By Colin Ward
Charlene Diehl was the MC for Tuesday’s Afternoon Book Chat, featuring authors Cordelia Strube and Carrie Snyder. We began with introductions and very brief readings from Milosz and The Juliet Stories. Charlene followed this with a conversation about writing methods and approachs.
This was a study in contrasts. Cordelia was assertive and confident and her reading from Milosz focused on dialogue. It was a performance, including various voices, accents, and gestures. Her writing was inspired by advice from a politician to get a 16-year-old autistic son arrested, that being the only way he could get the care he needed due to recent government cuts.
Carrie was more reserved. Her parents had been “sandalistas” (peace activists, originally from the United States) in Nicaragua during the Contra terrorist attacks. The Juliet Stories is a fictionalized account of the daughter–Juliet–of such a couple.
The floor was opened to questions, the first being the most obvious: how autobiographic were these novels? Cordelia replied that she was “too boring” to be the subject of a novel. Carrie joked about her father teasing her about the “morally relativistic” father-figure in The Juliet Stories.
Another question focused on the role that metaphors and similes played in their writing. Both authors downplayed their importance, saying that their straightforward approach precluded the need for such explanatory parallels.
Thanks to the these fascinating writers and to all of the Thin Air organizers that made this discussion possible!