Friday, February 01, 2008

Happy February!

Well, LOST was freaking awesome. I am so happy to get a fix. It will wear off by the end of today, but I have the ep on TiVo so I can just rewatch.

But I am at risk of boring those readers who want me to talk about writing. Okay.

So, my essay class begins today. I'm about halfway through Art and Craft of Memoir, edited by William Zinser, which held a funny anecdote by memoirist Frank McCourt:

The first piece of literature in my life--if you go back to what you might call the intellectual or spiritual activities--was the Catholic catechism, the little green book that had the questions and answers that prepared us for first confession and first communion. The first question was "Who made the world?"


"Who is God?"

"God is the creator and sovereign lord of heaven and earth and of all things."

"Why did God make the world?"

That's where I got into trouble. I forgot the answer. So I said, "So we all have something to stand on." That was my first encounter with theology, and an unfortunate encounter it was.

Loved that one. Read it to hubby and he wanted me to find out what the "correct" answer was. :)

Zinsser edits a great book, which is also a quick read, and well worth the effort. I hope to finish today and then it's on to the next. :)

So, I am working on the first essay for my class and of course, it dredges up memories that are painful (centered around my faith, which probably doesn't surprise anyone) so it will take a bit to get it all out and to make it truthful. That is the biggest lesson for this first week: to be truthful.

How does one do that? How do you honestly filter your experiences and really face them with honesty and truth? The urge is to cover up and to make them pretty, so they don't hurt so much. I don't think that's a bad thing, though. It's how humans cope (read any psychoanalysis textbook to see how much we do to cope) and we've become really good at it.

I think that's the greatest challenge in memoir/essay writing. To record events that perhaps weren't our greatest moments, and that takes a lot of courage. I was working with a writing coach a few years ago and started some essays back then that I stopped abruptly. She was really disappointed, because she felt these essays were the truest thing I could write. So this is my brave moment.

Sending off that novel manuscript made me brave and I'm going to grab the chance to just go for it with these essays. If I can get them out, that's a huge victory in my eyes.

Next up to read: The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative (Vivian Gornick)
Currently listening to: Gothica (Sarah Brightman)


Heidi said...

Did you find out the answer to the question? That was hilarious!

Actually, I'm teaching the boys a simplified catachism and the answer to that question is, "For His own glory."

Oh, and I'm proud of you for sending off your novel manuscript. I can't wait to read your book. :)

Heidi said...

I forgot another thing. (I must be in a chatty mood today.) I just read Me: Stories of My Life by Katharine Hepburn, and found it wonderfully honest. I appreciated that she could look back and say, 'I really hurt that person,' or, 'That wasn't the smartest move. What was I thinking?'

I agree, though. It would be very hard to write that!

Trish said...

All I could find out was this: from (

God, infinitely perfect and blessed in himself, in a plan of sheer goodness freely created man to make him share in his own blessed life. For this reason, at every time and in every place, God draws close to man. He calls man to seek him, to know him, to love him with all his strength. He calls together all men, scattered and divided by sin, into the unity of his family, the Church. To accomplish this, when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son as Redeemer and Savior. In his Son and through him, he invites men to become, in the Holy Spirit, his adopted children and thus heirs of his blessed life.

I love the beauty of it.

Anyway, Frank McCourt is a great writer. Interesting about Kath Hepburn. One of her quotes "Enemies are so stimulating" has resonated with me. Perhaps she second-guessed when writing her bio? One of the most incredible books is Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies. I think it would have been incredibly hard to write. I think Michelle read it for book club. Great book. Definitely shook me up. Off I go to write an essay! Thanks for the good wishes!