Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Popular writers

From The Passive Voice:
We are not starving artists trying to give something eternal to the world born out of blood, sweat and tears, hoping that we can eke out a modest living while receiving scant praise from obscure academic journals. No, we’re trying to make a buck any way we can. And the last time I checked, writing is way better than cleaning out the grease traps at McDonald’s.
What's interesting about this comment is that when I was in grad school, this would have been considered the confession of a hack and "starving artists" were not objects of ridicule but of admiration, writers following a calling, rather like priests. Etc etc etc.

But already the pendulum was moving. At a writer's conference at the Univ of Colorado in the early 1970s, I witnessed something that shocked me: at a reading of a literary writer, two pop writers (both well known but I won't mention names) sat in the front row and midway through the reading started blowing bubbles at the literary writer. I was appalled at this childish joke and left.

Interestingly enough -- serendipity again -- so did Marilyn Thompson, later Marilyn Krysl (maiden name), a gifted poet and short story writer, and discovering we were leaving together, discovering we both lived in Eugene, we began a long friendship, including a period when we exchanged long letters as literary pen pals.
Marilyn Krysl’s work has appeared in
The Atlantic, The Nation, The Pushcart Prize Anthology, Best American Short Stories 2000 and O. Henry Prize Stories.Warscape With Lovers won the Cleveland State Poetry Prize 1997, and her collection of short fiction, Dinner with Osama, won Foreword Magazine’s 2008 Book of the Year Bronze Medal.
Marilyn Krysl website.

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