The Making of a Writer

Gail Godwin’s second volume of published journals are writer gold. She talks about craft in unusual and interesting ways. Plus she was at the Iowa Writers Workshop at this time (60s) and worked with Vonnegut and Coover and all of her peers were writers in fierce competition for publication. She powers through rejection and distractions, like her crazy boyfriend situations. By the time she gets to Iowa she’s 31 and divorced twice. The second marriage was to a Scientologist. This is in pre-Tom Cruise/John Travolta days. Fascinating!

As for writing teachers, Gail loved Vonnegut and distrusted Coover’s writing philosophy. I agree with her on both! I tried to read Coover long ago and gave up. He’s one of those writers who doesn’t believe in plot or interpersonal relationships. I heard one critic say of Coover “this is a writer who actually hates readers, or wants readers to hate him.”

And there’s a great part in there where she mentions “A Writer’s Diary.” Of course she’s referring to the Virginia Woolf book that this blog takes it’s name from…but still, it was kind of thrilling to see the connection. Naturally I finished this book in a couple of days, just devouring it. I would recommend it to anyone seriously considering writing novels.

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