Writerly Thursday

Sorry, I ruined the alliteration by not posting this yesterday. To make up for it, here is a List of Literary Links that have been Languishing in my deLicious account. Like?

“7 Things I’ve Learned So Far” by Rebecca Serle

7 Things is a recurring column over at the Guide to Literary Agents blog, but this is one of my favorites of all-time. It’s so very… me! For example, her first point:

“You don’t write a book. You write a sentence and then a paragraph and then a page and then a chapter.”

First you think, “Duh.” Then you think, “Oh yeah! Thank you for reminding me!” Because it’s easy to get so caught up with the finish line that you start to miss the mile markers.

“Writing 9/11” by Terrence Chang

I just liked what this guy had to stay about tackling a monumental and sensitive topic.

At first I didn’t want to write this story because of 9/11. I didn’t feel up to it, was afraid I would do an injustice to our history, and to those whose wounds from that day will never truly heal. Then I realized this was not a story about 9/11, but about a man and his family and how they would or would not survive. And this, not 9/11, is what made the story ultimately worth writing.

We writers shouldn’t shy away from the hard stuff, if the hard stuff is what’s calling us. Because obviously we need to write it, and we never know who might need to read it.

“Trading Stories (Notes from a literary apprenticeship)” by Jhumpa Lahiri

This — she — is really too hard to excerpt. It’s all brilliant, and quietly woven into a whole that is much more than the sum of its parts. I love Lahiri’s writing, and I identify so much with the experiences she describes.

The writer in me wanted to edit myself.

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8 Comments

  1. Joelle

    Lovely Links, lol.

  2. I agree about writing the difficult subjects, including September 11 (which I witnessed first-hand). My third novel (in draft form now) deals with that, among other topics. I discussed it in this rather meander-y post on my blog:
    http://u-town.com/collins/?p=31

  3. LOL at the alliteration! :) Thanks for these links. I especially love the last one… I can so relate to her feeling that she’s a trespasser in the books she loved, feeling out of place reading about worlds that didn’t belong to me. That’s why I’m going to write my own books, hehe.

  4. Kristan – Thanks for the links to other sites – I’m really enjoying that first link…woohoo!

  5. Jon

    From Lahiri’s article, “Being a writer means taking the leap from listening to saying, “Listen to me.”

    I love that line! Such a great way to concisely state why writing is so special.

  6. Not really related to what you have to say here, but I recently discovered another blog that has a Writerly Wednesday: http://blog.juliealindsey.com/ . I think she mostly uses it to interview authors.

    RE: Stories set around 9/11. I’m not ready to read them yet. I suppose I probably will at some point, but I imagine that point being a good decade from now or more. I didn’t realize I felt this way until last winter when an author that I like wrote on her blog about her new book, and she revealed that it was set around 9/11 (the setting is actually in a Canadian airport where people were stranded for 72 hours while US airspace was shut down). Without thinking, a voice inside me said, “I like this author, but I’m not reading this book.” I was surprised by this, but I’m also okay with it.

  7. Sonje, I know what you mean. I’m a “pantser” as far as reading goes, too. If my gut says No, I give it a pass. Art Spiegelman did a book about 9/11, and though I like his work I’ve never looked at it. I’ve also avoided looking at any news films of the day itself (other than in Bowling for Columbine).

    I should make it clear that my WIP deals with those events metaphorically: a somewhat similar type of day and how people respond, not anything literal. It’s really about how people respond to a sudden disaster.

  8. Linda-
    Jhumpa Lahiri is the best! If you liked the essay, I think you would love her fiction. Check out INTERPETER OF MALADIES, her debut, a collection of short stories.

    Sonje-
    For a long time I didn’t want to watch any movies about 9/11. Finally I watched one — not knowing 9/11 played any part in it, actually — and it was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. (Mostly b/c the story is so definitely not ABOUT 9/11.) I haven’t tried to read any books or stories about it — though I haven’t avoided them either — but if I weren’t ready, I think I too would be surprised but okay with that. I think it’s something we all experienced in our own way, so we’re already connected to it.

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