Mentors Coming Along Right When You Need Them

Happy September everyone!

With this new month comes a new mentor: Margaret Atwood.

In all honesty, I picked Atwood because my dear, dear friend Deb LOVES her. Before last month I had not read word one of Atwood, so I was going completely based on my friend’s suggestion. No other reason. Like most of the mentors this year, I kinda picked her at random.

Still, have you ever had the experience of getting what you need right when you need it?

Earlier this year I had to choose whether to work on one project or another. Strangely enough, the combo of Virginia Woolf and P.G. Wodehouse convinced me that I should write what I’m most interested in (human behavior in extraordinary circumstances) — after all, neither of them were going after fame or riches. Woolf tried to write beautifully. Wodehouse tried to make people laugh. But both were obviously passionate: as evidenced by Woolf’s focused diaries and Wodehouse’s sheer output.

Christie and Kerouac have, again strangely, worked together to show me that I needed to write. More words = more output = finished products. No whining. Do it because you love it. Through their notebooks and journals you can see how often they thought about their work (all the time), and how often they were working (all the time).

And now, having read some Atwood and continuing to tear into more of her work, I’m sure that I’m getting more specific information toward my own work. I’m writing a dystopian novel, she is Queen of that particular subject matter. Her work is a gorgeous melting pot exploration of philosophy, religion, sociology, science fiction, fantasy, all mixed with this amazing sense of storytelling structure and language. She’s so good that I can’t be jealous of her…only stand back in awe.

Of course, with the kind of subject matter she handles there’re controversies and debates. The work almost demands a college education to dig into all the -isms that crop up.

I can’t wait to dig deeper! For a small taste of her sensibility here’s the lady in her own words, in an interview clip with Bill Moyers:

interviews Margaret Atwood Mentors

jenny maloney View All →

Jenny writes dark fiction that her mother hates. Her stories and essays have appeared in Across the Margin, Pantheon, Shimmer, Black Denim Lit, Skive, and others. When she’s not writing her own stuff, she’s reading mysteries for Criminal Element. When she’s not writing fiction or reviews, she’s writing/directing/performing/designing plays at Springs Ensemble Theatre.

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