Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy Birthday, Toni Morrison

Today is Toni Morrison's birthday (thanks for the reminder Writer's Almanac.) Here's what they had to say about one of my favorite authors:

It's the birthday of Toni Morrison, born in Lorain, Ohio (1931). She started writing when she was in her thirties, unhappily married, working as an editor, and raising two children. She said, "It was as though I had nothing left but my imagination. I wrote like someone with a dirty habit. Secretly. Compulsively. Slyly." She went on to write nine novels, including The Bluest Eye (1969), Song of Solomon (1977), Beloved (1987), and in 2008, A Mercy. In 1993, she won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Morrison's latest novel, by the way, is worthy of the buzz. On writing, I especially like her simile: I wrote like someone with a dirty habit.

Makes me wonder...what or who do I write like? What modifiers would I apply? How about you?

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Blogger Mathilda said...

Thanks for answering my questions about short stories. It's funny because I am the opposite--my brain thinks in arcs of 15-20 pages. If I am accepted by DU, I have no idea how I am going to write a novel.

When I write, I love playing with language. So, I focus on the poetics of what I write. I hope others can see that, too.

Here is a sample for a story I recently wrote: "A non-proverbial silver lining to a liquid white out cloud rounds and drops glass raindrops on her forehead."

9:26 AM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

Glass raindrops--I dig it.

On short stories vs. novels, maybe we should swap brain arcs for a while.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Barbara Martin said...

When I write, it is always in pieces or sections. My beginnings are always written about the time I reach my endings. I found with my first novel manuscript the beginning had nothing exciting to draw a reader in. Then I did what had been recommended by a critique: to move the first exciting scene right up to the front.

For short stories, it is like writing a couple of scenes and putting them together. Similar to a chapter. Both ends need hooks to keep the reader interested. If the short story is noir, then a twisted creepy ending.

4:33 PM  
Blogger Kern said...

I wish I could write like Chuck Klosterman. Downtown Owl is a novel I'm currently reading, and I dread finishing it. He has Britta's gift of bringing a small dusty town to life.

6:39 AM  
Blogger Renae said...

I love that quote, too - wrote like a dirty habit. Me? I write like a schizophrenic. Can't make up my mind what I want to write, so I keep changing personalities! LOL

11:44 PM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

Great advice, Barbara. For so many of us, the beginning is the toughest point to nail down.

Kern, I heart you. And I want to read that book!

Renae, I think changing personalities is one of the best perks of being a writer. That and the workdays in pajamas.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Barrie said...

"It was though I had nothing left but my imagination." I love that line!

8:35 AM  
Blogger Britta Coleman said...

Me too, Barrie.

3:12 PM  

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