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Ivy Hall Spring Writer’s Series presents:Kathryn Stockett & Susan Rebecca White

This evening (or last night, by the time anyone reads this) I attended a joint lecture given at the Savannah College of Art and Design. Their Ivy Hall Writer’s Series invites current published authors to come and speak to artists and writers attending the college. The lectures are free and open to the public.
Tonight, Ivy Hall was graced by Kathryn Stockett, author of The Help and Susan Rebecca White, author of a Soft Place to Land and Bound South. I truly enjoyed listening to both authors speak, share their stories, read an excerpt of their novels and impart advice.

Susan Rebecca White spoke first, on a topic that I could really relate to. She used to think the writing world was separate from the living world… that writing was pure, it was to close yourself off from life and the internet and the phone and everything and be alone in your thoughts. She came to realize, though, that life filters its way into writing, that  writing is infused with daily life. It’s sitting on a bus or at a Cafe and inventing stories about who’s sitting across the table from you; it’s watching how people act and interact with or towards each other and noting how they seem tense or at ease, comfortable or stressed out and inserting those emotions and behaviors into your writing. She said that she came to discover that we write what we live, and writing things that mean something to us helps us to understand those things more deeply.

I had never heard of Ms White, but I’ve added her books — written about young, southern women– to my Goodreads “To Read” pile. I’ll be picking them up as soon as I can. Cannot wait to dig into them.

Kathryn Stockett, who had just the loveliest southern drawl, was the second speaker. Her main point– Create art that breaks the rules. When asked what inspired her, she said that thinking about everything she learned as a child and throughtout her life as an absolute truth was absolutely absurd. She said that she wrote to break the rules, to talk about what no one else is talking about, to color outside the lines. Her Best selling book, The Help, is such a testament to that, to women who are living nearly unaware of the world changing around them and yet cannot help but step outside the usual lines of normalcy and effect a change for themselves and their small town.

After each author gave their speech, there was a short question and answer session. I think the most compelling question and answer was about the writing process – if writing becomes easier after you’ve been published. Both emphatically shook their heads NO.  “After you get your contract and everything and all you’re SUPPOSED to do is write, it’s hard, “ said Susan. “I think the struggle is motivating and inspiring.”

Kathryn agreed. “I think the idea of having to prove yourself is the most motivating thing, ever. And, you know, my next book was due in January, so maybe I’ll get some kind of inspiration from being beyond deadline and breaking the rules a little!”

I very much enjoyed the experience. I opted not to purchase all three books and get them signed, though. Mostly because I am cheap and would rather buy used copies. HA!

#WipWednesday and Catching up

Hello, world! It’s WiP Wednesday  (or in my case, writing Wednesday. Or, not writing Wednesday…whichever fits) again!

I don’t have a WiP this week… I promised myself I’d take a break through the end of March and start planning out something new on April 1. I’ve been mulling and thinking over characters and story lines, though, and how I’m going to put things together. I still don’t have a complete story in my head, which is kind of scary because that’s where I sat with Caged Bird for 2 years before I gave up. I’m hoping this new venture turns into something and doesn’t go over like a lead balloon.

I spent last weekend in New York, which was, in words that don’t even begin to describe the experience, AMAZING. I had a blast from the time the plane landed until I arrived at the airport to leave. I had never been to New York before so it was an eye opening experience. I can’t WAIT to go back… already planning my return trip.

Since I spent so much time out and about and sight seeing, I didn’t get much reading time in. I had hoped to unwind with the Nook every night, but the Internet won… had to catch up with my writer friends and everyone else! I’m back, though so I need to get back in the old reading saddle.

Tonight I’m Ultra excited to be meeting author Kathryn Stockett, who wrote The Help. She’s speaking at Savannah College of Art and Design’s Ivy Hall Writer’s Series. I can’t wait!

Well, that’s all I’ve got for this Wip Wednesday. Hope everyone is doing great with their novels and stories!

#FridayReads Jan 28

It’s Friday again, and time for another #FridayReads! Every Friday, we booklovers chat it up about what we’re reading. Here’s my list:

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen – Sad to say, I’m not enjoying this book. Actually I’m not enjoying the audio book. I have the physical book and I’ll probably switch to that. The audio-book is always a matter of a compelling story that I can get lost in and an excellent narrator. I DO NOT like the narrator for this book and I find I just don’t care about the main character quite yet. I’ll pick up the eBook version this week where I left off.

Damage, by John Lescroart- Another new book I started but have only read a page, so far. I LOVE Lescroart so I’m not worried about this book at all. Hoping to spend most of my weekend buried in this one.

Roseflower Creek, by Jackie Lee Miles -I got this book as a freebie from Amazon/B&N. Just started it, seems interesting and a good read, but I’m not far enough into it to say what I like, don’t like. It’s set in the 1950’s south (so you know I’m all over it) . This book begins, “The morning I died it rained. Poured down so hard it washed the blood off my face.” I’m hooked.

Stif , by Mary Roach- Still chugging away at this book. I really want to enjoy it, it’s just sort of boring. I am going to try to get it out of the way this weekend so I can stop looking at it on my Currently Reading list.

The Help,  by Katherine Stockett- I’m listening to this audio book in the car. I read the book back in 2009, thoroughly enjoyed it and am happy to be revisiting it. Since it’s an old book, I’m not counting it toward my 2011 goal.

The Help- Kathryn Stockett [Review]

The HelpThe Help by Kathryn Stockett

My review on goodreads.com

rating: 5 of 5 stars

Synopsis courtesy kathrynstockett.com:

Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step. Twenty-two-year-old Skeeter has just returned home after graduating from Ole Miss. She may have a degree, but it is 1962, Mississippi, and her mother will not be happy till Skeeter has a ring on her finger. Skeeter would normally find solace with her beloved maid Constantine, the woman who raised her, but Constantine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone.

Aibileen is a black maid, a wise, regal woman raising her seventeenth white child. Something has shifted inside her after the loss of her own son, who died while his bosses looked the other way. She is devoted to the little girl she looks after, though she knows both their hearts may be broken.

Minny, Aibileen’s best friend, is short, fat, and perhaps the sassiest woman in Mississippi. She can cook like nobody’s business, but she can’t mind her tongue, so she’s lost yet another job. Minny finally finds a position working for someone too new to town to know her reputation. But her new boss has secrets of her own.

Seemingly as different from one another as can be, these women will nonetheless come together for a clandestine project that will put them all at risk. And why? Because they are suffocating within the lines that define their town and their times. And sometimes lines are made to be crossed. In pitch-perfect voices, Kathryn Stockett creates three extraordinary women whose determination to start a movement of their own forever changes a town, and the way women–mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends–view one another.

A deeply moving novel filled with poignancy, humor, and hope, The Help is a timeless and universal story about the lines we abide by, and the ones we don’t.

This book was a slow start for me, but once it got going, it was hard to put down. I was almost late for work one morning, because I had started reading and couldn’t stop. I literally sat down 4 hours ago to finish it, because I just couldn’t stand not knowing what happened anymore.

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Welcome to The Sweet Escape, home of writer Melinda Jones. I blog about my adventures as a Literary Fiction/Romance/ Women's Fiction reader and writer. My work has appeared at IndieInk.org, Short-Story.net and Storyfix.com.

I enjoy reading (lots and lots of reading) writing, candy, Sprite, and things flavored with raspberry... but not raspberries themselves. I blog Mondays and Fridays and random Wednesdays and Sundays as time and material allows. I hope you'll drop by often and share in the joy (uh huh) of writing! Enjoy your stay!

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