Readers write: Train memories, writing troubles

Letters to the editor for the May 8, 2017 weekly magazine.

Thomas Peter/Reuters
A train carrying containers from London arrives at the freight railway station in Yiwu, Zhejiang province, China, on April 29, 2017.

Train memories

I have been reading The Christian Science Monitor for more than 60 years. The Home Forum has always been my favorite. I have always been a fan of Robert Klose’s essays. 

His March 27 essay, “A freight train sings me an iron lullaby,” reminds me of an event that happened to a close friend of mine a number of years ago. She and her husband had a home in Milford, Mich., with a train track running through the backyard at the base of a hill. Her husband loved to go down the hill and wave to the engineer as he went by. They became friends. One day the engineer offered to let my friend’s husband accompany him to Toledo, Ohio, and sit with him in the engine. My friend’s husband was thrilled with this adventure. I love the sound of a train whistle, and this essay reminded me of this event. Keep writing, Mr. Klose. I love your articles.

Jean Hawkins

Brighton, Mich.

Writing troubles

As an aspiring screenwriter, I feel the need to comment on the April 13 online article “No more ‘peak TV’? Why TV’s golden age isn’t one for its writers” ( It’s frightening to know that if I make the decision to do what I love, I may not be always getting what I need. 

I want the secure paycheck and the freedom to write what I want to write. But like most of my writing, that takes place in a fictional world. It’s promising to know that, with all the advancements and changes in mass media, people still want to watch traditional TV shows and movies. 

There will always be production companies looking for creative writers, but there must be a way to provide some stability for them. How does more work and more watchers translate to less pay? The pending strike by the Writers Guild of America could mean bad things for the people writing the checks. But for the people writing the stories, it could mean the difference between following dreams or following the path to financial security.

When a good writer is lost, everyone loses.

Kathleen P. Chaves

Trumbull, Conn.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

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