Mentors, Muses & Monsters: 30 Writers on the People Who Changed Their Lives

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-02-01
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr
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In the rich, impassioned essays collected here, thirty of today's brightest literary lights address the question of mentorship and influence, exploring those times in their development as writers when a special person, a beloved book, or a certain job gave them the courage to take a bold chance on their own gifts. For Jane Smiley, the turning point was the support of her fellow classmates-not her teachers-at the famed Iowa Writers' Workshop. For Jonathan Safran Foer, it was a brief encounter with Israeli poet Yehuda Amichai. For Michael Cunningham, it was an illicit cigarette break with a tough-talking teenage girl at Hollywood High who challenged him to read Virginia Woolf. And for Elizabeth Benedict, inspiration came after writing an essay about her Barnard mentor, Elizabeth Hardwick, after she died in 2007.

Author Biography

Elizabeth Benedict, a graduate of Barnard College, is the author of five novels, including Almost, The Practice of Deceit, and the National Book Award Finalist Slow Dancing, as well as The Joy of Writing Sex: A Guide for Fiction Writers. A widely published essayist and journalist, she has taught fiction and nonfiction writing at Princeton University, the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Columbia University, Swarthmore College, and the New York State Summer Writers Institute.

Table of Contents

Preface to Paperback Editionp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
People We Encounteredp. 7
"Why Not Say What Happened?": Remembering Miss Hardwickp. 9
Imagining Influencep. 17
Fathersp. 27
Mentors in General, Peter Taylor in Particularp. 39
A Life in Booksp. 50
Annie Dillard and the Writing Lifep. 59
The Snow Globep. 70
When Julie Met Deb …p. 76
The Tiger and the Pelican: Mentors Elizabeth Hardwick and Janice Thaddeusp. 88
The Momentp. 98
Only Plump the Pillowsp. 107
Sontag's Rulesp. 114
In the Absence of Mentors/Monsters: Notes on Writerly Influencesp. 128
The Scholars and the Pornographerp. 138
"But What I Really Love About This Is This Amazing Game That You've Invented": An Appreciation of John Hawkesp. 147
Munro Countryp. 153
Mother Countryp. 163
The Seducerp. 169
Harold Brodkeyp. 180
Books We Readp. 191
Companyp. 193
Five Million Head of Cattlep. 200
On Fat Cityp. 205
Mad Hope and Mavericksp. 208
Getting it. Deeply immersed. In awe. Learning. Reading Ms. McDermott. Appreciating beginnings. Still appreciating beginnings. Nailing it.p. 213
Paper Mentorsp. 220
Times of Our Livesp. 227
Coming of Age at Bread Loafp. 229
Please Don't Writep. 238
Starvingp. 251
Growing Painsp. 256
Iowa City, 1974p. 261
Acknowledgmentsp. 268
Author Biographiesp. 269
Permissionsp. 276
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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