🙂🙃a quick diversion & then back to it🦃!
A great book + a prompt + 9 food gifts you want to give/receive + a playlist for Thanksgiving
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I wake energized/I wake tired. I hate my work-in-progress/I love my work-in-progress. Excited about Thanksgiving/Sad about people I’ll miss at Thanksgiving. The sky is blue/the air bites with chill. Opposites! I welcome them. I’m here.
And more opposites! The lonely and true voice of this poem by Kim Addonizio:
TO THE WOMAN CRYING UNCONTROLLABLY IN THE NEXT STALL
(please read the full poem if only for the final line)
If you ever woke in your dress at 4 A.m. ever…
…stood miserably on a beach
seaweed clinging to your ankles paid
good money for a bad haircut backed away
from a mirror that wanted to kill you…
Alongside the exuberance of this amazing human whose instagram you should follow:
And what about this? Lie-abed Stanley awaiting his turkey. And me? I think that’s me, five years ago, conducting a turkey revival in the kitchen? (Please, do not zoom! do not share!)
What a dream and wonder that all of these things coexist in our beautiful world. I wish you all a lovely Thanksgiving. Play nice! Here’s a playlist in case you’re in need. It begins with an upbeat welcome vibe, moves into high energy food prep/dance party, a little softer for the eating part, then a tick upward again, ending with chill beats for your tryptophan/pie stupor. Have fun!
Lucky me! My pal, Mary Rechner, invited me to be in conversation with her regarding her wonderful new novel-in-stories, MARRYING FRIENDS. Our talk ranged from the mother/artist binary and how characters in her book must choose between the two; to writing from varying POVs: a man, a person in their 80s, and a four year old! We discussed what from Rechner’s childhood may have inspired her to become a writer and she said she writes to make order from chaos. She described beach outings with her large family and being the one who shook the sand from the blankets, set right the juice boxes, and aligned the shoes.
Rechner’s book shines with the agility of a Cirque du Soleil performer, the wisdom of a zen koan, the pleasure of a complicated puzzle, and the brutal honesty of a good therapist. MARRYING FRIENDS begins with a death, and the Long Island community is rebuilt around the loss. Relationships are reshuffled, family goes missing, children arrive, financial and creative lives are disrupted, lovers are scorned and reunited. Rechner’s book is true in its revelations of our own complicated lives, and yet she offers no answers. She extends an invitation to trust the mystery, she says, don’t worry, we will make it through. (Read if you like Melissa Banks, Ellen Gilchrist, Tobias Wolff.)
Check my read.write.eat. Bookshop Store, where you will find many of the books I've recommended in the newsletter. Buying books from my shop is a way you can be a friend to the newsletter.
Did you see this: MAYBE YOU SHOULDN’T WRITE A MEMOIR. Basically the article, by Arthur C. Brooks, says that if you like to talk about yourself that much…maybe don’t, as it could be a sign of depression rather than a reason to further indulge. Look outward!
People with depression spend more time thinking about themselves than nondepressed people do, and have difficulty switching their attention to other people and things.
As is commonly the case with depression, this tendency is counterproductive, in the sense that talking about oneself and disregarding others are off-putting characteristics. Depressed people need love and support, and research shows that they react positively to experiencing a sense of belonging. But conversational narcissism—especially complaining—drives people away, which can make the mood disorder worse.
Okay, yes, but, I don’t know, I still think talking/writing about IT (whatever the big IT is) expunges it from your body and maybe eliminates depression. As long as it isn’t a constant stream of complaining. A good memoir is a 360 degree view, right? We don’t just gripe, we examine people, especially ourselves, through a lens of curiosity, love, and a desire to make sense. Thoughts?
Here’s a PROMPT:
I know I’ve shouted from the rooftops the virtues of taking an improv class and the skills that are directly transferable to one’s writing. (if you missed it, you can read about it here: Yes, And!) Now I’d like to talk about But & Therefore which comes from the writers of South Park. Basically, if the words which connect the scenes or actions of your story/memoir/novel are “and then” you’re screwed. And then is simply a chain of events that doesn’t have a causal link. It’s boring. The South Park dudes say, between every beat, you need to have a Therefore or a But.
Something happens: Phoebe’s ex-husband gets HPV related cancer and wants to move in with her, their two sons, and Phoebe’s current husband during his treatment. Great idea, right?
therefore (causal link)
This happens: They decide to let him come. Phoebe hopes his relationship with his sons will strengthen and that he will be filled with yearning and remorse for divorcing amazing-her so many years ago. Basically, that he will recognize that he was an ass.
but (here is the complication)
this happens: Phoebe actually feels rekindled love for her ass-hat ex and it causes strife in her marriage and chaos in her heart!
this happens: The whole family has to come to terms with who they are, who they’ve become, what they must admit, and what they must accept.
It’s a comedy! I hope. It’s what happens in a story called “Brother-Husbands,” from my book-in-progress.
Now, you must try it with your work in progress! Do you have Therefore/But between your beats? or simply andthenandthenandthen… Fix it! I know you can.
9 delightful food gifts worth the cost of shipping (in no particular order):
Stanley and I wish you a happy holiday!
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