Welcome Deborah Emin (SullivanStPress) and Host Lisa Derrick (LaFiga)

[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]

Scags at 18 (novel)

I’m not in Skokie anymore . . . finding sex, love, and politics in my first time away from home.

Going away to college is one the defining moments in anyone’s life, and for Scags Morgenstern, the heroine of Deborah Emin’s Scags at 18, her first semester at an elite Vermont college, where she’s a scholarship student, shifts her world.

Told in the first person as diary entries, Scags’ first semester expresses the questioning and discovery that comes with growing into adulthood. And as diary entries, we learn much about Scags’ present and interior lives, her backstory revealed in passing sentences, building a framework of who the freshman is and what she is staged to become.

Scags at 18 is the second of four books told in Scags’ voice. The first, Scags at 7, explores the young girl’s childhood, her friendships and family. Scags at 30 and Scags at 40 have yet to be released. Each book covers a season in her life, both literally and metaphorically.

When Scags arrives at her unnamed college, she makes a friend, the friend she always wanted, and falls in love with a handsome, troubled, and wealthy young man. Classes and relationships both offer challenges: Scags encounters sexism for the first time in her poetry class when her professor states that women are incapable of understanding, yet alone writing, poetry. But after Scags steals a copy of Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own from the library, her eyes are opened.

Before I read her essay, my life had the form of a series of distinct points on a line— events, things happened, one after the other, in the manner of this happened and then that happened. I did this. I did that. I haven’t done this but will do it. Everything neatly arranged. Life appeared to be a line that led somewhere, taking me somewhere based on what I did. Or didn’t do.

Here, at College, I am that fish caught too soon. What I am and what I know are not yet mature.

Discussions about art and feminism in her pottery classes and attending a reading by Adrienne Rich further open her heart and mind to her own creative possibilities and potential.

Two pivotal forces at college shape Scags’ growth. She falls in love with Charles, a wealthy wastrel student and goes on the Pill—something he pays for, a charmingly chivalrous and archaic gesture. Politically active and involved in drug culture, Charles provides Scags with view of life far different from that in her hometown. While she shuns his pot smoking and by extension the Beatles—Abbey Road comes out, and she won’t listen to it with Charles and his friends, equating the band with drugs. But when he asks her to attend the anti-war rally in Washington DC with him and his friends, she accepts, and drops acid for the first time. There she experiences new layers of interior and exterior life, shaped in part by her discussions the previous night with a pacifist priest. At the demonstration she wonders aloud why there is such a large protest about a war in a foreign land, while in the South Side of Chicago whole neighborhoods are under siege.

This aspect of Scags develops out of a random stroll through the Town, when Scags encounters a day care center and inadvertently ends up working there as a tutor. She begins to more deeply realize class differences and the symbiotic relationship between Town and College, as well as the differences between her and Charles, especially when he angrily confronts her about her tutoring, feeling himself jealous and betrayed by Scags having a life apart from him:

He thought I should quit and that I didn’t need the money or to take the time away from my own work to tend to the needs of some little kid who wouldn’t be able to rise out of the poverty he was in because some “nice girl from the College took pity on him and taught him his multiplication tables.”…He continued to “explain” to me how using my guilt to help someone was doing, perhaps, the right thing but for all the wrong reasons and it was sure to blow up in my face…

Somewhere in that gap between the way we live up at the College and the people in the Town have to live, there is a great injustice. All of it seems to be due to accidents of birth rather than some design or contest that proved who should have what.

It is ultimately an insensitive remark by Charles about Scags’ background that causes the book’s tragic conclusion, and paves the way for the sequel, which takes place twelve years later.

Scags at 18 is a time capsule which contains valid and important stories for readers alive during the 1960s to their grandchildren. The collegiate experiences of friendships, both lasting and transient, struggles with new ideas melding with preconceived expectations, the coming of age joys and sorrows are expressed through a heroine who is introspective and at times hard-headed, a girl-women who has survived family difficulties and now in college must cope with a world of new emotions as life continues to deliver gifts and blows.

