|Author, playwright and poet Joyce Carol Oates|
She discussed writing, took time to answer some questions from the audience, and also read a few brief selections from her latest book, The Lost Landscape: A Writer's Coming of Age; a memoir that traces the evolution of her own creative journey and the impact of the experiences of her childhood in a rural farming town in upstate New York on her work.
The Princeton, New Jersey resident has been out and about lately promoting the book and she did an interesting interview on NPR's Morning Edition recently if you've got a few minutes to listen.
It's been a few days since I've posted a blog here because I've been feeling creatively introspective since her lecture.
Obviously there have been some things I wanted to blog about over the past few days.
|Matthew Ajibade, another victim of police brutality|
By any reasonable definition that's torture, and even though the coroner ruled that Ajibade died of "blunt force trauma" to the head caused by the deputies kicking and punching him the head, the jury decided acquit to Jason Kenny, Gregory Brown and Maxine Evans of any manslaughter charges.
When the news of the acquittal broke on Friday my mind was elsewhere the day after experiencing Ms. Oates' calm demeanor, quiet intelligence, humility and wit in person.
Hearing her speak had a tremendous impact on me as a writer and prompted me to shift my creative focus and write in my journal, reexamine some non-fiction projects that I've been working on, and to also begin to outline a fiction piece based on a childhood experience that I've wanted to explore for years.
Ms. Oates is the prolific author of over 50 books and the discipline she brings to her craft, particularly her daily habit of writing for between five to eight hours a day, has caused me to reexamine my own commitment to my writing.
|'The Nine Muses' by Carlos Dorrien at Grounds for Sculpture|
Given the focus of many of my blog entries, I was conscious of being the only African-American in the crowd of about 200 people.
But I was much more aware of feeling a sense of intellectual kinship with those who'd paid $20 to hear one of the most important literary figures in America talk about writing and how her life experiences have shaped her as an artist.
It's also prompted me go back and read some of her early works too.
I ordered her novel 'Them' from Amazon.com and am looking forward to receiving it on Tuesday.
Published in 1969, it won the 1970 National Book Award for fiction and the author herself recommended it as one her books that offer the best insight into her writing.
So as I prepare to enjoy a quiet evening after a truly spectacular fall Sunday, I feel rested and re-energized creatively, spiritually and physically as I savor the last few hours of the weekend before facing another busy week.
Inspired by the words of a literary genius.