Thursday, February 21, 2008

Inspiration from Grace and more

February 21

Well, we’ve cancelled writers group for tonight because of few people and one member having a serious illness in the family. I was disappointed at first, because I look forward to writers group, which is really just for me, but of course I'm also thrilled not to have to go to NYC again immediately after teaching last night.

I had soup with Ingrid at Round the Clock, a wooden floored place very near Cooper Square where I teach. She is all excited about her daughter Stasha nearing term with pregnancy, and she talked about the inspiration she got from a memorial reading for Grace Paley, also things Grace said at a workshop once: First, tell the truth, in reference to memoir and not pulling your punches. Second, Tell the truth in reference to fiction, which I interpret to mean use that as a guide–what is the truth for this character, this situation,this plot? Grace also recommended going back in imagination (is that the same as "getting in touch with?") the voices of the community of your childhood. For Grace, New York immigrants, for me, West Virginia. But Ingrid grew up in various American overseas posts (Greece, Saigon) and wonders what her voices were.

We talked inevitably about the hundreds of thousands of people studying writing and hoping for glory if not money and also at the same time wanting to participate in this world of literature, of seeking the truth through stories.

No comments: