To refresh and revitalize, some love a long soak in a tub. Personally, I am easily distracted and soon find myself calculating the height of a wave that will just miss lapping onto the floor. I prefer a good writers' conference. Luckily for me, The Writers’ Group heads to Boston this weekend for Grub Street’s The Muse and the Marketplace, to soak in the presence, perspectives and wisdom of writers and authors, agents and editors.
(Has anyone mentioned a certain Lynne Reeves Griffin will be on the publicity panel hosted by Ms. Hank Phillippi Ryan, reporter and author of Prime Time?)
As my literary soak will be limited to one day, I will miss Sunday’s sessions with the likes of Sue Miller, Scott Heim, Michael Lowenthal, Ellen Litman, and the keynote speaker, Charles Baxter. So it is Saturday that is making me edgy with anticipation as I long for its arrival, readying for the day on which I will head into the depths.
Each session has so many wonderful choices, it's almost painful to choose. As with a day at a spa, I want to walk out feeling relaxed, yet invigorated. Thus, I am looking forward to Swarthmore College’s Philip Weinstein talking about how to “use” fiction. Christopher Castellani, artistic director of Grub Street, heard this lecture a few months ago and promoted it as inspiring. I am ready for every drop. I chose Martha Southgate, too, looking forward to what I am sure will be an entertaining discussion on serendipity and openness.
(Did I mention that Lynne's panel is one of the alternatives to Southgate, Sheri Joseph, Suzanne Berne and Carlo Rotella? How cool is that?)
Still, the single session that makes all of this year’s Muse worth it for me is the first. Margot Livesey will give a presentation entitled, “Mrs. Turpin Reads the Stars.” One of my very favorite authors is going to tell me (okay, plus fifty or so others) “what brings characters to life, the degree to which they are made by art, and how we can get better at practicing that art.” I was happy reading an interview with her in The Kenyon Review; now the author of Banishing Verona is going to dive into the topic in person, with me (okay, plus the others), three short days from now. This makes me happier than a week at Canyon Ranch. Really.
So if you will be at the Muse, look for us. If not, I suspect we will layer future entries with splashes of insight gleaned from this amazing get-together, and looking forward to your own thoughts and responses after long soaks in the literary!
Wednesday, May 02, 2007