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Friday, April 2, 2010

Upping the ante

      I went to hear two authors speak this week, and both made strong impressions on me. Especially the first, David Shields, whose most recent book is called Reality Hunger: A Manifesto. His talk was fascinating, quite provactive in the old and noble protest tradition, and I've been thinking about his message all week. He said a lot of things, many of them quite disturbing to much of the highly literate audience, but the major point I took from him is valid, and important. I believe he was saying that we, as writers, are not earning the title of artist anymore, because we are not pushing the envelope the way artists always have, and still do in the other arts. He sees most of us as simply regurgitating the same formulaic crap over and over again while we pander to the publishing powers that be. I have a couple of works in progress that I have been somewhat timid about before hearing his talk, but now I feel strongly that I am going to proceed in executing them exactly the way I envisioned them. Here's an interesting interview with him;
      "When we are not sure, we are alive."
     The other author was  home girl, Jodi Picoult. She gave both a great reading and talk. I was most surprised that she left me feeling something I don't usually feel at author events; envy. Inspired me to step up my game.
     Here is a list of books by Jodi Picoult. How many have you read? I stil have quite a few to go. She works so fast that she is hard to keep up with!

My Sister's Keeper
Nineteen Minutes
The Pact
Plain Truth
The Tenth Circle
Vanishing Act
Change of Heart
Keeping Faith
Salem Falls
Handle with Care
Perfect Match
Second Glance
Picture Perfect
Harvesting the Heart
Songs of the Humpback Whale: A Novel in Five Voices
House Rules
Wonder Woman: Love and Murder
Sing You Home

     I noticed that she is not guilty of that which David Shields speaks. This Princeton and Harvard educated best selling author has been snubbed by the literary world in large part because she does push the envelope. She reminds me of my other favorite home girl Grace Metalious. Her well researched topical plots are often ground breaking, but dismissed as pulpy and popular. And she seems to be getting more creative all the time, as evidenced by her venture into comic book writing, (one of the first women to write Wonder Woman) and in her next book which she is releasing with a corresponding music CD.

      Last night I gave the first public reading from my memoir in progress. It was a nice little coffee shop venue, and I think it went pretty well. But I still want to be Wonder Woman.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bits, Bites, and Buckets

     Plugging away on my writing and research inbetween rainstorms in my kitchen. Completed one interview, and set up two more for next week. Writing workshop in Cambridge went pretty well. Got two offers to do public readings this week. That's fairly unusual, and one of them is a paid gig! That's very unusual. Made some progress planning the PPLP reception (details later). And just got word that I will be able to attend the NHWP conference where I will be representing The Seacoast Writer's Association. Looks like it is going to be a great day. I rarely get a chance to attend so I am excited to be going. But I better get back to the kitchen now. I'm the cupcake mom today, and I hear there is another big rain on the way...
Upcoming NHWP Events that I will be participating in:
April 5, 2010:   Seacoast Writers' Night Out

Common Man Restaurant, Portsmouth, NH

Join New Hampshire writers in a warm gathering of conversation at The Common Man (hosted by the New Hampshire Writers Project). This isn't a reading. Just bring yourself. This is our time to have a night out to connect with other writers and make new friends. If writing absorbs you, then you will find a room of like minded individuals. Call 314-7980 for more information and to RSVP. Spread the word.
April 17, 2010:   Writers' Day

Southern New Hampshire University, Manchester.

Join hundreds of other writers for a day of writing workshops, panel discussions, networking sessions, pitch sessions, Literary Idol, and much, much more! Featuring keynote speaker Nicholson Baker, best selling author of seven novels and three works of nonfiction, including Double Fold, which won a 2001 National Book Critics Circle Award. He will discuss his most recent novel, The Anthologist, which is set in Portsmouth and deals with the life of a poet.
© 2010 New Hampshire Writers' Project