Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Marilynne Robinson

(I have my photographs all picked out for this week's photographic theme but I'm saving that for tomorrow.)

There was an adaptation of Marilynne Robinson's new novel Home in the August 2008 issue of Harper's Magazine, a story called "Jack" and it shows her writing talent exquisitely. Here are a few lines I just had to share:

"The big old radio grew warm and gave off an odor like rancid hair tonic. It reminded her of a nervous salesman. And it made a sullen hiss and sputter if she moved away from it. It was the kind of bad companion loneliness makes welcome."

When I read writing like that I don't know whether to be inspired or give up.

5 comments:

Carmi said...

Can't wait to see what you've chosen!

I lean toward the inspired side of the coin. I've always deliberately tried to read the work of great writers. Even though I know in my heart of hearts that they're supernatural talents and I likely don't deserve to be in their orbit, just being exposed to their work has to have some sort of influence on my own.

In that respect, it helps me continue to grow. So I read...

I try to avoid getting bummed in the process at my relatively plebian gifts.

PJP said...

i feel the same way when i experience really beautiful art...i try to run with the inspiration part of it and use it for my work before the negative, discouraging thoughts kick in.

sometimes i even copy someone else's style outright for a little while, just to see what happens. it's a fun exercise.

look! i posted a comment!

billie said...

Mamie, I just picked that book up in the bookstore the other day to take a look - I wasn't buying, but I put it on my list.

I've just started (after a long spell with Lonesome Dove, and I'm in a sort of state of mourning for all those characters and their journeys) The Confessions of Max Tivoli by Andrew Sean Greer.

His opening line just blows me away:

We are each the love of someone's life.

I want an opening line like THAT.

mamie said...

Carmi, I guess you're right that the exposure has to be inspirational if nothing else. Do you study other photographers as well? Thanks for encouraging us to share our work with others. It has been a bold move for me!

PJP, My writing teacher encourages us to use the imitation process in our stories too. And your beautiful art is an inspiration to me!

mamie said...

Billie, I love the hopefulness of Greer's first line. Thanks for sharing that.