Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Why Do I Write?

It’s a good question.  Ask it of yourself every once in a while.  No answer will make you stop writing, and over time you will find that you have given every response.

1.        Because I’m a jerk.

2.        No one listens to me when I speak.

3.        So I can start a revolution.

4.        In order to write the Great American Novel and make a zillion bucks.

5.        Because I’m crazy.

6.        To keep me from going crazy.

7.        Because I am channeled by William Shakespeare.

8.        Because I have something to say.

9.        Because I have nothing to say.

10.      Life is temporary, writing lasts.

Why do I write?  I write because I’ve kept my mouth shut all my life and it’s time for me to speak out.  I am always facing that creeping agony that all this will pass.  The truth is I have a way with words.  I can make the terrible wonderful, the unspoken spoken.
Alone at my desk, I discover what has passed through me when I write.  I write because I am crazy, schizophrenic, neurotic, obsessive, compulsive and suffer from Post Traumatic Stress.  I know it, accept it and I have to do something with it other than go to the loony bin.

I write because there are stories that people have forgotten or are too scared to tell. I write because I am a woman trying to stand up for myself. I write because I dare to tell what happened and make it art.  I write so that I can face my own life.  I write because I run deep and my soul aches.

I write out of joy. I write out of hurt.  I write to make myself strong and to come home to myself.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Powwow Highway

David Seals' novel, The Powwow Highway, sends you careening down the highway with a '64 Buick LeSabre from Montana to New Mexico.  Also a film by the same name, which I have not seen.

The first sentence in this book is one of the best I've read:  "Everyone in Lame Deer knew that old shit-brown Buick."  This vehicle is part character, part protector and the whole spirit of the book.  Take that journey in the Buick and you won't be sorry;  In fact, you'll laugh your heart out.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Penelope Lively's newest

Coming to the top of my nightstand stack is Penelope Lively's new novel, How It All Began.  Lively won the Booker with Moon Tiger.  City of the Mind is a love story set in London.  Oleander, Jacaranda:  A Childhood Perceived is her memoir of early childhood in Egypt.  The latter book piqued my interest in Cairo and I almost made the journey.  A recalcitrant knee put the kibosh on that trip.  If the turmoil ever ends, I'll be there.

Lively has writtten many more books.  Anyone out there a Lively fan?


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Writers on Reading

In going through old NYT Book Reviews, I found a review dated 12/30/12 for Jose Saramago's book, Raised from the Ground.  This novel, first published in Portugal in 1980, appeared in English translation.  That it has come out 14 years after Saramago won the Nobel and two years after his death is a surprise.  A striking quoted metaphor in the review caught my breath:

"(he ) sits slumped in the chair like an empty jacket."
This is the sort of lyrical prose transcends popular fiction and fuels my lust for the literary.  I've read Blindness, The Cave and All the Names.  Saramago was a master of the allegory and his joy with words sparkles throughout.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Me Before You

As a reader and writer of literary fiction, I'm surprised by how taken I am with Me Before You by Jojo Moyes.  Popular fiction, yes.  A page turner nonetheless.  Haven't finished the book yet but kudos to Jojo Moyes. 


Monday, January 21, 2013

MLK Day - My Favorite Black Authors

MLK Day brings to mind some of my favorite black writers:  Toni Morrison, Zora Neale-Hurston, Alice Walker, Edwidge Danticat, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, James Baldwin and Seattle's own Charles Johnson.
 -- catherinealexander.net

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Writing Group Openings in the Seattle Area

My writing group has a couple openings for writers.  We meet every Friday from 10:30 to 12:30 pm in the Northgate area in Seattle.  Work to be critiqued is sent via email the preceding Wednesday.  All genres are welcome -- fiction, creative nonfiction and essays.  Levels range from beginning to published authors.  catherinealexander.net

Progress On My Second Novel

The main problem in my second novel is drawing out the female protagonist. She is 21, admitted to a psych ward of a hospital after a suicide...