Friday, March 25, 2011

All the right words....

I've been pretty obsessed with Anna Quindlen for some time now.  The first time I encountered her writing was when I was pregnant, working my "dream job" and super hormonal.  Someone gave me an essay she wrote on motherhood.  It still kills me.  I cry every time I read it.  You too can read it here and cry!  I'm crying again.  I read it again.  It never gets old.

Next, I came across her book "A Short Guide to a Happy Life" and I high recommend it.  On Wednesday night I was killing time in a thrift store while I waited for Lauren to get out of Spanish class.  I'm not sure why I bought Anna's book.  I try not to buy books anymore, but simply get them from the library so I don't have more things cluttering my life.  However, for 99 cents I felt that familiar tug at my heart that Anna's words seem to have on me, so I bought "Being Perfect."

There was some divine connection to why I bought this book.  It happened around page 35.  It was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.  I must share.  That's what bloggers do.  We share.

Page 35~
What perfection requires is a kind of lockstep.  Look at that word; imagine it in your mind's eye, the forced march of the fearful, the physical opposite of the skip and the jump.  Doesn't it sound like something to avoid at all costs?

Lockstep is easier, but there's another reason why you cannot succumb to it.  Because nothing great or good ever came of it.  Sometimes I meet young writers, and I like to share with them the overwhelming feeling I have about our work, the feeling that every story has already been told.  Once you've read Anna Karenina, Bleak House, The Sound and the Fury, To Kill a Mockingbird, and A Wrinkle in Time, you understand that there is really no reason to every write another novel.  Except that each writer brings to the table, if she will let herself, something that no one else in the history of time every has.  That is her own personality, her own voice.  If she is doing Fitzgerald imitations, she can stay home.  If she is giving readers what she thinks they want instead of what she is, she should stop typing.

But if her books reflect her character, the authentic shape of her life and her mind, then she may well be giving readers a new and wonderful gift.  Giving it to herself, too.

~I could go on and on but I will end here.  Fabulous words that resonate within my soul.  Thank you Anna!

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoy Anna Quindlen's writing as well. She used to write the Last Page Essay in Newsweek every other issue or so, but hasn't for a couple of years (i.e. 2 Newsweek revisions ago). I miss it.