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My love affair with Ann Patchett

I think Ann Patchett is amazing on so many levels. She’s so uniquely talented, is incredibly prolific, and writes nonfiction as well as fiction. I loved her beautiful tribute to Lucy Grealy, Truth & Beauty, as much as her wonderful novels like Bel Canto and State of Wonder.  And I’m a bit biased at the moment because she recently made a large donation to my small town library, which I talked about recently on this blog.

I was pleased to find an article on writing based on her book, This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, for brainpickings.org that offers such interesting and lovely advice for writers from one of the masters of her craft. In it she talks about how writing nonfiction for her has been easy, while writing fiction has always been more challenging. She talks about the importance of learning to forgive yourself in creating art, which she feels is critical. She uses metaphors that resonate, even if they initially feel a stretch of the imagination.  Why do writers so often feel they can send early work to The New Yorker when musicians would never think they could play at Carnegie Hall after just a month of practice!

Words of wisdom here from a magnificent and gifted writer who not only writes beautiful books, but is so open to sharing her knowledge and skills with other writers. She’s a true gift. Enjoy!

3 Responses to My love affair with Ann Patchett

  1. Carol Svec says:

    I wrote to Ann Patchett as a fan back when her first book, Patron Saint of Liars, came out. That was before my first book was published, and I was insecure and struggling. She was kind enough to write back and encourage me. That was the only fan letter I ever sent that received a reply. I love Ann Patchett, for her writing and her soul.

  2. I met her once at her bookstore, Parnassus. Our conversation quickly turned from bookstores (which my tiny Alabama town doesn’t have) to the great jeans they sell at Dollar General (one of the few stores we do have). A delightful conversation! Besides her excellent writing, I thoroughly enjoy her interviews and speeches.

  3. Stacey says:

    Thanks, Carol and Melinda, for sharing these wonderful stories that just confirm Ann Patchett is a genius and a saint! She really is one-of-a-kind, and I actually think in some ways she is sort of underrated, although I’m confident her legacy will continue to grow and grow and I hope there will be others who can follow in her big, open footsteps.

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