121 Responses to “FDL Book Salon Welcomes Deborah Emin, Scags at 18 (novel)”

BevW May 5th, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Deborah, Welcome back to the Lake.

Lisa, Thank you for Hosting today’s Book Salon.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 1:52 pm
In response to BevW @ 1

Hi to the two of you, I am glad to be back.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Hello, Deborah, thank you so much for being here, and for writing Scags at 18. I was very touch and moved by it.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 1:55 pm

Did you attend college in the East–in other words, which bits of Scags are you, in that as writers, we put some of ourselve in each character.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 1:58 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 4

I have to confess to not being Scags and to not having gone to college in the east. I am more of an imaginative writer. Though I did live in VT during the early 70s.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:00 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 5

I get asked this question a lot and it is at times irksome. I did go to the march on DC in 1969 and left from Chicago not from VT. But none of those events happened to me there either.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:00 pm

In your most recent MyFDL diary, “Of Novels and Women,” you wrote:

I knew immediately when I had gone off the rails and started to follow a path that wasn’t going to take me anywhere. But getting back on the right path took years..My pursuit of the correct story for the second volume of the Scags Series took over a decade and yet . . . . I found what I needed and used it.

Where had you gone of the rails, and what did you find, what aspect of the story led you back?

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:02 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 6

You write so fluidly and well about the College and the demonstration, which may be why you are oft asked those questions. In the these days of super-memoirs and reality TV, the art of imagination is given a short shrift at times.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:02 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 7

Thanks for asking that question and for the review you wrote too of my book. As to the going off the rails, that had to do with not knowing Scags when she was that age. It was a matter of not feeling comfortable with her 18-year-old voice after spending time with her 7-year-old voice.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:03 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 9

I also think that we forget how much use the imagination can be to our daily lives. I don’t know about you, but for me, it is always a great help in times of distress or impatience or just long lines at the supermarket. Sort of living a bit like Walter Mitty.

Elliott May 5th, 2012 at 2:03 pm

Welcome to the Lake, Deborah, I enjoyed your diary on writing.

Silly question, but how did you come up with the name Scaggs, and did that precede the novel itself?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:05 pm
In response to Elliott @ 11

Elliott, It is so hard to say this, but Scags approached me on the Long Island Railroad and so, for me, it was a matter of having my imagination attack me. I sat and listened while she and Pops spoke to each other. I basically went home after that and wrote down a good deal of what I heard them say. Dialog was hard for me to learn. They helped me to learn it.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:05 pm

You allow the reader the space to use their own imagination, to build in their minds the characters Scags mentions in passing–Odessa, her mother and father, her aunt. Even Scags herself doesn’t describe in detail what she looks like (you saved us from “As I looked in the mirror at my and nose etc” and I thank you for that!). It actually helped build more of story for me, and to get a greater feel of Scags.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:06 pm
In response to BevW @ 13

Thanks Bev for giving the link. I would like to continue that set of thoughts as it is going to help carry me into the next volume in the Series.

Suzanne May 5th, 2012 at 2:06 pm

welcome to fdl deborah. lisa, thanks for hosting. i loved this book — i was reading it the week that adrienne rich died and was touched by how much the poetry reading in the book meant to scags. loved scags at 7 and can’t wait to read scags at 35.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:07 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 14

You know, since it is a series, it is even harder to know what to add and what is just giving the readers of the series too much basic info that they already know. Plus, as you say, Lisa, it is always good to let a reader use her imagination. That is part of what makes reading so much fun.

Elliott May 5th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 12

wow.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:08 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 9

Now that you have spent time with her–almost the length of time it took her to grow from 7 to 18, are you more aware of her voice at 30 and at 45, which will be the next books in the series?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:09 pm
In response to Suzanne @ 16

Thanks Suzanne. Adrienne Rich gave permission for the use of her poem. It gave me great pleasure to know that she personally took the time to do her own permissions work.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:10 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 19

The next book, Scags at 30, is pretty much known to me. I have started it and have now made a promise to the people who have helped me to get an iPad app up that the next volume will come out next year. So for those with an iPad, the app gives a lot more information and can help a reader get to know lots of the exterior info about the places, people, etc that are in the story, what we are calling a Living Book.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:11 pm
In response to Elliott @ 18

Elliott, I am assuming you said wow because it was unusual and not because I scared you away?

