Executive-turned-writer Martha Johnson explains why she can’t separate her fiction and non-fiction writing personas.
For anyone who views a writing career as an impossible dream, poet Peter M. Gordon is an inspiration. After a 30-year career in creative work that has included theatre directing, writing, teaching, and television programming, Peter reinvented himself as a poet after the age of 50 – and very successfully so.
I spent high school immersed in Victorian novels. My purse contained four typed 9×11 sheets listing classic works that every “college-bound” student should read, and every year I dutifully read and crossed more of them off. I defended these books vociferously for their timeless ideas, eschewing more contemporary writing, most of which, I was sure, had only ephemeral value. Though I was writing fiction of my own even back then – and certainly wanted people to read it – my goal was to write something timeless, and I thought my greatest guide to doing so would come from reading other timeless works.
11/4/13 – INTERVIEW WITH MARIAN SZCZEPANSKI, AUTHOR OF PLAYING ST. BARBARA
Novelist Marian Szczepanski and I met at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in the summer of 1993. We recently reconnected through a mutual Facebook friend who had just reviewed Marian’s new (and first!) novel, Playing St. Barbara. Marian was gracious enough to catch me up on the missing twenty years, including how she came to write this historical novel chronicling the brutal lives and enduring spirit of Depression-era immigrant coal-mining families in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Life takes us funny places. Decades ago I played in the Yale Symphony Orchestra with Linda Marianiello, who had transferred to Yale and had the reputation – more than well-deserved – as a phenomenal flautist. I recently learned that Linda has turned her musical training, liberal arts education, and other considerable skills to literary and book translation, a field that constitutes 3% of all book publishing in the US today. I grabbed the chance to catch up with Linda to find out not only how her life took this turn but also learn something about what exactly literary translation requires of a writer.
9/4/13 – DISCUSSABILITY: THE KEY TO A GOOD BOOK CLUB BOOK
Book clubs are often maligned as places where people do just about everything except discuss books. But when I asked members of my own book club for reading recommendations, they confirmed what I had always suspected: book clubs not only discuss books, but “discussability” trumps literary merit.
9/1/13 – THE BOOKS I MISSED READING LAST YEAR
I’ve been so submerged in the process of writing a new novel that I’ve missed pretty much every one of my monthly book club meetings over the past year—and, alas, many of the books that went with them. When I finally came up for air, I found myself gasping for fresh reading material, and I figured the ladies of my longstanding book club could rescue me.