Friday, June 22, 2007

Making A Literary Life Friday: Origins

A lot of thinking this week about where we've been and where we come from, maybe grounding ourselves for the next push forward -- with submissions, revisions, new projects. Maybe it is not merely coincidence that yesterday was the first day of summer; all the seeds have been planted and now it is time for good things to grow!

How is it the woman working in the children's section at Barnes & Noble knew how to help me with my next project. I was asking her about the Magic Treehouse series for my son. After she gave me some advice on that, she led me to a new paperback non-fiction for kids. Coincidence that this subject area has been haunting me? Or a sign? I'll take it as a sign - I bought the book.

Today, to celebrate my children's report cards, I'm taking them to Buttonwood Books so they may each choose a favorite book as a reward. Isn't that exciting, the prospect of walking into a bookstore and taking home any book you want? While I'm there, I'll get one for myself. Any suggestions?

I've been reading Ruth Reichl, and what struck me most about the first chapter of her memoir was her conviction that she found her calling. Her editor said, "You are a natural to be a food critic; I am giving you the job." Ruth announced the news to her artist husband, her commune housemates, and her traditional parents; everyone was dismayed. For the first time, she was faced with universal disapproval, and for the first time, despite her long, proud history as a people-pleaser, she went against the expectations of everyone around her. She found her calling, and she knew it. To perseverance!

I have the same last day of school ritual with my children that Amy does. This year Caitlin chose Suite Francaise and Stephen chose Lord of the Flies. I picked up Elinor Lipman's, My Latest Grievance . Each summer, each member of the family establishes a reading goal. We include books we've been dying to read and a few classics. One night a week we discuss books over dinner. On Labor Day weekend, we have a marathon book discussion about our favorites, the ones that moved us most, and the ones we'd most recommend. The Griffin summer reading challenge is on!

Literary Happenings: The Writers' Group will be hosting a workshop at Grub Street South at Buttonwood Books this Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00 pm. We'd love it if you came out to fill the seats and say hello.

Need a laugh? This is hilarious, so click here and be sure to vote for Tish!


mohanley5 said...

Hi All,

I just finished reading "In Revere, In Those Days" by Roland Merullo. I loved it. I also read Michael Patrick MacDonald's "Easter Rising" at the same time. Both grew up in gritty city neighborhoods.

One perspective was, here is my life and this is what I made of it. The other was more in your face: hey this is my lousey life and I'm writing another book about it. (So why did I buy that one?)

Anyway, being a (sort of) city kid and raising three city kids, I was drawn to the setting and also familiar with the culture of being stuck in a particular neighborhood/way of life. As I write this, I realize that the second book is like that highway accident that you don't want to look at but you find yourself peeking through your fingers at the wreckage as you pass by.

If you like Irish humor, look up Brendan O'Carroll (The Mammy, The Chisellers, The Granny).

Amy, if you are interested in the Revere book, I can lend it to you. I plan to go to Buttonwood Books on Tuesday evening.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Thanks, Five, that's awfully generous.


Anonymous said...

Lord of The Flies; is one of my favorite novels. What a great choice.


Here is one that might not have gotten the attention it deserved "The Dancing Girls of Lahore." by Louise Brown.
My wife read it recently and cried each of the three nights it took to finish the book.
I have refrained from reading it though, as it relates to my own WIP. And I don't want to be influenced by someone else's thoughts on the same subject.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Oooh, that sounds fantastic. I'll definitely look into it. Have you read The Blood of Flowers? Maybe after your WIP is completed. Thanks, Reality.


olufunke grace bankole: said...

dear hannah,

sometimes that's the sign that we're on path--the decision to trust that feeling deep within, despite strong, external opposition. thank you for sharing this.


Anonymous said...

Hi Amy,
I haven't read Blood of Flowers so far. Thats on my list as well as "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" by Mohsin Hamid.
I am so far back on reading nowadays, I haven't even read Kiran Desai's book.
Thanks for the recommendation though.

Lynne Griffin and Amy MacKinnon said...

Oh, read Kiran Desai's book, Reality. You'll be left breathless. Actually, it's one of those books that leaves a writer in tears, flailing. It's much too perfect.


Wet Ink said...

Amy and Lynne, you've reminded me of when I was a teacher and we sometimes took the kids to buy books. Some of them had never owned a new book before. It was quite humbling.

I do hope you enjoy your new books! What a treat!


John Robison said...

Lynne, I just saw that you wrote a book with Pat Schneider. Did you know she and my mother are old friends?