Thanks to Editor-in-Chief, Kole Oakes, for the lovely chat about AND THERE WAS EVENING AND THERE WAS MORNING!
It’s so thrilling when I stumble upon a new acknowledgment of my first wife’s work, and bittersweet to realize that it is at least as relevant now than when she was alive. As I claim in my memoir, her argument that returning to inscrutable texts can help us learn how to stay in relationship to the inscrutable people we encounter has taught me how to be a better parent, teacher, and citizen. (Now, to start saving up to buy a print copy, so I can find it for myself. Geez! Love the title, too!)
This is an excellent short essay by Mary Volmer, which uses John Edgar Wideman’s memoir, Hoop Roots, to talk about writing as sport. Like athletes, writers embody re-creation as recreation and grow “original” through rote practice. It ain’t easy.
By Mary Volmer
The obsessions of writers and athletes begin the same way, as play. In his memoir, Hoop Roots, John Edgar Wideman explains that his basketball obsession began, “as messing around…throw a ball through a hoop, a fun silly kind of trick at first, until you decide you want to do it better.” He might as well have been speaking about storytelling and writing.
Writing starts as novelty, as messing around, until you decide you want to do it better, and become willing, as Wideman says, to “learn the game’s ABC’s. Learn what it costs to play.” What follows is a period of joyful mimicry. Not yet aware of the limits of your ability, you are burdened only by your own evolving expectations. Try and fail and try again, until the ball begins to fall through the hoop with regularity–until the writing, once derivative, takes on its own life…
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AND THERE WAS EVENING AND THERE WAS MORNING reached the Top 10!
SPD Nonfiction Bestsellers
Thank you to Julianna for allowing me the opportunity to talk a bit about writing and the writing of the memoir!
The memoir that documents the strange parallels between my first wife’s illness and death and my stepdaughter’s battle and recovery three years later is now available.
Just click on the cover below or follow the link to the site!
The memoir that documents the strange parallels between my first wife’s illness and death and my stepdaughter’s battle and recovery three years later is now available for pre-order through SPD and Amazon.