Tag Archives: narrative

Darkness & Light

Lent has officially ended. Today is Good Friday, the second of the three days (Triduum) leading up to Easter Sunday.  Today — or rather, tonight, at sundown — marks the start of  Passover.  I’ve been thinking today about story, without which we wouldn’t commemorate either event.  I’ve also been thinking, this Lent, about trust, about giving up my often desperate grip on control in my own stories.   I’ve been praying, I guess, about letting go.  Today, too, I am struck by the Triduum’s embrace of sorrow and agony, and how those dark places open us up.  Story does that too, … Continue reading

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Writing Under the Influence

I’ve blogged about Jane before, and I’m doing it again. Jane Eyre, that is.  I’ve been thinking about her because I’ve just finished The Flight of Gemma Hardy, Margot Livesey’s take on  Charlotte Brontë’s classic novel.  (Livesey herself calls it a “continued conversation.”) Beginning with the first sentence, Livesey sprinkles similarities to the original throughout her novel, weaving in her own autobiographical details.  In both, we have an orphaned girl, a cruel aunt, a book on birds, a mysterious landowner, a sickly boarding school friend who dies in Jane’s/Gemma’s arms, etc.  In Brontë, of course, what comes between Jane & … Continue reading

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In Another Life

My next post will appear Friday, September 7.  If you’re in the neighborhood, mark your calendar for Sept. 13, 7 p.m.:  Why There Are Words, 333 Caledonia, Sausalito.  I’d love to see some of you there! A few months ago, I stumbled upon Penelope Lively’s novel The Photograph.  I loved its sharp psychological portraits, its elegant and economic sentences, its going on for pages and pages in the minds of its characters (something I’m always trying to do without making my readers scream, “Action, please!”). When I returned to the library to pick up another Lively novel, I chose—from the … Continue reading

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The Moral of Pierre

Most people think of Where the Wild Things Are, appropriately enough.  But this week, hearing on the radio that Maurice Sendak had died at the age of 83, I thought first of Pierre, the petulant child of the eponymous “cautionary tale in five chapters and a prologue.”  Pierre, at 48 pages, was my favorite book as a pre-schooler.  I’m told I carried it everywhere, evidence of which shows itself in the tiny book’s ripped jacket, signatures loose at their sewn bindings, a few spots of discoloration (spilled apple juice?). Pierre made up one of four slim books, each the height … Continue reading

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Airing the Laundry

I will be taking off the next three weeks.  My next post will appear Friday, October 21. I’ve never worried about offending anyone while writing.  Maybe it’s all those years of uncensored diary entries about mad crushes and revenge fantasies and how my mother infuritated me – but getting the words down about real people always came easily. The trick, of course, is when the time comes for those people to see those words.  Last month, Meghan Ward posted on her blog, Writerland, about the dangers of airing one’s  “family’s dirty laundry.”   Publishing words – however honest – about those … Continue reading

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