Dear Alice (Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature)

Alice Munro Wins Nobel Prize

A couple of days ago Mediabistro said the bets were running 4 to 1 that Alice Munro would win the Nobel this year for Literature. So I’ve been waiting for today’s announcement. If you follow this blog, then you know that Munro is my favorite. I imagined the Huff Post notification coming through on my phone early in the morning. And you know what? That’s exactly what happened.

I got the Huff Post notice, the NY Times Breaking News update and I actually got out of bed without hitting the snooze in order to turn on KCRW to hear them announce her win on Morning Edition. But now we have some serious business to discuss.

My dear Alice (if I may be so familiar)-

First, congratulations! Well deserved recognition. Take a day or two to celebrate and let it sink in that you won the Nobel. But then, you have to start writing again. This retirement thing is not meant for writers. We have to write up until the very end. Maybe the compulsion to hit the notebook or computer and dissect thoughts and life, create characters and sort things out isn’t burning in you at the moment, but you kind of owe it to the rest of us. The last collection – Dear Life – was wonderful, but what about a book for Dear Reader?

I won’t lay things on too thick and don’t want to assume I know too much about why you write or even put myself in your fine category, but we’re usually writing for ourselves. To answer some nagging question or untie a lump of a knot or explore some forgotten corner that possibly resembles beauty. It’s a selfish pursuit in many ways. But you’ve reeled so many of us in with your writing, your observations. This is no time to rest on your laurels. You’ve got a responsibility to me and millions of others to tell us stories. We need you.

Start slow. Send me a grocery list or to do list. I’ll read that. Send a postcard. Work your way up to a collection of stories. We’ll wait.  We can be a patient lot.

And once again – Congratulations!


JOP 22: Insomniac Celebration of Poetry

Just One Paragraph: Poetry

This photo has nothing to do with what I’m writing about. (I can’t even make out what it is, but I like it.)

Usually I sleep really well. Tonight I’ve been up writing and can’t seem to call it a day. I’m hoping that getting down some thoughts here will be the final call and then time for rest. My latest project is hopefully a serious one, one I’ll see through. I’ve criticized myself for years for not finishing things. But now I’m working daily on a book of poetry. I have felt like a weekend poet, an occasional poet (your basic fraud) for a while now. Having gotten some wonderful encouragement (Thanks David!), I’m really trying to put a book together. It feels like it’s going slow and fast at the same time. I’m doing something every day on the book. Not always a new poem, sometimes just reading old stuff, sometimes editing. Editing means I may change a whole comma, stare at it and change it back an hour later. It’s closer to watching paint dry than a real writing process. It matters to me though. So while the world may not be waiting for a book of poetry from me with bated breath, it feels heady and exciting to have focus. Stayed tuned and I’ll be documenting some of the process. When I’m closer to finishing, I’ll share some poems and the title. I know that at least my parents are looking forward to this. (Thanks Mom & Dad!)

JOP 21: Traffic And A Dry Rioja

Just One Paragraph Paragraphs are made of sentences. I’m hoping to string a few of those together with just enough cohesion that we’re all happy enough to call this a paragraph (just don’t expect a lot of substance). I left the house at 8:30 this morning. Drove carpool to school. Headed down to Venice to work until 6. Drove home through a shortcut that only took me an extra 30 minutes. Heated up leftovers that no one else ate. Argued mildly with Izzy. Worked for an hour or so on another project. (And this project is very cool.  I’m going to be teaching writing to teens.) Emailed more people than I can remember. Talked about the government shutdown with Zoe (both of us furious). Drank half a glass of a dry Rioja. Fought with the kittens to keep them away from my pretzels. And now, yes that’s right. A little more of the Rioja and calling it a day. What was your day like? How long did it feel?

photo credit: See-ming Lee ??? SML via photopin cc