Mentors and Monsters

In the spirit of Miriam’s post on literary influences, there’s a piece about literary mentors in The Millions, http://www.themillions.com/2011/06/lighting-the-way-on-mentoring-and-being-mentored.html and I‘m curious to learn more about your experience, either with (or as) a mentor. So often we think of writing as a solitary pursuit, but such literary relationships do exist.  My sense is that outside of MFA programs, they can be hard to establish and perhaps hard to navigate. A few years ago Free Press published Mentors, Muses and Monsters: 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives. You can read Joyce Carol Oates essay, “In the Absence of Mentors, Monsters” in the (always superb) Narrative Magazine. http://www.narrativemagazine.com/issues/fall-2009/absence-mentorsmonsters

2 Responses to Mentors and Monsters

  1. Hazel Keats says:

    Honestly, those whom have time to give advice to me didn’t usually pertain to the industry today. Their experiences weren’t going to be mine. Everything you need is from blogs such as DGLM.

    The best thing I ever did was seek out a writers group and form critique group. Newbies learn best from each others’ failures and glories. Be warned this takes time to get a group that you click with, don’t get discouraged when it doesn’t happen right away.

  2. I think I used up my weekly blog-ability on Miriam’s post about influences, managing to throw something in about Rachel’s literary mashups – but, I wanted to say thanks for the link to The Millions – I clicked on the “support” link at the top, and apparently you can “subscribe” for $1 a month! Woo-hoo! A fun summer bargain.

    Re: Mentoring – I’m going to my first “women writers group” next week. I’m excited, because these are women with whom I share politics – local politics – how can I put this? I’m a starry-eyed pie-in-the-sky kind of person when it comes to Detroit – and so is my novel. That doesn’t sound political does it? I mean, is an “I Love New York” t-shirt political? I don’t think so – but around here, “I Love Detroit” can be practically fighting words. (Family member, irritated on Thanksgiving: “You do realize Detroit is a failure, don’t you?”)

    I read the Oates piece, then looked her up on Wikipedia, it says: “Oates taught in Beaumont, Texas, for a year before moving to Detroit in 1962, where she began teaching at the University of Detroit. Influenced by the Vietnam war, the 1967 Detroit race riots, and a job offer, in 1968 Oates moved with her husband to teaching positions at the University of Windsor, Canada.”

    Right across the river from Detroit. All roads lead to (away from) (to) Detroit. Think I’ll go write in my journal now, a little “self-mentoring” never hurts :)

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