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Ellen Meister, today's guest columnist and author of the new book, Farewell, Dorothy Parker, asks a question at the end of her column that made me sit for a bit and think. I was surprised at my answer.
Take it away Ellen...
In high school, I hung around with a small group of friends so far outside the social nucleus we didn't even feel its pull. At least that's what we told ourselves. We were, we insisted, artists, poets, lovers of literature. There may have been some small truth in that, but one big truth was clear. We were smarta sses.
So when one of my friends handed me a book about the Algonquin Round Table--the group of wits who met daily for lunch throughout the 1920s--I was enthralled. But one member in particular captured my attention.
Her wit was fearless, piercing. But more than that, her insights into the human heart--especially those that have been broken--pushed right through the decades to touch the tenderest, most damaged part of me. I had found a hero.
Never mind that she was an alcoholic and a depressive who attempted suicide several times. Dorothy Parker was my idol. She became the voice I carried around on my shoulder, offering searing criticisms and penetrating perceptions whenever necessary.
Decades later, when I was a grown woman and published novelist, she was still by my side. So when I noticed that many of my fellow fiction authors were publishing homages to the beloved Jane Austen, I couldn't help but wonder why no one had done the same for Dorothy Parker. I became almost indignant. Sure I loved Jane Austen, but why wasn't anyone bringing the mistress of the verbal hand grenade back to life?
I could even picture the story--the ghost of Dorothy Parker becoming the houseguest of a modern woman, taking the role of mentor, tormentor and maybe even friend.
"Someone should do that," I thought. Then I realized who that someone was. Me.
I can't honestly say the process of writing the book was unbridled joy. There were, in fact, moments of great despair, as capturing the great wit's voice was one of the most difficult challenges of my career. But in the end, my vision was realized. And I'm so excited to share this piece of my heart with the world.
I'm happy to announce that my publisher is giving away five advance copies of Farewell, Dorothy Parker. If you'd like to enter the giveaway for a chance to win one, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, answering this question: If you could bring one person back to life for a conversation, who would it be?
Ellen Meister is the author of three previous novels: The Other Life, The Smart One, and Secret Confessions of the Applewood PTA. She has held editorial positions at SmokeLong Quarterly and DimeStories. Meister teaches creative writing at Hofstra University School of Continuing Education and runs an online group where she mentors aspiring women authors.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is THE DOUBLE DEATH OF QUINCAS WATER-BRAY by Gregory Rabassa. Start reading now and enter to win a Penguin totebag. Go to: https://tinyurl.com/Jan13Classics
AUTHORBUZZ: THE SEVENTH VICTIM (Thriller) by Mary Burton
Imagine fearing for your life every day. Lara Church knows it changes everything. The lone survivor of a string of unsolved serial murders, she holds the key to the killer's identity. Seven years later, when she tries to stop running, the killings resume, but this time Lara's got a Texas Ranger on her side.
Go to: https://authorbuzz.com/dearreader click on THE SEVENTH VICTIM to read more and to email author Mary Burton, you'll get a reply.