April 01, 2008

Poets, Audience and ...Denim.

Huzzah! Poetry People everywhere are celebrating National Poetry Month. More celebratory than most are Gregory K. from GottaBook who has an original poem-of-the-day subscription service, Elaine at Wild Rose Reader who has an awesome contest going on, Cloudscome who is posting a haiga (haiku and image) every day at A Wrung Sponge and the Whidbey Writers Workshop whose Students' Choice contest this month is for short poetry, and includes a cash prize. (Their writer's workshop blog is quite a resource for writers.) We'll be introducing the Poetry Princesses this month -- stay tuned as soon All Shall Be Revealed...


While I am sort of sick of hearing about Elizabeth Gilbert (apologies to everyone who just LOVES her book) I was happy to find out that her sister is Catherine Murdock Gilbert... the YA author who wrote Dairy Queen and its sequels. Cool, no? Putting aside Elizabeth Gilbert's meteoric rise to fame, the Oprah-bump that Eat, Pray, Love received etc. ad nauseum, ad infinitum, the really cool thing about her that The Violets have zeroed in on is how she wrote her book. She wrote it to ONE person, a friend who was troubled, and whom Gilbert felt would benefit from hearing about how her life had changed from her travels and various interactions with nations and people. Just one person. The whole novel was a letter.

In my MFA craft classes and in my writing group, the topic has often turned to audience. Who are you writing for? one of us will ask the other when we're not sure the story is communicating clearly to its intended readers. We often debate whether or not it's important to have an audience, a target toward which to aim the appeal of the story. Some of us try to write for everyone -- adults, teens, middle graders, small children. Others of us consider this futile and just try to write for ourselves.

There has to be middle ground.

Being all things to all people never works in life, not to mention in writing. But writing in consideration of an audience seems scary -- what if the audience is made up of hostile critics who don't respond to your work in the way that you want? -- Picturing yourself writing to a sea of unknown faces may not work, but Gilbert's idea of just writing to one ...is ponder-worthy, and maybe even a tiny bit magical.

What an idea: communication. One to one.


readergirlzTons of people knit little hats and donate soft toys and stickers for kids in Children's Hospitals. But, if you're sixteen, those things really aren't aimed for you. What you really need is a BOOK. Books are portals that open onto new worlds, bring entertainment, distraction, and sometimes can help blunt the pain. If you can't avoid the hospital, at least there should be tons of books there, no? Rock the Drop, people. April 17th. Go see the readergirlz and get involved.


It's NOT a joke: effervescent novelist, Carrie Jones... is running for Maine State Legislature. Whoa! AND we have the same birthday. Which is a coolness unto itself. Go, Carrie, go, Maine! Whoo!

All RIGHT... Because it's ...traditional this first day of April, I have to include some weirdness- so, here are things I WISH were complete jokes, via Ypulse in the last couple of days: Paris Hilton, inspiring role model to young girls. What. Ev. Er. And ...Christian... jeans. No, really.

Happy April.

8 comments:

Erin said...

Hahaha I like how Paris blames the bloggers! Oh, and she calls her friends jaded. Niiiice.

a. fortis said...

Hooray for Carrie! I know we're all voting for her in spirit.

Jen Robinson said...

I thought that thing about the Gilberts being sisters was cool, too. And I'd vote for Carrie if I lived in Maine.

Elaine Magliaro said...

Happy Poetry Month to you! Thanks for alerting readers to the goings-on at Wild Rose Reader and other blogs in celebration of poetry during April. I've got some excellent poetry books to give away!

Gregory K. said...

Thanks for the shout out. I dunno if I'm more celebratory or just more public in my celebration. But either way it's fun seeing how many folks are celebrating this time around....

Liz in Ink said...

Can I start writing What.Ev.Er. like that, too? That makes perfect sense to me...
I had no idea those Gilberts were of the same stock. Whaddya know. Words run in the blood.

jules said...

I reeeeeeeally wanna read Catherine Gilbert Murdock's books. Isn't there a brand new one out? Too many books, not enough time.

carriejones said...

Aw, thanks. I feel so famous being on your blog. It's even better than (hopefully) winning an election.