I can’t read Mary Oliver’s poetry (which I have been doing a lot lately), without considering her process. Not knowing anything else, I imagined long walks and lots of quiet pondering. Early mornings. But also late nights afterwards. At a desk. With a warm lamp. Writing, drifting, thinking. I imagined a dog with her, maybe, on these walks or by the fire. Sometimes. Lots of quiet. Upstream, a collection of her essays, filled in some, but not all, of the blanks. Continue reading
This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage is the first Ann Patchett I have read. Without reservation, I loved it. While reading, I think I may have developed just the tiniest bit of a crush on her, as is often the case, I am almost embarrassed to admit, with many of my favorite authors. But most of her stories/essays read like a deep, intelligent conversation you would have with a brilliant friend, perhaps late at night. Over coffee, maybe. How could I not be enchanted?
George Saunders is predominantly known for his short stories. And make no mistake, he is the master. But he is also exceptional at shorter non-fiction stuff, and his collection The Braindead Megaphone is a shining example. For me, this is because the qualities that make him a good fiction writer carry over into his nonfiction. Because, for me, all good writing is about the human perspective, and the ability to see and convey perceptions in a unique but still relatable way. Saunders is one of those talented writers who could make any topic fascinating. Continue reading