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:11 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 20

Along with Rich, Robert Lowell and Lawrence Ferlinghetti make appearances, as notably does Virgina Woolf, whose A Room of One’s Own plays an important part of both character and plot development.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:13 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 23

Yes, and for me that was the most important discovery that helped me to find my way back to her. As in your earlier question, Lisa, it was that book more than any other that helped me to get back in touch with Scags and what it would be that she would want. In the 60s, that book played a large role in the formation of lots of young women’s imaginations. The thought of having a place of our own in which to do our own work was a wonderful idea.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Deborah, your book is not available at Amazon, you are sidestepping them, and developing some new models for independent authors. Could you tell us a bit about that and about the Scags app for iPad?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:15 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 23

Robert Lowell was important for his poetry and also for his link to Chicago and the Democratic Convention in 1968. And that he was a draft resister. And Ferlinghetti was iconic and a leader in so many ways of how poetry and writing were changing and becoming more demotic.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:18 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 25

Ah, my great passion is also to talk about the new publishing paradigm, Lisa, so I am eager to say this–if you believe that we need to change the way corporations rule our lives, then Amazon is one of the first addictive pleasures consumers have to end. I have written extensively about them on my blog at http://www.sullivanstpress.com but can say here that their intentions are not democratic. They have final authority over who can be sold by them and even if you currently have a title with them, for reasons of their own choosing, they can yank you off. That in itself is reason enough to avoid them. I hope that is clear.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:20 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 25

As to the new ways, I am not so sure I understand them all myself. I find that most of how we sell is to just go out there and be with people, read the work and talk about why these books are worth their time and money. Currently, we began a program of giving back as well. My cousin, Lynda, has ovarian cancer and we donate a portion of each sale of Scags at 18 in its e-book format to the Foundation for Women’s Cancer. Lynda is writing a blog as well on the site about her experiences.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:21 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 24

Ou brought up many aspects that I think are important for young women today to know about so that they have a sense of their history, while still creating a character that is relatable for tweens and teens (though they may not be your targeted audience): Sexist professors, discovery of life-changing literature beyond the Twilight series, shifting friendships, date-rape, getting married ‘early” (yes people got married during college “back then,”), birth control…

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:23 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 27

A friend’s documentary about gay porn stars was not accepted by Amazon until we wrote about it here at FDL and pointed out the hyopcrisy of having straight porn sold on Amazon, but not a documentary about gay men who make porn.

Amazon is very easy, and addictive as you say, and I do shop local bookstore (new and used) for my book fixes.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:24 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 29

I had no idea when I began this series how relevant all the material would be to the issues coming up in our popular discussions today. I agree that much of what Scags has to experience is not that different from what goes on today despite the difference in time. I think anyone who wants to read a story about how a woman discovers her own identity and how that identity is revealed to her would find these books of interest. Certainly, they do explore the constants in life–sexism, hostility, income inequality and the fact that none of us get to choose who we come from, where we come from, etc.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:25 pm

What is the relationship between Scags at 18 and ovarian cancer?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:25 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 30

When I first bought books online, Amazon was so convenient. I was ordering books at 2 am and having them arrive a couple of days later in the mail. But as I studied their practices and read about how they treated authors, distributors, publishers, and the extra-legal ways they behave, I began to worry about what this would do to the entire book business which you must admit is in very sorry shape.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:25 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 31

The class and economic struggle issues were beautifully laid out.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:27 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 32

Other than the fact that ovarian cancer is one of the gynecologic cancers that gets the least amount of coverage in the press and is also the deadliest, my cousin, Lynda, has lived with it for 2 years now. She still lives in Skokie, which is where Scags is from. My wife, Suzanne, suggested that we help with fund raising, which Lynda and her group of fellow cancer survivors, have been actively doing for about 18 months, and raised over $13,000 the last I got a figure from them.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:29 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 35

Class and race are important elements in the stories and yes, most of the warehouses are run with the same kind of cruelty to workers you would expect. Many of them are now laying off workers, after receiving generous tax breaks from the states where they have them, and replacing them with robots. The bait and switch is fearful.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:31 pm

In the space of the time it takes to realistically write a novel, it becomes clear that no matter what period you set the novel in, if you are writing realistic fiction there is going to be that sense that nothing changes much and that the same issues are prevalent and ongoing.

