Books -- reading and writing.
Home, cooking, the weather.
And whatever connections I can make between these chapters of my life.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Happy Mother's Day, and Grandmothers, too

The fun thing about reviewing a book you truly relate to is what you learn from it. Rather than reading for fun, you must concentrate, pay attention and think while reading. Unlike my airplane books and beach reading. So when I was asked to review Eye of My Heart for the Christian Science Monitor, I was delighted. And not disappointed.

So many of my favorite writers contributed: Elizabeth Berg, Judith Viorst, Ellen Gilchrist, Mary Pipher- to name just a few. There were 27 essays about being a grandmother.

So not only did the topic interest me, the writing was a lesson in what makes a perfect essay. I know about these things, even though I'm still struggling to write the perfect essay, from my New Jersey writing group. I've blogged about this fabulous group of writers and critiquers before. Our group met weekly for over five years, till everybody started moving. And now we're trying to meet online and hoping this works. But until I started reading aloud what I thought were essays (mine) and learning that there needed to be a Point, a So What, I was just creating moments in time. A story with a story arc, if I was lucky, but no true takeaway point.

So listen to near the end of Beverly Donofrio's essay "Ten Straight Days" about a walk to the Statue of Liberty with her grandson:

When I return in three or four months, he'll probably say: Are we there yet? He'll be singing the alphabet, putting on his own shoes. I want to freeze-frame this time, this age, this moment. But life isn't like that--nothing stays the same.

Amen to that. A whole lot of truth. And writing excellence. What more can you ask of a book?

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