inkwell.vue.201 : Salon writers: "Life As We Know It"
permalink #76 of 81: It would have made more sense over tea (wren) Wed 26 Nov 03 07:55
    
And bouncing off your question, (gail), a general one for the writers:
how have your family members reacted to being written about? Do they
ever have people recognize them based on your essays?
  
inkwell.vue.201 : Salon writers: "Life As We Know It"
permalink #77 of 81: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 26 Nov 03 09:46
    

(wren), that must be in the air! Several of the writers have already
touched on that.  But it's a fascinating issue: I confess it keeps me from
doing a lot of possible projects, and I bet I'm not alone.
  
inkwell.vue.201 : Salon writers: "Life As We Know It"
permalink #78 of 81: Theresa Pinto-Sherer (theresa-ps) Wed 26 Nov 03 17:37
    
my family has read everything i wrote before it was published. they
often have comments to make, but have never complained or asked to have
anything changed. once, my mother felt compelled to defend herself. i
think i stay away from writing about people whom i know would be truly
hurt by anything i had to say. for better or for worse. (though i do
work some of that stuff into short stories or other fiction, of
course.)
  
inkwell.vue.201 : Salon writers: "Life As We Know It"
permalink #79 of 81: Kristin Ohlson (kristin-ohlson) Mon 1 Dec 03 05:17
    
Ditto what Theresa said. I always have people about whom I'm writing
read the thing before I send it out, if it's nonfiction-- after all,
these are THEIR lives too and I don't feel any cavalier sense of
ownership to the material just because I've lived part of it. I get
little arguments from my mother from time to time about small issues,
but this hasn't been a problem. If I want to explore really painful
events or conflicts in my family or others-- for instance, the suicide
of a friend's son-- then I work on it in fiction.

About multi-tasking: I'm always doing it, even though I kind of hate
the concept. I try to carve out times to focus intensely on one thing
or another, though so it's more like sequential-tasking. And even if I
don't finish something, I find that if I give it that intense focus for
a while and actually give it life, I can return to it later with new
vision. Your brain continues to work things over, even when you're not
concentrating on them-- this I learned from a neuroscientist I had to
interview once.
  
inkwell.vue.201 : Salon writers: "Life As We Know It"
permalink #80 of 81: Gail Williams (gail) Mon 1 Dec 03 10:32
    

> Your brain continues to work things over, even when you're not
> concentrating on them-- this I learned from a neuroscientist I had to
> interview once.

I'll say.  A collage of different projects can make all of them better,
unless you hit the wall and become overcommitted.  For a lot of us the 
effect of staying in multiple conversations at The WELL over time draws 
on that same effect and gives us new ideas that cross over from one area
to the next.
 
This conversation has got me thinking about how to tell stories that
involve people I care about: along with adoption, conception, health 
care, hope at the time of death, supportive siblings and other mysteries.
I also like the book cover, and I wanted to note that it is a vibrant
non-cartoon collage by Lynda Barry, one of my favorite observers of family
life.  That seems to only show up in microscopic type on the back cover,
which seems like a pity to me, but I know book covers are often a 
last-minute publisher choice rather than an author/editor choice, so I get 
why the credits end up on the covers themselves.  The cover has old
wallpaper and matches and paper hearts and great, vibrant lettering.  

Thanks to the folks who read the stories and asked specific questions, and 
especially to the authors and editor Jennifer Sweeney for coming by 
to talk about LIFE AS WE KNOW IT.  Everyone's invited to keep posting if
you have more questions, suggestions or if you just want to hang out here.

(Check out some other corners of The WELL, such as <life.> where 
members post their life stories, diaries and commentary; <parenting.> the
place for exploring family matters; <writers.> for (mostly fiction) 
writers; <byline.> for freelancers: <media.> about uh, everything related 
to media, and any other conference that sounds fun to you.)   

Thanks again for a glimpse behind the personal essays.
  
inkwell.vue.201 : Salon writers: "Life As We Know It"
permalink #81 of 81: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Mon 1 Dec 03 11:04
    
Echoing Gail's thanks. There are so many amazing stories in "Life As We Know
It" -- I feel lucky to have had the chance to see what some of the authors
in that collection had to say about their work.

I also wanted to say a special thanks to (kristin-ohlson) for encouraging
me to go to her reading at my local bookstore. It was a pleasure to meet
you, Kris. Go to her readings, folks, she's great!
  



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