First Sunday of August 2011: NYTBR 17 July 2011

It is the first Sunday of August, 2011.  A milestone:  for the first time, self hosted her writers group.  It was a long slog for all of them, coming south.  And after they left, the table was still laden with food!  Not to mention all the food they brought with them!

Late Afternoon, First Sunday of August 2011

Sometimes, when self is in Bacolod, she begins to wonder if she really knows what she is doing.  At such times, she hangs on to the memories of her writers group meetings with the ferocity of a —  a Rottweiler?

Son went off sailing with Kramer and his parents.  It was a beautiful day.  All of the plants in the backyard are expiring from lack of water, but self steeled herself to endure it.  There’s no way, she has to let some things go.

One thing she refuses to let go is her subscription to the New York Times Book Review.  And since she has lost track of how many issues she has missed, she peruses the first one she pulls out of her stack of unread mail, and it’s the one of 17 July 2011.  And reading through it, self decides to clip the following reviews:

  • Gaiutra Bahadur’s review of Esmeralda Santiago’s new novel, Conquistadora:  ” . . .  the novel’s heroine, Ana Cubillas, ends up a widow running a sugar plantation who becomes romantically involved with an overseer.”
  • Zoe Slutzky’s review of Alice LaPlante’s first novel, Turn of Mind, whose heroine “is losing her wits to Alzheimer’s disease and is the prime suspect in her best friend’s murder.”
  • Justin Cronin’s review of Glen Duncan’s eighth novel, The Last Werewolf, which is of course about a werewolf.  A very erudite werewolf.

The end-paper essay, by Dani Shapiro, asks the crucial (for memoirists) question:  Can a memoirist write with total honesty if she is worried about what her son might think?  In writing her memoir Slow Motion, Shapiro says that in order “to find the Emersonian thread of the universal in my story, I laid myself bare in the most unflattering light.  I’ve often wondered whether I would have written that memoir —  one of seven books to my name, but the only one I would bodily throw myself in front of my son to prevent him from reading —  if the timing had been different, if the idea for it had taken root in me only after he had been born.”

Interesting question, wouldn’t you say, dear blog readers?

Stay tuned.

Iain Kelly

Fiction Writing

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