All You Holy Men and Women, Write for Us!

 

The prompt for the blogging challenge for today (or yesterday?  Day 3, and my 2nd post, at any rate) is about writers we admire, and writing mentors.

It feels like a litany of saints, eh?

I admire brave writers.  Writers who write about things that are difficult to say, or to say well, or who construct stories in ways that allow a deep and startling engagement with their intricate subjects.  Especially, I admire writers who are morally brave, who dare and struggle to reveal what is true about our experiences of the world and our choices in it.  I’m thinking of Patrick Ness here, and his brilliant Chaos Walking series, of Yann Martel, Hannah Green, the memoir I literally just finished by Margaux Fragoso, of Markus Zuzak, of Toni Morrison, always, of Louise Erdrich, of so many more.

I admire writers whose stories and characters are so alive that the books themselves feel like precious friends, or whose words and worlds have become the backdrop of the world I actually live in, always present, always ready, whole phrases there in my mind when I look at something from the corner of my eye, in the right light, in the right frame of mind.  Tomson Highway for Kiss of the Fur Queen; Elizabeth E. Wein, especially The Winter Prince; always, always, the first and beloved C.S. Lewis and L. M. Montgomery, whose writing literally helped me both recognize and construct a self to sit and write to you today… which brings me to the authors who taught and loved and maddened me from the earlier reading days: Madeleine L’Engle.  Cynthia Voight.  Authors whose names I can’t remember, of books like The Only Alien on the Planet. 

And the teachers of sex and adulthood like a glittering mirror ball with a thousand facets, they who help my sharpness, my desire, my wide-open eyes: Anne Rice, Armistead Maupin, Colleen McCullough, and, in his own way, Andrew Greeley.

This is impossible, every name leads to another, every thought or category to ten more who fit and break it.

The beautiful and blazingly intelligent William Shakespeare (I know, I’m not the first nor the last to love that one, but one of my first writerly ambitions was to have a vocabulary as large as his).  John Donne who melts me, Julian of Norwich who shores me up.  Those who have left their giant thumbprints on the details of my life, on my experiences and my relationships.  Little Willy Wycherly.  Diane Duane.

I admire writers who tend their writing like eggs in a nest, like thin-skinned infants, like centuries-old trees.  I admire so very many writers beyond this strange and idiosyncratic list that I could post on nothing else for the month and not be done.

I admire writers who are missing from my mind and from this list because I have never read them, because nobody has ever read them, or very few, but who keep writing anyway.  I admire Felix Gilman, who gave me his very excellent, intricate, beautiful book The Thunderer for free in a line at the New York City Comic Convention a couple of years ago, just an assembly line of signed books– it must have felt strange, perhaps discouraging, but I read what he writes now, and urge others to do the same.  I admire… oh, everyone!  The researchers, the ones who make me feel the whole spread and weight of their research like so many pounds of feathers, the intensely intelligent: Umberto Eco, Barry Unsworth… the comic artists who spread the world under my fingers– Craig Thompson, Fumi Yoshinaga…

OH, THERE ARE SO MANY.

Not to mention the writers I actually know, the ones who inspire, encourage, and sustain me.  The BMVCOE for the conversations that would be epics were they piled up in pages, Charlotte Rahn-Lee for a life-sharing story, Jeff McGraw for every bit of faith, The Uncut Pages Writers’ Group for loving my weird entanglements of invented human beings.

I am still leaving so many out.  But after all, this is writing.  Writing is always leaving most of the things out, spinning ecstatically next to that which you most want to say, throwing out a hand as you grow dizzy and hoping that the other person will catch enough of the scent on you to understand.

For that, I admire all writers.  All with honest hearts and willing fingers.

All the writers I love whom I’ve not mentioned or forgotten, forgive and smile on me still. 🙂

Inheritance at Underwater New York

So, I’ve decided to do this Author Blog Challenge to get blogging again, especially now that I’ve finished writing my last paper for the semester, and I saved some good writing news just to get started!

A couple of months ago I found this cool project/website/organization called Underwater New York.  What they do is go around to the waterways of New York City and environs, and find all sorts of strange, evocative stuff in and around the water.  Then they post about it on their website and people write stories, poems, even songs about the stuff!  Seeing that I love strange, evocative stuff, water, making up stories about strange, evocative stuff, and I live in New York City, I was pretty excited and raring to go.  They were having a flash fiction call when I found them, and I decided to write about an 1897 pocket watch found near Coney Island.

Here’s a link to all the tiny stories that were published about the pocket watch: http://underwaternewyork.com/2012/05/16/flash-fiction-submissions-1897-pocket-watch-coney-island/  Mine’s at the bottom.  With my name on it.  And it’s called “Inheritance,” so the title of this post is now making tons of sense.

I noticed that nearly all the stories about the pocket watch had some aspect of it being inherited or at least a special gift, and also that all of them had something to do with death or loss.  I guess the pocket watch aspect lends itself to the former, and I wonder if most stories about things being lost in the water related to death or loss.  It would be interesting to try to do one that was really jubilant, or something!

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story, and that you check out the rest of Underwater New York, and that you come back throughout the month to see how the blogging challenge is going.  I’m not sure what the challenge is, exactly, mostly just to blog and read stuff by other writers, which I’m excited to do.

If you’re stopping by for the first time, welcome!  I’m glad you’re here!  Please feel free to say hello, and tell me a story about inheritance or pocket watches or Coney Island or finding stuff in the water, or whatever you like.

Yay Blog!