Lihat eBook. In the rich, impassioned essays collected here, thirty of today s brightest literary lights address the question of mentorship and influence, exploring those times in their development as writers when a special person, a beloved book, or a certain job gave them the courage to take a bold chance on their own gifts.
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For Jane Smiley, the turning point was the support of her fellow classmates not her teachers at the famed Iowa Writers Workshop. For Michael Cunningham, it was an illicit cigarette break with a tough-talking teenage girl at Hollywood High who challenged him to read Virginia Woolf. And for Elizabeth Benedict, inspiration came after writing an essay about her Barnard mentor, Elizabeth Hardwick, after she died in Halaman terpilih Halaman Tajuk.
Jadual Kandungan. Kandungan Introduction. Author Biographies. Once, I was young and broke and living in Boston.
Mentors, Muses & Monsters: 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives
Instead, the months sped past as I scored just one or two ill-paid freelance gigs. Desperate, I cold-called a college alumnus, a top editor at a storied magazine, to ask for a job. But that was long ago, and, by dint of time and luck, things improved. Reflecting on the state are some well-known voices ranging in tone from youthfully sanguine or self-serious Benedict, Jonathan Safran Foer to sensitive, solitary, or shy Robert Boyers , Joyce Carol Oates , Jane Smiley.
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For Benedict, the trip was launched on comments by novelist Elizabeth Hardwick , with whom she studied at Barnard in the s. To some, that might sound like scant praise.
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But Benedict took it as an endorsement. Similarly, as a college student, Foer found meaning in a gift that he gave to Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai — a snow globe that he handed to the literary icon at a reading — which the latter accepted, and kept. Still, Foer wanted more: mentorship, acknowledgment, contact.
If this sounds at once plaintive and grandiose, nascent writers can be — Benedict warns — like amateur stalkers. Critic Boyers — whose credits include Dissent and Partisan Review — saw his early verses jeered by Denise Levertov , then poetry editor for The Nation. Then, he accepted her judgment.
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Well, maybe. In the case of this book, the question may be: Does it matter?
Here, pleasure lies not in sniffing out which of the contributors were wunderkinds — but in hearing their tales of desperation to be so deemed. There are exceptions. Oates tells of being needled by fellow novelists John Gardner and Donald Barthelme : the former for diverging from his interests; the latter, for her bestselling status.
And yet she comes off merely as baffled. I cared hardly a thing for most of the teachers or the editors, but I adored my fellow students.
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