I'm a writer who has published two books with major publishing houses, plus poetry, articles, and other creative work in lots of venues. Shouldn't *that* make me happy?
If the emotional lives of authors who are far more famous than I are any indication, the answer may be "no."
When I began my first novel in my mid-30s, I tried to make light of the feelings I found myself struggling with by flippantly asking my then-colleague, the novelist Pete Rock, whether writing fiction caused manic-depression or merely mimicked the symptoms of manic-depression. He answered, “Yes,” a cleverly enigmatic but also oddly confirming response. What I was feeling, he seemed to say, was common among writers.
I became a novelist so that I could use fiction to share multicultural feminist history with an audience beyond academia. So how did I end up writing a novel inspired by the most canonical of dead white male authors?
For Books' Sake, a wonderful feminist literature website out of the UK, has up a lovely feature in which I answer that question. You can read it here.
(Those of you who've heard the English curse in person may get the rather humorously naughty implications of the phrase "For Books' Sake"; if not, fear not. The website is smart and funny in many ways).
Last November, I gave 4 talks in 4 days on a whirlwind trip to Boise. And I got to hang out with a dear friend from grad school whom I hadn't seen in years. I finally got to meet her kids. And her horses. This is Idaho we're talking about.
And she introduced me to the smart and insightful Marcia Franklin, who hosts one of the best programs on public television, "Dialogue." Marcia and I had a great conversation about black history, Shakespeare, historical fiction, and well, click here and you'll know it all.
As we all know, Oprah's Book Club saved literature in America.
I mean that in all seriousness. Oprah encourage people to read. To read regularly, and to talk about what they were reading. She reminded us that in an increasingly hectic world, books remain a pleasure to be relished. She inspired lots of other book clubs, on the air and in real life.
Including this Helen Raptis's book club on KATU-TV's morning program AM Northwest, where I'm delighted to have been this month's featured author:
And yes, Helen is wearing a denim jacket with leopard print accents. As you may know, leopard print is my favorite color!