Thursday, April 8, 2010

Insights from Simon Van Booy, author of "The Secret Lives of People in Love"

I just finished reading a phenomenal collection of short stories: The Secret Lives of People in Love by Simon Van Booy. My favorite story, "Snow Falls and Then Disappears," is alone worth the $13.99 paperback price. It's one of those stories that curls up inside you and becomes a part of you.

The stories themselves are beautiful, and the book has an extra gift at the end: a "P.S." section with "insights from the author." This section is a goldmine. I love reading about writers' processes, curiosities, loves, and inspirations. I love reading about writers' journeys to become writers.

Here is a gem from Van Booy's section "History of Stories":

"One of my first assignments as an MFA student was to write a short story for discussion in a workshop. I sat at my desk looking into the shallow woods beyond. And then it began to snow. I began to write.

"After two paragraphs I knew something was different. It felt effortless, but required almost an impossible presence of mind -- a poise, a balance of feeling. I wrote 'Snow Falls and Then Disappears' in a few hours. ...

"When you find your voice, it will be obvious to you. The voice isn't just a choice of words but the sense of rhythm and, perhaps most important, the tone. This is why I could never be the sort of writer who is competitive. Everyone has their own style; no two writers are alike, even if they pretend to be."

5 comments:

MFAguy said...

Hi, can I ask if you got your copy of Arcadia yet? I'm still waiting for mine!

Dallas said...

No, I haven't! I'm eagerly waiting for it as well. Hopefully soon!

megs said...

Can you read what I wrote.I have a poem that I think is decent and my friends like it and I want to know what a real author thinks


I looked in his eyes today
and after a second I had to look away.
I couldn’t bring myself to say
what I had planned all day

Here’s what I want him to know
but wasn’t sure how to show

Thank you
for staying true
to your word
when I spoke. I know you heard
what I had to say
and you treated me as more than just another student I have to see today

You taught me to grow up to be strong
to prove myself strong
the years were long

That I worked with you
and every day I knew
that one day it’s possible that you

may leave and go on your own
I only wish I knew that I had known
that you had shown

More signs of leaving me
to be whoever I’d be
without you to see
on a tough day where I needed to be set free

Of the stress and made smile
I knew you could do that for me if just for a while.

But now you decided to set yourself free
do something I thought I’d never see
be a person I never knew….leave me lonely

But I’m happy I knew you and I need to say
I want to thank you for every day
and with that I have nothing left to say


the spacing isnt perfect on here but I hope you get the idea. The rhyming words should b the end of the line.

Dallas said...

Hi Megs,

Thank you for sharing your poem! I really liked the rhythm you've created, which I think is reinforced nicely by the rhyme scheme. Do you have a title? I wasn't quite sure who the "you" is that the poem refers to, and a title might help clarify that.

Keep writing, you definitely are talented!!

:) Dallas

MFAguy said...

Hey Dallas,

Any sign of Arcadia yet your end?

Best.