Recommended Reading
Down by the riverside

Just stories

The Reader in the Forest by Robert Henri

I'm afraid that the post I'd been planning for today, on the folklore of Devon, has been delayed while I track down a book I need to complete it. In the meantime, I'd like to re-visit this marvelous TED talk by Elif Shafak (below), filmed in 2010, which addresses the power of storytelling, the magic of circles, and both the strengths and limitations of identity politcs -- an  issue that many writers from different cultures and social classes continue to wrestle with today.

"I started writing fiction at the age of eight," Shafak said in World Literature Today, "not because I wanted to become a novelist (I didn’t even know there was such a possibility, such a way of living) but because I was a lonely and hopelessly introverted child, on my own most of the time, observing things and people from an unbridgeable distance. There was a gap between my inner space and the outside world; a gap that I was painfully aware of. Books saved me. Books held my pieces together. Books loved me. And I loved them in return. I loved them with my entire soul."

The painting above is "The Reader in the Forest" by Robert Henri (1865-1929)

Comments

Terri, thank you so very, very much for sharing that.

What an inspiration, what a beautiful intellect, what a facility with words. The story of the conservative grocer and the weeping transvestite brought a sudden pricking of tears to my eyes, too.

I feel as if my whole world has been opened up and refreshed.

I now have to rush out and buy all her books!

You won't be disappointed; she's an amazing writer.

I believe you.

If the clarity and sensitivity of her thought is even vaguely reflected in her fiction, then I think I'll quickly become a fan.

I'm happy, too, because it's been a while since I discovered someone who might have a body of work that I can rely on over the course of many volumes. I hope that problem has been resolved.

I have an intuition that this is the kind of writing that will inspire another writer, too. All good stuff. Thanks again! x

Oh, yes, just what I needed to hear today (and read, I love the quote in the first photo). Thank you, thank you, Terri!

Thank you for this introduction to Elif Shafak. As always you enlarge my world.

Rushing out to the library to order her books now....

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