Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Yesterday in class we were talking about the difference between self-conscious writing and self-confident writing. We were talking about the risks that get taken when certain lines are crossed. Grimes crosses no lines here. With remarkable quietude he parses his own career—his great ambitions, his successes, his failures, his coming-to-terms. He sets this against and within the writers' workshop, giving us Conroy as teacher, friend, agent, and enthusiastic reader, reminding us of the power of memoirs that look beyond the author's immediate self.
"Frank read great writers without any fear," Grimes wrote, for Conroy's eulogy. "He didn't worry about imitating them; he didn't worry about being overwhelmed by them. Instead he took pleasure in them and learned from them, and by doing so he elevated reading to the level of art..."
Selflessness. Enthusiasm. A love for books, even those not one's own. This is clear, unmuddied water. This is spring, after winter.