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Archive for November, 2008

TAW Wagon

I fell off “The Artist’s Way” wagon. It’s so easy to let any creative momentum slip through the cracks of my life. I had reasons, and they are fairly legitimate. My mom was visiting; we had my daughter’s 15th birthday party which included a house full of other 14 and 15 years old girls; we went to my sister’s for a few days; we shopped; we talked and before I knew it almost three weeks have passed since I posted here or turned my attention to TAW. I did manage to scribble a few days of morning pages. Last week I even wrote some new scenes for a story I hope to send out soon. My goal today is to type up those pages. You’d think that would be the easy part, just typing up pages but A. I really hate typing and B. I think there’s this anxiety over seeing whether what seemed like the right direction at the time will actually turn out to be yet another dead end.

So I’m not sure if I will resume TAW. I think I want to. I think the fact that I stopped during the week of abundance chapter is telling. I also think it is telling and a little sad that I find it difficult to come up with inexpensive/free Artist’s Dates.

I won’t be posting for the rest of the week. We’re off to my sister’s tomorrow for Thanksgiving. I’ll leave you with a few goodies to listen to and peruse that might stoke those creative fires:

• Ira Glass talks here about the creative process

Here’s an hour long conversation with Anne Lamott

• Read about the hidden gifts of rejection letters

• Her passionate commitment to the writing process and the hard work necessary is inspiring

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“The Ten Year Nap” a novel by Meg Wolitzer
Four women leave careers in law, academia and art to raise their children. It’s ten years later, the kids need them less, women around them are working and they are left to wonder what their next move is. Should they go back to work, pick up where they left off or are they even qualified anymore? Or should they continue to stay home, perhaps do more volunteer work?  The central quest(ion) becomes how a woman defines her place in the world. And each woman needs to find that out on her own. Each chapter tends to focus on one of the major characters but then there are these shadow chapters of only two or three pages that focus on a minor character already mentioned, taking us back in time to perhaps a character’s mother or even someone famous, looking at a woman’s role in history.

“The Cry of the Dove” a novel by Fadia Faqir
In order to be saved from an honor killing at the hands of her Bedouin tribe for getting pregnant out of wedlock, Salma is taken into protective custody where she gives birth, the baby is taken away from her and years later she flees to England. The story alternates between her life as a seamstress in England and her memories of events that led her to this point. The prose is almost poetic at times. The structure is intriguing but sometimes confusing as to what time period we are in. The voice of Salma is engaging and it gives an in depth view of a culture so different from ours.

“The Story of Forgetting” a novel by Stephan Merrill
This amazing debut novel weaves four separate narratives into a beautiful exploration of memory and what it means in our lives. There is Abel’s story, an elderly hunchback who still lives in his family’s ramshackle home that is now surrounded by new mansions. Seth is a teenage, self-proclaimed “Master of Nothingness” whose mother is quickly slipping away after a diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer’s. These chapters are interspersed with a fable of the legendary city of Isidora passed down from generation to generation as well as a text outlining the genetic history of Alzheimer’s. All four stories are equally compelling, as is the writing itself. I couldn’t read it fast enough and yet I wanted to savor both the story and the sentences and the lives of the characters.

“Man in the Dark” a novel by Paul Auster
I loved the many layers in this novel. Parallel worlds butt up against each other. In one world a seventy-two year old man recovers from a car accidents at his daughter’s Vermont house while in another America is involved in a bloody civil that began after states seceded following the 2000 election fiasco. Grief, violence and small ordinary moments pepper both worlds as they merge and diverge and layers of the old man’s past are gradually revealed.

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