Wednesday, July 24, 2013
The catch is that the person who is actually writing for The Smart Set, a Drexel University publication, is super smart. His name is Nathaniel Popkin, and he reads all these books I didn't even know existed, and he has a knack for finding connections among and between things, and he's very nice to me.
He also claims I'm funny.
That got you, too, didn't it. Beth Kephart? Funny?
In any case, here's the link to Nathaniel's thoughtful piece. And here's a slice from it:
Kephart ... is assertive and defiant — and downright funny — about the literary value of memoir, a genre that some critics see as spent, imaginatively thin, and sentimental. So confident and playful, so taken is she with words, so willful is she about the transformative power of literature that at times in Handling the Truth she begins to sound like Rawi Hage’s Fly. “Call me sentimental; others have,” she writes. “Remind me that the world is dark and ugly, that people are cruel, that injustice reigns, that children suffer, that the wrong people win, the wrong people triumph. I know. I have been there. I have seen. I have lost to the infidels once or twice myself.”
Okay, whoops. A postscript. The unsinkable Nathaniel Popkin has just informed that a second piece, by his truly, is now up on Philly.com (here). Now he's calling me defiant. Me! Defiant! All right. I'll be defiant then. After all, yesterday a certain reporter from Montgomery News suggested that I might be a bird.
From Nathaniel Popkin's Philly.com review:
All this sage advice and the wide-ranging texts she employs to support it make this book useful for any writer, in just about any form (and all forms cross-pollinate and cross over anyway). Working on a novel? Well, you'd better have empathy. Consider yourself a poet: probably a good idea to listen equally well to yourself and the outside world. A journalist? Your stories will be all the more powerful if you can ascribe meaning to prosaic events.