Monday, June 13, 2005

One dead author I'd like to have on my show: Harriet Doerr

I've been studying Spanish (I'm in a little private class with three others) and it's made me seek out novels that have to do with Mexico or something Spanish, and so I came across one author's books on tape whom I've known about for years and have even written about in my book, but never read.

Harriet Doerr didn't even get a BA till after she was 60 and she was around 73 when she won the National Book Award for Stones for Ibarra. In the library I found Consider This, Senora on tape, which came after Stones and I checked it out. Such beautiful writing, and with a third person, omnicient narrator, which I tend to find too distant. But Doerr pulls in close and has just the right touch.

The book is made up of several connected stories about American ex-pats living in Mexico. The book is worth her metaphors and similes alone. (It's so hard coming up with fresh ones...)

Then I picked up Stones for Ibarra, her first novel, and again, such great writing, and that close third person omnicient narrator. Which is another reason to check out this book: Omnicient can be done well, which Doerr proves in this book. No wonder she won a major award for this book.

She's also proof that, in the world of letters, age matters little, if any. In the end, it's the writing that counts. I love that.

3 comments:

Jordan said...

Si, Dona DeMarco-Barrett. Los viejos dicen, "gracias".

dajwap said...

Barbara,

When it comes to living the writing life, it's sometimes easier said than done, isn't it? Though my heart is in freelancing and in working on my novel, salary and benefits needs require me to work full time in the corporate sector. I spend an hour or two each night doing "real" writing.

My question is: Is there a way to get affordable health benefits for me and for my family so that I can switch to freelancing--or at least to consulting work?

Barbara DeMarco-Barrett said...

De nada, Jordan.

And dajwap, I'd say everything is easier said than done, except for apologizing. Take heart and know that most writers who are presently writing fulltime were not always. I spent years at jobs I grew to hate--or hated even before I began but needed the money. I segued from 9-5 jobs to doing freelance publicity for small businesses and artists. The rise in pay was steep and oh-so-welcome.

Regarding affordable health benefits, the key, at least for me, was getting a really high deductible so the monthly cost is relatively low. It's really a policy for catastropes, not regular visits to the doctor. So we use Fortis Health, sold at our State Farm insurance office. (Probably if you Googled Fortis, you'd come up with other reps.)

Good luck and let me know what you find out.