Thursday, January 10, 2008

I love Ellen Gilchrist

One day, I was poking around the M.I.T. Humanities library, walking slowly past new releases and recommended titles, when my eyes fell on Light Can Be Both Wave and Particle. What a fabulous title! On the cover was a red kimono suspended against a field and sky, wafting in the wind. I picked it up, checked it out, took it home and read it. I think I can say that collection of short stories changed my life because it introduced me to the writing of Ellen Gilchrist.

Since then, I have read most every word she's published. I cannot think of any other writer who has brought me such tremendous pleasure, laughter, wisdom and pure entertainment. My favorite books of hers are the short story collections (but then, I'm a short story reader). Gilchrist writes with a fervor that could power a major metropolitan area and an authority that might cause me to reply "Yes'm" in person, with a nod of my head. (And I never reply that way to anyone.)

As you can probably tell, I listen to books on tape while I'm painting. Music, too, of course, (and much of the time, just the birds) but there's something very comforting about being read a good story by a good reader. Right now, I'm listening to I, Rhoda Manning, Go Hunting with My Daddy.

In her most recent book of essays, The Writing Life, Gilchrist said that she would not be publishing any more books. Well, I thought, I'm sad but I can understand that and I wonder if it's really true or if she was just fed up on the day she wrote that. Now that I've linked to Amazon, I can see that there's a new novel due in May (A Dangerous Age). Yippee!

Anyway, go read some Ellen Gilchrist. She's got some things to tell you.

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