Now that my newest book, Mending: New and Selected Short Stories is reaching its readers, I find myself in a rather delightful quandary.
My little practice restored my faith in one crucial phrase, one crucial possibility, which I feel to this day, and that is the possibility of achieving through my body the peace that passes understanding.
“Doing good” has always been associated with that look which is why Doris Duke, mysterious, unpredictable, may turn out to be an interesting subject for my next book. Already I gather that she “did good” without caring much about it or dreaming of wearing “do good” clothes.
So often, when I’m teaching in these uncelebrated venues to women who sometimes seem lost to my word, I feel fruitless and frustrated; yet any one of the many women I have taught might, also, has written WOW next to startling lines in a poem they would never have read without my class.
When people ask me why I moved to Santa Fe twenty years ago, I answer according to my mood: the mountains, the sky, the light—all familiar answers that most of us offer, particularly if we are artists for whom such attributes are especially important.
Our books are expensive and employ language that is rapidly becoming obsolete. They are sold in bookstores, which are themselves, special, separate, threatened, and rare. These books are written slowly, sometimes painfully, and edited slowly, and also sometimes with pain, all to conform to a standard: what serious literature ought to be. But to uphold a standard that no longer means anything to most people seems an exercise in futility.
It was the 1980’s and the three of us-Julia, Joan and I-were possessed by the spirit of the times-that energizing, reckless, laughing spirit that was born of the modern women’s movement. We could do anything. Even stir up trouble.
Stream water will gush over the wheel, and it will turn, and the stones will grind, and the old building will shake, just as it was all intended to do more than 150 years ago.