Saturday, May 1, 2010

Saturday's thoughts

When asked to list my favorite authors, Margaret Atwood is always one of the first to come to mind.  In truth, I've only ever read two of her books (Cat's Eye & The Blind Assassin), and feel quite ashamed that I haven't gotten through this one, which is the one everyone loves, the one that's taught in the schools.  Reading her books is work--but the good kind.  She rewards her reader, and manages to weave together (with no seam showing) great storytelling, philosophy, and a strong social consciousness.  That is to say, you can't read one of her books and not feel smarter and better off upon finishing.

Today she has a piece up on Daily Beast called "Why We Must Defend Writers".  <---(In this case, the period goes outside the quotations because it's a preexisting quotation.  Argh now I'm confusing myself.)

Anyway, here's my favorite part:
For writers can’t retire, nor can they be fired: As we hear constantly from those who think there should be no arts grants, writers don’t have real jobs. That’s true, in a way: They have no employers. Or rather their employers are their readers: which imposes on them a truly Kafkaesque burden of responsibility and even guilt, for how can you tell whether you’re coming up to the standards of people you don’t even know? Publishing a book is like stuffing a note into a bottle and hurling it into the sea. Some bottles drown, some come safe to land, where the notes are read and then possibly cherished, or else misinterpreted, or else understood all too well by those who hate the message. You never know who your readers might be.
But the whole thing (only two pages) is worth a read, if you are so inclined.  I actually think this article dovetails well with thoughts on The Book Thief.  And in general, with our ongoing discussion of why stories matter, and as an extension of that, why stories have power.

Hope you are enjoying the weekend, preferably with a good book at your fingertips and loved ones in close proximity.  I'm back in Williamsburg, so of course we're in full sweltering-heat swing, with temps in the 90s and slated to stay that way.  The swimming pool down the street is completely packed with screaming children, and there are men outside in sleeveless shirts barbecuing meat. 

So I'm pretending it's still Novemeber and staying inside and baking.  I made muffins.

See you soon.


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