Friday, April 20, 2007

Making a Literary Life Friday: Inspiration

Lisa and Hannah are away this week, but reading truly inspired books no doubt. We'd love to hear what was the most inspired moment or event in your writing career. Was it a book you read as a child that transported you to new worlds? A teacher who said the four most important words of your life, "You're a good writer?" Or something altogether different. Share your story in the comments; inspire us!

I took a page from Francise Prose's "Reading Like a Writer" and have been reading 5 books this week --yes, 5 -- to compare what works and what doesn't in terms of plot, setting, character development, dialogue, and writing. I love vacation week. I also sent two charming notes and a charming gift -- to a writer friend who made her dream come true. Each time it happens, I want to celebrate, too, because I understand the journey that brought them to that place. Congratulations, friend.

Don't forget, Tuesday, April 24 @ 7:00pm, Grub Street South is happy to host Catherine Goldhammer, author of "Still Life with Chickens." She'll be speaking to how poetry informs good writing. Hit the link to read all about it; we'd love to see you there!

I took a wonderful weekend class at Grub Street Writers given by Stace Budzko on Story Construction. I finished The History of Love by Nicole Krauss which made it into my top ten best books of all times. Last night my daughter and I went out to dinner and spent two hours talking about it. It is a must read for characterization, plot--most of all for the beautiful writing.


Lisa said...

I was in the fourth grade and we had a homework assignment to write a story. It was supposed to be a page long, but I started to write and by the time I finished it was ten. It was a sort of Wizard of Oz meets the movie Journey to the Center of the Earth with a little Gulliver's Travels thrown in and a surprise ending. I remember getting started on the story and not being able to stop. It was such a rush and it was the first time I ever felt like I could do something special. I turned it in and the teachers were all passing it around and saying they should enter it in a contest. I was called in to somebody's office about the story and somebody else called my mother to tell her how impressed they were. After that, I wrote all the time and never stopped. I don't have any other mementos from that time in my life, but I still have that story.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Lisa, what a great story! I love it when teachers encourage very young children that way. Mine was when I was 11 and wrote a letter nominating my dad to the National Father-of-the-Year Committee. He won!


kristen spina said...

About 7 years ago, I was taking my first creative writing class at NYU and I was extremely nervous. I had been a journalist for years, but had only just started to try my hand at fiction. I was out on an emotional limb, desperate for positive reinforcement, but my first two writing assignments didn’t go well. I just couldn’t connect with the topics and I was discouraged. About four weeks into it, we started to submit stories based on our own ideas. And not long after that, the instructor started writing encouraging comments in the margins of my work. By the end of the course, she had invited me to join her private workshop—a salon with about six other writers, many of whom were fairly well established. Though she told me I had a lot to learn about form, structure and such, the one thing she said that has never left me is this: "Clearly, you can write. And you must."

I still haven’t written my novel, but if ever I have doubts that it will happen, I go back and look at her notes and I remember that all things are possible.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Kristen, you & I took the same path to fiction: journalism first. I love stories like yours because it illustrates how just a little positive re-enforcement can change a life. Those notes in the margins urged you forward, then the invitation to the group. Of course you can write the novel. And you must.

exposicion muebles madrid said...

This can't truly have success, I suppose so.