So not only did you teach me about writing memoir, you also taught me about reading and thinking about how others write memoir. Thank you so much! Rebecca
Showing posts with label writing fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label writing fiction. Show all posts

Friday, January 24, 2014

J.D. Salinger's effect on readers

"When we have a premise in mind for a story, we should ask ourselves what we’d least expect to happen and then see if we can make that unexpected turn convincing."  Lee Martin speaking about writing short stories. 

I watched a documentary about J.D. Salinger. He is not one of my favorite writers, but I am intrigued with someone who could sit in a room for forty years and write, alone, isolated from the world, with no plans to publish his work.

His The Catcher in the Rye actually provoked two or more young men to commit murder. John Lennon's murderer said Salinger's book convinced him to put on his people-killing hat and do the deed.

Perhaps Salinger's least expected happening became too convincing to some readers. His writing is said to be so real, he draws his readers deep into his stories, and they have trouble separating themselves from the characters on the page. His fans became devotees, and one man drove 400 miles just to talk with the author, but was disappointed when Salinger brushed him off. "I'm not a counselor," he said to his fan. "I have no answers for you. I ask questions."

Salinger, a recluse for most of his life, died at the age of 91 in 2010. After seeing his life story, I must read some of his work mainly out of curiosity.

Have you read The Catcher in the Rye or other work by Salinger?
What do you think?

Saturday, September 22, 2012


My week at Table Rock Writers Workshop held at Wildacres retreat, one of my favorite places, turned out to be an excellent experience. 

This was the first time I had been to a week-long event for writers, and I had trepidation about going. As most of you know, I am a night person, so being at breakfast at 8:00 a.m. upset my internal clock. This did affect my mood all week. Not feeling social, as I am normally, I missed some good fun and networking. But I got downstairs to the class with Darnell Arnoult by 9:00 a.m. every day.

We had the largest number of students of any class held that week, so I met interesting writers from various places in North Carolina but also from as far away as Oregon. Many thanks to Georgann Eubanks, creator of Table Rock Writers, and the Candy Meir Scholarship fund, for making it possible for me to attend the workshop.

Darnell gave us good writing exercises. With one of them, I found the beginning of a story I had planned to tell, but just never knew how to start. Darnell is one of my favorite instructors. Although I have taken her classes in the past, she continues to open my eyes to new and better ways to tell a story. She taught a memoir class, but she admits she reads fiction. I own her novel, Sufficient Grace, and I highly recommend it. 
Darnell Arnoult

Darnell's advice to anyone who wants to write well is to read, read, read. Read good writers, and see what they do that you would like to do. As I tell my students, read like a writer.

I came home with new ideas for my memoir, for teaching and for reading. Three authors Darnell recommends and I plan to read soon are Harry Crews who writes about my native area, more of Rick Bragg whose work I love, and Larry Brown. 
What writers do you recommend? Do you have favorites?