Skloot had been writing poetry for 20 years, short stories for 15, with three novels on the way, when he was struck with a brain disease that ravaged his memory. Fiction became impossible. Only memoir could help him reassemble his past; two he wrote in this phase, In the Shadow of Memory and A World of Light, have received great praise. This latest memoir moves away from the illness theme to explore what has made Skloot a writer, "the sort of person who could only deal with what happened to him by writing about it." He first explores what he calls "external" influences forming him as a writer-the discovery that he could fulfill school writing assignments with his baseball mania, that his television heroes like Peter Gunn were cooler as observers than as doers, even that the rituals of cooking could bring comfort. Then he focuses on how his writerly sensibilities have shaped his life-from how he jogged listening "to hear the hidden cadence" to the way he communicated with his aging, memory-impaired mother through song. Skloot is such a fine writer that he can-and does-write about eating "baloney and eggs" and makes it seem fascinating. Writers at any stage of their careers will treasure this volume of clean, expressive prose that delights without ever showing off. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wink of the Zenithby Floyd Skloot
In his three previous memoirs, Floyd Skloot grappled with the brain-ravaging virus that struck him at forty-one. He was, as the San Francisco Chronicle noted, “shaping the experience of crippling illness into dazzling literature.” How such alchemy is performed—where, in fact, the magic comes from—is the subject of Skloot’s new book, a… See more details below
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In his three previous memoirs, Floyd Skloot grappled with the brain-ravaging virus that struck him at forty-one. He was, as the San Francisco Chronicle noted, “shaping the experience of crippling illness into dazzling literature.” How such alchemy is performed—where, in fact, the magic comes from—is the subject of Skloot’s new book, a memoir of the making of a writer.
Sifting through memories and observations to discover how circumstance and nature conspired to make him the writer he is, Skloot enacts in this book the very process he describes, the shaping of a writer’s life. Among the influences of family and close friendship, experience and popular culture, he uncovers a unique and telling perspective on the forging of a writer’s individual sensibility. At the same time, his book explores fundamental questions about how life shapes the creative spirit—and how, in turn the writer makes sense of it all and gives life a new and meaningful shape in the form of literature.
In Skloot's fourth memoir (after A World of Light) since being struck at 41 with a neurological virus that significantly impaired his memory, the award-winning poet and novelist describes the family influences and cultural experiences that shaped him and focuses on how his upbringing influenced the rest of his career. Throughout his life, he has lived in grief over his father's death, his mother's experience with Alzheimer's, and his own struggles with loneliness and serious health issues. He expresses how if he were fully engaged by a book, it would absorb his body like a virus, yet the story would take place in his world rather than in the imaginary world that occurs while reading. Skloot feels great writing can make time stand still, thus sending writers to another world. The essays collected here-including his Pushcart Prize-winning "The Voice of the Past" and others that originally appeared in various literary journals, sometimes in different versions-are funny, sad, and inspiring. Skloot has done a remarkable job of re-creating his life and showing readers how writing is therapeutic.
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