Some thoughts on the birthday of Alice Munro, about writing…

FROM THE JULY 10, 2013 “WRITER’S ALMANAC”

“It’s the birthday of the short-story writer Alice Munro (books by this author), born in Wingham, Ontario (1931). She grew up on a farm, and she said, “Reading was an indulgence that you didn’t go in for if there was physical work to be done.” Women were only supposed to read on Sundays, because on every other day of the week they had no excuse to be reading when they could be knitting instead.

She went to college, hoping to become a writer, but she dropped out to get married and have three children. She got divorced and went back to her hometown to take care of her sick father, and she was amazed at how much material there was there. She said, “What I wanted was every last thing, every layer of speech and thought, stroke of light on bark or walls, every smell, pothole, pain, crack, delusion, held still and held together — radiant, everlasting.” And she took those things and turned them into short stories.

She said: “It’s not possible to advise a young writer because every young writer is so different. You might say, ‘Read,’ but a writer can read too much and be paralyzed. Or, ‘Don’t read, don’t think, just write,’ and the result could be a mountain of drivel. If you’re going to be a writer you’ll probably take a lot of wrong turns and then one day just end up writing something you have to write, then getting it better and better just because you want it to be better, and even when you get old and think ‘There must be something else people do,’ you won’t quite be able to quit.”

Italics mine! Her words feel quite true to me…

Write on! See you at the Accokeek Women’s Writer’s Group the second Monday in August!

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