Thank you for the honesty and inspiration in “A Residency of One’s Own: Navigating the Complicated Path to a Writers Retreat” by Melissa Scholes Young (March/April 2016). [She] took me along on a journey of soul-searching that made me feel as if [she’d] been eavesdropping on my fears, my responsibilities, and my family dynamics all these years. I know I’m not alone in saying that the layers of this text make it so meaningful: Part travelogue, part marriage confessional, part love letter to [her] children, part unity to other women writers across time...and mostly an embrace of [herself] and [her] talent...just loved it. Thank you!
Excerpted from a comment posted on pw.org by cgmartinez
As a fellow writer and mother, I enjoyed reading [Young’s] piece about the Bread Loaf residency in Cassis, France. I love how [she] discussed Virginia Woolf’s writing life in relation to [her] own. The distinction between writing in isolation versus writing in a community among other artists was especially salient. I look forward to seeing where [her] writing career takes [her] next.
Excerpted from a comment posted on pw.org by htownjenny
Bravo, @alexanderchee, for the terrific article “Let Them Feed You: Practical Advice for First-Time Colonists,” featured in the March/April 2016 issue of @poetswritersinc.
Loving @alexanderchee’s residency advice in the latest @poetswritersinc. I can’t wait to put it into practice at @vtstudiocenter next month!
As a former production editor, I find it commendable that self-published author Vinnie Mirchandani is even aware that production editors exist (“The Savvy Self-Publisher: Vinnie Mirchandani’s The New Polymath,” by Debra Englander, March/April 2016). What I find equally commendable is Mirchandani’s self-regard, and the expectation that the production editor needs to have a working knowledge of his book’s topic, which is, in this case, global technology. Such lofty expectations will always be doomed to disappointment.
Stone Ridge, New York
The Why of Storytelling
I am loving going cover to cover through the January/February 2016 Inspiration issue. In “A Beginning: The Origins of Storytelling,” Barry Lopez writes, “The reason we tell stories...is to keep each other from being afraid...and the components of hopeful lives bright in each other’s hearts.” I am not sure how Lopez arrived at this conclusion. Ancient stories, particularly myths and biblical tales, were told to instill fear and ultimately provide [a] nostrum in the form of belief systems devised by those who control the narrative. Storytelling has evolved, as much of the world has modernized. The why of storytelling now is about making meaning. Whereas ancient stories dictated meaning in the form of pronouncements and parables, modern storytelling seeks to provide frameworks for devising meaning even when the modern mind is inclined to say there is none: to stoke not merely the pale fire of hope, but the forge of agency. We—as individuals, communities, cultures, even countries—are the stories we choose to believe. Modern storytellers and their audiences are in a collaborative act of creation, inventing and reinventing the world one sentence at a time.
David R. Roth