I’m back! That didn’t last long, did it? Slowly, slowly, I’m climbing back into the world of the living and so I will be posting again–though I don’t know with how much frequency. So thanks for all of your kind thoughts and wishes and thanks, as always, for hanging out.

Here are some interesting bits for today from the latest issue of Other Voices:

The guest editor’s notes: Looking beyond the moi (about writing in first person and why this editor chose to have stories in this issue that were not)

and, an interview with wonderful Dorothy Allison (Love her!)

In other news, I’m reading Flannery O’Connor’s Collected Works right now. Got it from my husband for my birthday. I’ve read Wise Blood and A Good Man before–but not the others. Shame on me!

Instead of starting with the fiction, I decided to read through her letters first. There are a ton of them and one is more fascinating than the next. Also, there are many writerly gems in them. Here’s a bit where she is giving advice to a fellow writer who just had her novel rejected:

I hope the novel proves to be retrievable. I enjoy retrieving mine better than I do writing them. Perhaps you finished it under a strain. Try rearranging it backwards and see what you see. I thought this stunt up from my art classes, where we always turn the picture upside down, on its two sides, to see what lines need to be added. A lot of excess stuff will drop off this way.

On symbolism:

When you start describing the significance of a symbol like the tunnel which recurs in the book, you immediately begin to limit it and a symbol should go on deepening. Everything should have a wider significance–but I am a novelist not a critic and can excuse myself from explication de texts on that ground. The real reason of course is laziness.

And this:

What personal problems are worked out in stories must be unconscious. My preoccupations are technical. My preoccupation is how I am going to get this bulls horns into this womans ribs. Of course why his horns belong in her ribs is something more fundamental but I can’t say I give it much thought. Perhaps you are able to see things in these stories that I can’t see because if I did see I would be too frightened to write them. I have always insisted that there is a fine grain of stupidity required in the fiction writer.

Last but not least, today I want to wish my dear friend Stephanie a Happy (belated) Birthday!

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