Gut Feelings: A Writer's Truths and Minute Inventions

Overview

In these highly personal essays and powerful tales that verge on memoir, Merrill Joan Gerber opens to us her life and work as a writer. She is candid and unflinching in revealing the truths and inventions of a writer’s vision and the use of life as the raw material of art. Her personal essays range widely, from the mysteries of love and marriage to painful encounters with suicides and family deaths.

Gerber writes of her apprenticeships with celebrated writing teachers Andrew ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$21.75
BN.com price
(Save 12%)$24.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (11) from $2.40   
  • New (3) from $17.31   
  • Used (8) from $2.40   
Sending request ...

Overview

In these highly personal essays and powerful tales that verge on memoir, Merrill Joan Gerber opens to us her life and work as a writer. She is candid and unflinching in revealing the truths and inventions of a writer’s vision and the use of life as the raw material of art. Her personal essays range widely, from the mysteries of love and marriage to painful encounters with suicides and family deaths.

Gerber writes of her apprenticeships with celebrated writing teachers Andrew Lytle and Wallace Stegner and recounts her ghostly (and ghastly) experiences during a month at Yaddo, the famous retreat for artists. Gerber includes three pieces in the book—originally published as stories—but which blur the line between fiction and memoir, demonstrating Gerber’s contention that the deepest secrets in life beget the most passionate fictions.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Gerber (creative writing, California Inst. of Technology; Botticelli Blue Skies) notes in the preface to this collection of essays and short stories that she needs to write about "the way things really are" while producing fiction. Admitting that one cannot be sure whether truth lies in fact or fiction, she cleverly blends memoir and invention to illustrate how an author's life influences her literary output. Subjects range from writing teachers and other literary experiences to events in Gerber's family life, which began in Brooklyn. Noteworthy entries include "A Month in the Country at Yaddo," a humorous look at the eccentricities of life at an artists' colony, and "The Lost Airman," the poignant story of the author's uncle, a World War II MIA, whose remains were found some 50 years after his death. The collection will prove particularly insightful to writers in training as illustrations of how real-life events provide material for creative efforts. Also recommended for those who enjoyed Doris Kearns Goodwin's Wait Till Next Year. For public libraries.-Denise J. Stankovics, Rockville P.L., Vernon, CT Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Refined, concise, often emotionally wringing memoir vignettes. These pieces get at the source of fiction-writer Gerber's work (Chattering Man, 1991, etc.), the kernels and essences and truths that have shaped the imaginings that made her fictions "forms of emotion recollected in an even higher state of emotion." She knows how to turn a story on a dime, as when Wallace Stegner tells her, "You hold out for what you're worth," as well as to create a more pervasive atmosphere, as in the stifling pecking order at Yaddo, how she experienced the diminishment of every small disappointment and insult. She can twist the knife of a family who lost three sons during WWII, and she can seesaw between the black humor of "My Mother's Suffering: you could say it was the theme song of my life" to the lacerating words they share when they decide to withdraw her life support: " 'But are you sure you're ready to die? Are you ready to say goodbye to us?' 'Yes!' It took all her energy to say the word." She can, above all, be unsparing, visiting an aged aunt and other old crones in a retirement home, where she "smelled their smell as we all crowded into the small elevator to go down for the watered soup and canned peas for lunch." Readers can also witness the transmutation of experience into fiction (Gerber includes three stories), feel the blur, as when she relates the suicide of her sister's husband in a piece of pure memoir and then read it again in a story she wrote of the incident, full of friction, dislocation, and the author finding her own measure of veracity. "I wait to receive further news from existence and to give it true justice in the retelling." She will, too, cutting the facets just right.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780299183509
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
  • Publication date: 3/28/2003
  • Pages: 204
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Merrill Joan Gerber teaches creative writing at the California Institute of Technology. Her most recent book is Botticelli Blue Skies: An American in Florence, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press. Her many novels, short story collections, and non-fiction works include King of the World, The Kingdom of Brooklyn, Anna in Chains, Anna in the Afterlife, and Old Mother, Little Cat.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Follow the Thread into the Labyrinth: A Fond Recollection of Andrew Lytle 3
Wallace Stegner and the Stanford Writing Workshop 8
A Month in the Country at Yaddo 17
The Lost Airman 33
The Treasures We Held 46
Getting Mother Buried 60
"Look How She Holds His Hand" 76
My Suicides 96
The Harpsichord on the Mountain 108
"This Is a Voice from Your Past" 129
"I Don't Believe This" 142
"Tell Me Your Secret" 153
A Few Words 167
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)