Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Senior Writer's Thoughts #5
Fifth in a series of reflections from our writers aged 70 and up, The Permanent Press presents: "Senior Writer's Thoughts"

From Suzanne McNear: I write. Slowly. I also read a lot, most recently, for the second time, Paula Fox’s Desperate Characters, and there it was; an almost perfect novel. Or perfect.  She is 89, and I think we ought to start a prize in her name. A case of wine or a new book, maybe Philip Roth’s The American Trilogy which I have been reading between three and six in the morning.  The Human Stain has made up for the mild despair caused by sleeplessness. If I were 28 now instead of 78 would I take my life as a writer more seriously. I would appreciate and try to take advantage of help, encouragement extended, suggestions that might have made it easier for me to publish my work.  Now I have a sense of urgency, not unlike the woman in the story Words in my collection titled Drought, but more a practical approach. “Flea sat up there in the red dress she called her tent, her caftan, her last mobile home, and waited. She leaned forward over the table. She closed her eyes and breathed with her ribs. She never wrote anything down on paper. She sat at the table preparing. Once, after seven years, she said, I think there will be a word sometime soon. But I don’t know. She said it depended on the weather. It depended on magic. It depended on… Oh, who knows?”   

Susan McNear, a former editor and free lance journalist, now devotes herself to writing fiction, poetry and plays. Her essays have been published in The New York Times and Vogue. Like her protagonist, she was born in the Midwest, attended Vassar, had a horrific marriage, was an editor at Playboy, has three daughters, and a friendship with Saul Bellow. For the past fifteen years she's lived in Sag Harbor, New York.

Look for Suzanne's newest work "Knock Knock" coming from The Permanent Press in December!