Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, and Kelly Clarkson along with the old favorites like The Oak Ridge Boys, Randy Travis, Sara Evans, Pam Tillis, Lorrie Morgan and the list goes on and on. Last year 71,000 fans were in attendance.

And as if that’s not enough, or if Country Music is not your thing, just twenty miles from my home, in Manchester, Bonnaroo kicks off the next week and goes from June 13 through 16. They expect 75,000 there. Headlined by superstars like Sir Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and Mumford and Sons, this Festival presents artists of many genres from rock to hip hop and jazz. Other performers include David Burge and St. Vincent, Bjork, WIlco, Billy Idol and John Oates, just to name a few.

But then, around this neck of the woods there are a lot of folks like me…those who would just as soon stay home and find a good book to read. And St. Clair Publications offers quite a variety of them from children’s stories and rhymes to thrilling adventure, true drama and reference books. Whatever you are looking for in a book you can find at http://stclairpublications.com. And we’re putting out more every month. All of our books are on Amazon, many on Kindle and a number on eVolve generic e book at our site. So if you’d rather escape the headbanging music and big crowds, you’ve got a good option. Most books ship within a day or two of your individual order.