I had the enormous pleasure of meeting my first ever, real, live, famous author last weekend. So famous and noteworthy that she has a work in the Oxford Book of American Short Stories (yes thats a big deal, and yes I am a nerd). Her name is Leslie Marmon Silko and it was my first experience with the writer’s conference at ASU. This is one of my nerdy quirks that I am openly excited to talk about (obviously).
I do not know if you all realize how tremendous this was for me. I got to meet an award winning, respected, post-modern author. I was thinking, “Oh my gosh it is possible to write something and be paid for it, eeek!” (haha). I finally felt like I found my place on campus. If you have not had the pleasure of reading any of Silko’s works I definitely think they are worthy stories to any collection of avid readers. At first thought, I did not believe I would enjoy her work. She is a Native American author who uses pueblo culture and myth as well as nature to weave fictional stories, whereas I am into classic literature and stories set anywhere from the 1900s back. However, in one of my literature classes we studied her “Yellow Woman” short story and I actually connected with it. If by any chance you do end up reading “Yellow Woman,” I do not mean that I want to have an illicit affair with a man who I cannot figure out is real or not- it is the theme of the story and the language that affected me internally.
She gives a sense of wanting things to be like they were in the past that are only stories now, of adventure and peace with nature- those things I connected with. In her presentation on campus she talked about how there is no real time or reality. They are all just constructs of our own making. She just had a really simple perspective on life, deep and extraordinarily, meaningful but simple- the miracles of nature. I might be rambling now but I just got really excited that I could talk about how I attended a conference with someone who has put into practice my favorite thing- and done it so incredibly well. I hope my praise of her work gives some of you initiative to read some of it. Hopefully next year I’ll actually get to talk to the writer they bring in ( I had class during the luncheon).
However inspiring Silko was, I was slightly distraught at the same time. To this day I do not know if I’ll ever be able to be as good of a writer as my favorite writers and poets. Being in creative writing this semester has tested my faith. We get presented with all of these eloquent and meaningful poems, and yet I find myself struggling to even come up with a good concept, let alone the right words. I do not know if any of you have tried writing poems, but it is the hardest writing I have ever had to do. Everything is so precise, it truly is an art. So, even if I fail as a poet and all my hopes and dreams as a writer are dashed this semester- I will have a deep appreciation to all those poets who succeed so gracefully. They have my sincere regard.
Therefore, I pray I never give up on writing. I know everything, even things we think we know so well, take lots of practice. However, sometimes it can seem that maybe we do not have a unique story/perspective after all. But I know that is not true, and even if no one cares now- maybe centuries later our stories will matter.
I hope everyone has a good week and make many good stories to tell 🙂