GREENVILLE — When it comes down to it, the most important aspect of good writing is relating the truths universal to the human condition.
That was the touchstone that Daily News columnist Maureen Burns turned to while selecting essays for her latest book, “On My Mind, or What’s Left of It.”
This sometimes touching, often humorous collection is culled from Burns’ columns in The Daily News, as well as essays she has penned for the Catholic digest Faith Magazine. There are even a few of Burns’ favorite recipes to be found within the pages of her new book.
“On My Mind, or What’s Left of It” is Burns’ sixth published book, the first of which has sold more than 100,000 copies since its first printing in 1982.
A motivational speaker, many of Burns’ books are geared toward that aspect of her life and are available at her speaking engagements and elsewhere. But her latest effort brings together many of her favorite columns from the past several years in a joyful examination of love, loss and life in a small town.
“The columns in here are very close to the truth,” Burns said. “But anyone who tells a colorful story can’t help but color it a bit, simply by the way they tell it. It’s always just a matter of how you approach things.
“I don’t make things up, though,” she added. “It’s all true. It’s just the absurdity of people and our own lives and what we say and do.”
According to Burns, some of the essays are “just plain silly,” while others are more powerful, at times even inspirational.
After six years of writing her column for The Daily News, one might think Burns would have trouble coming up with interesting material. Not so, she said.
“My ideas just come from things in daily life,” Burns said. “Like going to Lansing and getting caught in construction and really having to go to the bathroom. Or attending a wedding and realizing that all that blah blah blah stuff they say isn’t really what marriage is all about.
“Getting old, that’s another good one,” she said. “Looking and laughing at life and all the things we go through together, that’s what it’s all about.”
Pre-publishing praise for Burns’ latest book has been glowing.
According to Grand Rapids speaker Susan McFarland, Burns’ writing is “a beacon of positive energy with an amazing and consistent sense of humor and look at life which inspires many and makes people laugh – and that’s a good thing.”
Greenville educator Skeet Slocum calls Burns’ book “personal, funny and daring.”
Seeing her new book in print is very rewarding, Burns said, but the best part of being a writer is the writing process itself.
“My greatest joy is the writing, the crafting of the words,” Burns said. “I love that part of it.”
At over 300 pages, “My Mind, or What’s Left of It” is Burns’ largest book to date. It is available in paperback at Robbins Book List in Greenville and online at Amazon.com.
Maureen Burns will be signing her new book on the following dates at these locations:
• 9 to 10:30 a.m. Nov. 17 — First Congregational Church Bazaar in Greenville.
• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 17 — Clifford Lake Inn, Ladies Luncheon & Event.
• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 24 — The Celtic Path Irish store in Hubbardston.
• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 1 — Schuler Books & Music, 28th St., Grand Rapids.
• 6 p.m. Dec. 2 — St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lowell (talk and book signing).
• 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 7 — Robbins Book List in Greenville.