Thursday, October 18, 2007

Testing: One, Two, Three?

I'm not the target audience for Literary Momma. It is, after all, "A Literary Magazine for the Maternally Inclined."

Can a man be maternally inclined, or would we call that paternally inclined? Are they different? I couldn't say. I'm not even a parent. So why do I find myself reading Literary Momma today?

Because of a great article called "Testing: One, Two, Three?" by Gretchen Clark.

To me, this piece of creative nonfiction does what great literature is supposed to do: Put you in someone else's shoes and let you experience what it's like to be them. Even if you're not like them. Even if you're someone of a different gender, someone in completely different circumstances.

In just 14 paragraphs, "Testing: One, Two, Three?" gave me a vivid glimpse into the complex and conflicting emotions of motherhood.

What's more, I now feel like I know Gretchen Clark, even though I've already known her for more than 30 years.

She's my sister-in-law.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Writer's Profile

Childhood Ambition: Be the best writer who ever lived. (I was 10 and had never heard of Shakespeare.)

Little-Known Fact: Had first story published (on a mimeograph machine) when in the fourth grade.

Honors: Won first place in a feature-writing contest in high school, despite horrible spelling.

Influences: John Knowles, Earnest Hemingway, Philip Roth, Truman Capote, Norman Mailer, Joan Didion, Elizabeth Tallent, Milan Kundera.

Proudest Moment So Far: Having my first short story published in the Beloit Fiction Journal. (I have another story coming out in Hobart next month that I'm equally proud of.)

Inspiration: Catherine Ryan Hyde, author of Pay It Forward, who told me she collected 120 rejections before her first story was published. (It does pay to be persistent.)

Most Encouraging Note: "I think you're a good writer and I liked what I read ... I cannot flatter where writing is concerned." - L.H., SoHo Press.

Most Discouraging Note:
"I'm afraid this is nowhere near the novel I had hoped for." - L.H., SoHo Press.

Best Advice from a Fellow Writer: "Diversify your emotional investments." - Greg Bardsley.

Goal: Be more playful.