Mothers of Invention

May 11, 2014 § Leave a comment

On this Mother’s Day, Nadxieli Nieto’s Tumblr project Literary Mothers collects the testaments of eleven writers on the female authors who inspired them and their work.

Featured in the first batch: Matt Bell on Christine Schutt; Ashley Farmer on Joan Didion; Alexander Chasin on Andrea Dworkin, Audre Lorde, and Monique Wittig; Nadxieli Nieto on Nikki Giovanni; Amber Sparks on Isak Dinesen; Deb Olin Unferth on Gertrude Stein; Scott Cheshire on Kay Ryan; Porochista Khakpour on Can Xue; Lincoln Michel on Flannery O’Connor; Kelly Luce on Lois Lowry; Alissa Nutting on Lynda Barry; Erika Anderson on Cheryl Strayed.

I like Luce’s anecdote of acquiring The Giver through an act of shoplifting, and Farmer’s explanation how, through Didion, she opened herself to the idea of writing to discover what you know:

Didion has also said that writing is an aggressive, hostile thing—that you’re imposing your ideas on another person, that there’s so much “I” in it. But to me, writing to discover what you know is quite the opposite. It’s a call to humility. It’s the promise that writing can make us more human, more aware, more ourselves than we were before.

The project will remain open to new submissions, at least for the moment.


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