Today's Wonder of the World is...Writers Who Inspire!
Like Bailey White, my very own personal Patron Saint of Writing!
Hi Bailey! You don't mind me calling you Bailey, do you?
I feel I must, on account of the fact that we're sisters in my mind. Did you not know that? It's true!
Fear not, Bloglanders! No need to call the funny farm. I am not delusional. It's just that after yesterday's post on saints and the folks who inspire me in my faith, I started thinking about people who inspire me in other ways. Like in my writing life.
So I thought I'd share my writing heroes with you. We could have a little party. I've made some punch and appetizers and I've cleaned up the house. They're all here, waiting to meet you.
I'm a little nervous. I hope everyone gets along! Behave yourself. They may not be used to bright light.
Now before I take you around the living room, know that I am going to be honest here. I could give you a list of writers that would make my former English teachers swell with pride, but then my nose might start growing. I'm not trying to impress anyone here with famous names. (Not that my writing heroes shouldn't be famous. They should! Check out their books and you might be smitten too!) I've whittled down my list to share only my very favorite storytellers. My chief qualification for the list? That I've read their books so many times that the stories have become my friends. And yes, I do realize that sounds pitiful. Don't worry! I have life size friends too! And they're not even inflatable!
Ready to meet my favorites?
Okay! Who's first on my list? My sis, of course!
When I first heard Bailey White's stories on NPR, they mesmerized me. I sped to the bookstore that very day and read Mama Makes Up Her Mind in one long sitting. One long sitting in which my children went unbathed, everything we ate came out of cans, and the kids watched way too much Barney on the VCR.
While I was writing French By Heart, I bet I read Bailey White's books at least fifty times! One of the biggest highlights of my publishing journey was when Bailey White agreed to write a blurb for me for French by Heart. I am still ecstatic about it. She read my book! And she liked it! Whenever I get frustrated with my work, I take out her typewritten letter and just stare at it. It always cheers me up! (I even kept the envelope. Bailey, if you're reading this, I'm not a stalker. I JUST LOVE YOU!)
Please go read Mama Makes Up her Mind. And if you're not going to, just don't tell me. I don't want to know!
Now, have a glass of punch and a cheesestraw, and come over here and meet Clyde!
Clyde Edgerton, meet my friends! People, if you want to read the best book ever about the first year of a southern marriage, you must read Raney. After I read it, I had to wonder if he'd been following me around, taking notes! (Not about me, of course! But I do know those characters!) Also, check out Walking Across Egypt. It's another favorite. (It has nothing to do with Egypt, in case you're wondering.)
Have you met Tommy yet?
This is Tommy Hays, and I'm in love with his book The Pleasure Was Mine. Greenville, South Carolina chose it as our city-wide reading project, and we all loved it! (And yes. I'm speaking for the entire city. These people won't mind.) Whether or not you know anyone who has suffered with Alzheimer's, you'll want to read this love story. It's beautiful. And funny. I can't recommend it enough.
Here's the latest star at the party. Meet Sue Monk Kidd.
Oh Sue, how I'd love to be your friend. We could talk about our fascination with saints and bees. And how we both live in South Carolina and think the peach water tower in Gaffney looks like somebody's backside! Won't you come live with me a while and inspire me up close? I'd even give you my bed! (Don't worry. My husband would sleep with me on the pullout sofa.)
The Secret Life of Bees is one of my favorites. I haven't seen the movie because I'm scared that it won't be as good.
Anyone see it yet?
Here, have a sausage ball, and come meet Kaye.
This is Kaye Gibbons. Every time I read her work, I have the urge to go hide in a dark room and mourn the fact that I will never be able to write as well as she can. But I never do that because it's impossible to read in a dark room and thinking about her makes me want to read Ellen Foster all over again. Or maybe Charms for The Easy Life. Or any of the others. I've read them all. She's amazing.
And I'm sure you know that lovely lady on the sofa.
That's Harper Lee. I'd introduce you, but I'm too shy. To Kill a Mockingbird will always be my favorite book of all time.
Now, for the Queen of Dialogue. Meet Fannie Flagg.
Oh Fannie, how I adore you. What a master storyteller you are. I've bought Welcome to the World Baby Girl at least four times, because I keep dropping it in the mud or the sink or leaving it at the soccer field. So, so good.
And last, but certainly not least, my buddy Anne Lamott.
Oh Anne. How I love your honesty. Your encouragement. Your words on faith and on writing.
People, do you know Bird By Bird? It's a MUST HAVE for writers, but it'd be helpful for any creative work.
Okay, enough meet and greet. You're practically family here. Slip off your shoes and have a seat on the couch. Tell me, who are your favorites and why? I love discovering new reasons to put off the laundry!
Have a wonder-full Tuesday, y'all!