Youmans (pronounced like 'yeoman' with an 's' added) is the best-kept secret among contemporary American writers.--John Wilson, editor, Books and Culture.

Monday, August 06, 2012

St. Louis dreaming...

This morning I received a lovely letter about A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage and many other things from Deborah Bohlmann, who I met through my now-receding-into-the-past national working group at Yale Divinity School. (I still hear from people in the Faith as a Way of Life group from time to time, especially Makoto Fujimura--he and I were the official artists in the group, though a great many of the members were writers of one sort or another, and several of them shared poetry with me.) While it's pleasant to read about the ways in which someone you like admires a book, it's also interesting when an intelligent person sees a story clearly. I was taken with the clarity of her reading when she says, "I had not realized which death the book was most truly about, that it was about the emotional death Pip was struggling with, and the answer was love."

The world knows her best through her public roles--she's a wife and a mother of two sons and a daughter (just like me--and I can say that mother of three is a fairly consuming ), and she is a first-rate English teacher in the St. Louis public schools. But she also writes poetry and is working on a memoir. She has had an active St. Louis writing group in the past, but at the moment her only "group" is an uncle, Walt--Walter Wangerin, Jr., who has written oodles of books and is best known for The Book of the Dun Cow, which won a National Book Award in the one year that an award was given for science fiction. I look forward to holding Deb's first book in my hands.

Out there in the world are many people, making beauty in their parceled-out lives, fitting a bit of art into nooks and crannies of time. And I wish that a friendly somebody or an arts council or some out-of-the-blue emissary would call me out to St. Louis to do some events and a workshop, say, so that I could pay a visit to that hardworking, inspired-and-inspiring woman, Deborah Bohlmann. That's going on the Wish List...

Related links:  A Death at the White Camellia Orphanage, Walter Wangerin, Jr., Makoto Fujimura

4 comments:

  1. It is always heart-warming and encouraging to receive good feedback from others, especially another artist or writer and a teacher too. You always respond so generously too, Marly.

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  2. Oh, I suppose I think we're all part of the weave... I'm grateful to the people who take time to read my fiction or poetry.

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  3. It is good to know that my letter was meaningful for you, Marly. A St. Louis workshop is a brilliant idea.
    -Deborah

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  4. Shall write you a proper letter soon! As soon as I climb over my book mountain... maybe before.

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Alas, I must once again remind large numbers of Chinese salesmen and other worldwide peddlers that if they fall into the Gulf of Spam, they will be eaten by roaming Balrogs. The rest of you, lovers of grace, poetry, and horses (nod to Yeats--you do not have to be fond of horses), feel free to leave fascinating missives and curious arguments.