A few weeks ago at work, I sat at a table with colleagues and took a test. You know the kind: answer A or B to question that really needs a C. I thought hard about the questions, which I wasn’t supposed to do but I couldn’t help doing. Really. It couldn’t be helped, not after I read the results. The test results translated into colors, and I discovered that I’m a-smack-dab-in-the-middle “Green” kind of girl. I’m a Thinker.
All about the process.
No wonder I love writing so much.
The purpose of the workshop was to figure out where we all sit, color-wise, so that we may understand ourselves better and know best how to work with each other. Of course, that meant each color came with a script of advice. The advice for Green? Chill out.
Either I’m almost perfect, or I can be quite dramatic.
Did you ever take a personality test? Were your secrets revealed?
Specifically, Carol Shields’ book, The Stone Diaries. I’m reading it right now, and after the first sentence, the first page, I wanted to turn to someone – anyone – and talk about it. Shields writes with an ebb and flow style and reveals characters in the details, in over-arching views, in the round. I searched for a quote that might illustrate what I mean, but I couldn’t find just one. And, that’s exactly the point: it’s impossible to single out one passage, because everything that came before it, and comes after it, cannot be ignored. This idea comes clear in the scene when Daisy rides on the train with her father, Cuyler Goodwill, to their new home – both of them feeling unsure about their future and about each other:
Dreaming her way backward in time, resurrecting images, the young girl realized, with wonder, that the absent are always present, that you don’t make them go away simply because you get on a train and head off in a particular direction. This observation kept her hopeful about the future with a parent she had never known, a parent who had surrendered her to the care of others when she was barely two months old.
Have you read The Stone Diaries? If not, you must. And when you do, we have to talk about it.
In a world where upcharges and surcharges sneak their way into everything, free hits the spot. For struggling writers, free is even more fun.
Every Monday, and in her monthly newsletter, Erika Dreifus posts links to or information about opportunities for writers where charges don’t apply: writing contests, calls for submissions, fellowships. They’re worth checking out, even if the opportunities don’t fit your needs, because you might know someone who would be interested. Good news is worth spreading.
Recently, I was also a winner for a free copy of her book, Quiet Americans, which was just named a 2012 Sophie Brody Medal Honor Title (American Library Association). Here’s the blurb:
A high-ranking Nazi’s wife and a Jewish doctor in prewar Berlin. A Jewish immigrant soldier and the German POWs he is assigned to supervise. A refugee returning to Europe for the first time just as terrorists massacre Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. A son of survivors and the family secrets modern technology may reveal. These are some of the characters and conflicts that emerge in Quiet Americans, in stories that reframe familiar questions about what is right and wrong, remembered and repressed, resolved and unending.
This is another book I can’t wait to break into.
What have you found for free lately?