Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Odd Woman and the City: A MemoirThe Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir by Vivian Gornick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Vivian Gornick becomes a flaneur in her own city and relates priceless anecdotes of her encounters along her walks, with strangers and with friends. It is a prize for anyone who loves good writing, musing on friendship, culture, identity and New York City.

Everything I Never Told YouEverything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

I zoomed through this beautifully written story of a family at tragic odds with each other as the children suffocate trying to live the dreams of their parents and race and gender haunt each of them.The relationships have an occasional hollowness and some character development was sketchy (e.g. relentless of the parental line and coldness of friends and neighbors), but the title says it all about the inability of some families to share feelings and communicate.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

5th Chuckanut Writers Conference - "I've been all over the world and I've never seen a statue of a critic." Leonard Bernstein

I just wrote Chuckanut "reader's" instead of writer's conference but I am a writer and a reader.  I just returned from http://chuckanutwritersconference.com/ Gathering in Bellingham at Whatcom Community College, we were inspired and surprised about writing -- from daily practice to the author's platform in preparation for publishing. What did I learn? "If I am going to get anything right, I have to risk getting it wrong." From Poet Sam Green (Brooding Heron Press) we gleaned the importance of "small noticings" in which you write down observations on walks or sitting in waiting rooms or anywhere, jotting down phrases to be mined later.  From Elizabeth George (soon out with another Inspector Lynley, Banquet of Consequences) I learned to create a character and came away enthused to try writing fiction. From Brian Doyle we learned the invaluable gift of stories. A panel on process offered the varied ways each of the writers does their job from cutting and pasting (Erik Larson), to elaborate character studies and scenes (Elizabeth George) to daily morning practice in an office away from home with an outline on a large salvaged window pane (Steven Galloway) to the value of perfecting small manageable chunks into which she digs deeper rather than outline(Carol Cassella). All do extensive research which can become procrastination if you don't get to the writing. And send your stuff out counsels Brian Doyle (Mink River and The Plover)As do Jennifer Worick and Kerry Colburn who run the website   www.bizofbooks.com and www.twitter.com @jenandkerry and teach publishing preparation including author platform such as, who knew? writing a blog. Kay Lebo, whose essay on hearing won a place in current edition of Best American Essays, held us rapt with her talk. It was an intensive two days and I am delighted to have gone, only regretting I could not be in triplicate to catch all of the simultaneous workshops. And I'm grateful to have been hosted by Writer Marilyn McClellan in her roomy comfortable house with the Pacific Northwest's best view.