Saturday, May 17, 2008

Toni, Toni, Toni

Some further fangirlism inspired by a CNN article from last week. I have a dream of someday meeting Toni Morrison. I love her not just because of her writing--she's also an example of a [fantabulous and well respected] editor who managed to make a successful career as a [beloved and prizewinning] writer, too. Here's her wikibiography for those curious for more details.

Here's a link to a newspaper interview with Toni--10 reader questions answered. Certain topics are less interesting than others (eg the Bill Clinton conversation), but some of the highlights for me:

How did you discover your passion for writing? —Roderick Yang, Seattle
My deepest passion was reading. At some point—not early, I was 35 or 36—I realized there was a book that I wanted very much to read that really hadn't been written, and so I sort of played around with it in trying to construct the kind of book I wanted to read.

Do you think that young black females are dealing with the same self-acceptance issues today as your character was in The Bluest Eye? —Francesca Siad, Calgary, Alta.
No, not at all. When I wrote the book, the young women who read it liked it [but] were unhappy because I had sort of exposed an area of shame. Nowadays I find young African-American women much more complete. They seem to have a confidence that they take for granted.

My 15-year-old daughter lives to write. What advice do you have for aspiring writers? —Darren Wethers, St. Louis, Mo.
The work is in the work itself. If she writes a lot, that's good. If she revises a lot, that's even better. She should not only write about what she knows but about what she doesn't know. It extends the imagination.


Aerin said...

Wow, she didn't start writing until her mid 30s. That's cool.

Charles Gramlich said...

Good to see her comment about writing what you "don't know." I agree wholeheartedly.

Shelli said...

I love Toni Morrison's work too. I didn't know she didn't start until she was in her mid-thirties! Wow!

Veronica said...

"After the Revolution, Toni Morrison will read the news. And when she feels like it, she'll write it too." - English As a Second Language