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 - that blur the line between fiction and memoir, demonstrating her contention that the deepest secrets in life beget the most passionate fictions.
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.
The form in the stone - some notes on how I write; follow the thread into the labyrinth - a fond recollection of Andrew Lytle; Wallace Stegner and the Stanford Writing Workshop; a month in the country at Yaddo; the lost airman; the treasures weheld; getting mother buried; ""Look how she holds his hand""; my suicides; the harpsichord on the mountain; ""This is a voice from your past""; ""I don't believe this""; ""Tell me your secret""; a few words.