four women: looking back on conversations with Dani Shapiro, Liz Rosenberg, Stacey D'Erasmo, and Debbie Levy

Monday, November 11, 2013

My journey these past many months has been extraordinary—taking me to places far and wide, introducing me to writers and readers who embody the best of the now. For all of you who have taken the time to share some time with me: thank you.

I've been especially blessed by the opportunity to spend time in conversation with leading writers and thinkers. And so today, as I look toward one final Handling the Truth event in the year of 2013 (more on that below), I want to say a special thank you to four women with whom I shared the stage and who were everything I'd hoped they'd be. And more.

Debbie Levy, author, most recently, of Imperfect Spiral, with whom I spent a sacred Saturday afternoon, in Alexandria, VA, talking about life and birds and truth in fiction. We gave our audience a few writing exercises; we engaged; we learned. And I adore Debbie Levy—an amazing talent and gift to younger readers.

Stacey D'Erasmo, author, most recently, of The Art of Intimacy, with whom I shared a stage at the Decatur Book Festival. Fiercely smart, hugely generous, Stacey is a writer I have read for a long time. I could not believe my great good fortune of just sitting and talking craft with her.

Liz Rosenberg, author, most recently, of The Laws of Gravity, who traveled all the way from her home in Binghamton to Mount Airy to spend a Saturday evening in a crowded independent bookstore to talk with me and with the audience about the book life. Liz and I have had a longstanding correspondence. How wonderful it was to spend some time together.

Dani Shapiro, author, most recently, of Still Writing, with whom I had the enormous pleasure of speaking last evening on behalf of First Person Arts. Dani and I had only met briefly once before. We'd talked once on the phone, emailed occasionally. But last night, in an intimate space, we shared a microphone and a passion for this writing life, and I felt as if I'd known her all my life. Dani traveled far to come to my city. She arrived in the company of her equally wonderful husband, the journalist and filmmaker Michael Maren, whose new film, "The Short History of Decay" (click on the link to see the trailer!), will be the featured film at several upcoming festivals. Philadelphians were blessed to have them both in the house. And so was I.

Thank you. And. That last 2013 Handling the Truth event? It's a First Person Arts Festival workshop called The Spices of Life. We're going to remember and write a kitchen scene. There are a few spaces left. Join us. 

Finally, that photograph above was taken by my friend Melissa Sarno on Saturday afternoon in the New York Public Library, following a really beautiful Bank Street morning. Jennifer M. Brown of Bank Street: You care about all the things that matter. You have a lot on your shoulders. Thank you for taking care of me.


Lindsey said...

Love this! How wonderful to hear a bit about some women who are clearly making a real impact on the world of writers and people telling their story. As you know I'm a huge Dani fan, and look forward to reading your work too!

Beth Kephart said...

Lindsey, and I am a fan of yours! Thank you for this. We had a wonderful conversation.

twentybyjenny said...

Beth, You look so at home in The Great Green Room! And you are a kindred spirit of the Writers Lab at Bank Street, where Goodnight Moon began, so it all comes full circle. Thank you for being there on Saturday, and for giving so generously of your perspective as writer and teacher.

Snorkle said...

I can't believe this, but I was at that exact exhibit this Saturday in NYC! Crazy to think I just narrowly missed the chance of meeting you! I love hearing about your travels and interactions with other writers. Thank you for sharing!

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