To read an excerpt from the book, please click on the following link:

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Writing Groups New and Old

Note: I amended my last post because I was in an intolerant mood when I wrote it. It is true that I have low tolerance at times forr people who have hurt me or try to limit my way in the world, or hurt others and try to keep them oppressed, but knowing that and giving public vent to it are two different things. I also have trouble trying to reconcile the way I viewed someone for years, with the cold hard reality of his nature that I was inundated with. I think it is fair to think and write more clearly, though.

I spent a nice time last night at my "old" writing group which I have been a part of for literally decades. They are very supportive of the Asha book and not afraid of the violence it depicts. They have been also very enthusiastic over the writing.

I doubt I will ever really be invited back to my old Sunday afternoon writing group. Much as they would like me back, the person in question really is the self-appointed overseer of that group and tacitly seems to approve or disapprove who comes in, or in my case, excluded. I know the group is not happy about it, but no one is really willing to step forward, as far as I know, and ask, so no one has ever been able to find out. I don't even try anymore, even though all of them are sad to lose me and we try to socialize when we can. I found it a little amusing, by the way, that some of them were a touch hesitant about my new book and its subject matter (murder) when they write fantasy and science fiction stories which involve battles, hand-to-hand combat, and killing!!

I mean, what can you do? The person in question doesn't even, I think, make a conscious decision to hurt me and really, I don't know if he'd be happy to welcome me back to the group or not: I just gamble on the side of caution. If they ask me back one day, I will consider it. My next book (yes, I am planning a next book) will be a biography of the poet Ruth Stone. I have always wanted to write a biography of her.

I have admiration for the people who courageously write when they work full-time, or have kids, or, like John Grisham, writing on the commuter train to work because he has to devote weekends to his family, or someone like Ruth Stone, toiling for YEARS in obscurity and never giving up, ever. At the end of her life, she won the National Book Award, the National Critics Circle Award, two Guggenheim fellowships, and the Shelley Memorial award--the money from many of these awards spent on repairs for her Vermont farmhouse (which is eventually going to become a writer's retreat). Certainly anyone who wants to become a writer can and should, though--but questioning one's motives is part of it.

The Asha book is a nonfiction work about the worst violence that can happen to anyone, and the great courage of people such as her husband and friends who continue to live in the world, function, socialize, and hold her memory in their hearts, but with the worst cicatrix of scars and sadness imaginable. I was thinking last night as I drove home that the numbness over my own loss has faded and the real pain seems to be beginning as part of a long process, but there is NEVER, as far as I know, a letting-go of the pain over someone taken as violently away as Asha and my friend Anne.
I would like this book ultimately to be about the need to honor not only the victims, but the people left behind.