Posts in "Excerpts" Category — Page 2

House of Mirth

I am slow to tears. Of the scores of movies that I have watched, the hundreds of books that I have read, each medium has provoked but a single crying episode. The movie, I am embarrassed to name. The book, Great Expectations, during the scene in which Pip awakens to find that he has been nursed to health by the ever-loving, all-good Joe, the rustic brother-in-law whom Pip has discounted and discarded in typical social climber fashion.

Tonight, I add to the book count, Edith Wharton’s House of Mirth.

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The Writing Life

You once told me that the most difficult thing for a writer to write was a simple household note to someone coming to collect the laundry, or instructions to a cook.

What I was thinking of was a note I had to write to the teacher when one of my children missed a day of school. It was my daughter, Caroline, who was then in the second or third grade. I was having my breakfast one morning when she appeared with her lunch box, her rain slicker, and everything, and she said, “I need an absence note for the teacher and the bus is coming in a few minutes.”

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His Story Next to Hers

Paul D sits down in the rocking chair and examines the quilt patched in carnival colors. His hands are limp between his knees. There are too many things to feel about this woman. His head hurts. Suddenly he remembers Sixo trying to describe what he felt about the Thirty-Mile Woman. “She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.”

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