BevW May 5th, 2012 at 2:31 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 28

Would you like to share Lynda’s websites / blogs for our readers?

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:31 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 36

How are you fundraising?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:35 pm
In response to BevW @ 39

The blog is on the Sullivan Street Press website.
http://www.sullivanstpress.com/lyndas-page

As to how we go about fundraising, it is a new experience for me. I write a blog for the site and I go and talk to people and let them know what the company is doing. Naively, I thought it would be easy. But it’s not. it is a full-time part of the work.

but with now the iPad app, once we load the Scags at 18 book on it, that too will be another source of money.
And, for me, it was we hurried up to get the program set up and then my wife and I went to Italy so now we are back at it and this should be the time to see what kinds of work pay off and which don’t. But we will be doing readings as well.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I received a number of blogs to post for Lynda while we were in Italy and it is something that I never thought would be easy to read. And it is not.

cherwell May 5th, 2012 at 2:36 pm

greetings from atlanta to three of my favorite women.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Writing blogs as I am sure most people know is very different from writing fiction.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:37 pm
In response to cherwell @ 43

My, my Cherie, so nice to have you here.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Sullivan Street Press also has a Facebook page here

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:39 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 46

Thanks Lisa. We post lots of material during the week about the state of publishing and the also the ways in which the new epublishing world is evolving. We would love for lots of people to join us but more importantly for them to join in the conversation.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:39 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 44

Indeed! Though as I once pointed out about Dominick Dunne, you can tell a lot of truth with fiction, and not get sued.

cherwell May 5th, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Deborah — please relate Skags to our current clime, especially as it relates to women, lily ledbetter law, and the 99%.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 48

Yes, that is true. I do think the kind of truth that makes fiction work is the inner kind, that deeper kind that makes us all identify with and empathize with characters and the world in which they live.

cherwell May 5th, 2012 at 2:40 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 48

true dat, La Lisa. hi

masaccio May 5th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Deborah, did you just start writing fiction, or did you do other kinds of writing, poetry or non-fiction, or essays, first?

I ask because like a lot of the contributors here, I have focused on non-fiction all my work life, and have often wondered if it was useful in writing fiction.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:43 pm
In response to cherwell @ 49

You sure do ask a question, Cherie, that could take me a novel to answer. Hah.
Scags is really about a moment in our time line when lots of what we are dealing with today was also being dealt with. Yesterday we honored those who died and were wounded at Kent State. For those in college then, it was an eye opening experience that our own troops would fire on us. We were marching a lot in that period, against racist policies and against the war. We wanted an ERA, we wanted there to be a more equitable distribution of wealth but most of all, I think, we began to sense that we needn’t hide who we were, as women, or what it was we needed in order to be full members of the society we lived in.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:44 pm
In response to cherwell @ 51

Hi Cherie!

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:45 pm
In response to masaccio @ 52

Fiction came to me last. I couldn’t write fiction at all. I read it voraciously. I wrote poetry and plays first. Never much non fiction until much later. Then I began writing fiction because things began to make sense to me only in those terms. Once I began teaching it, writing fiction, I really began to get the itch all the time.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:47 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 55

Are you still teaching? And what ages are your students?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:48 pm

A few years ago I began writing personal essays and some journalism for a couple of papers here in NYC. I loved writing journalism and it was truly fun to go out and see an event, watch a march or hear some speeches and then go home and write an article about it. or see a play and write a review. Personal writing was too painful to do. I was terrible at it and never felt comfortable with that form at all.

supyr May 5th, 2012 at 2:48 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 55

I would just like to add that Deborah is a news junkie and has written quite a few informative articles before she decided to concentrate on fiction.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:49 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 56

I don’t teach anymore. I much prefer sitting in my study and writing and commenting and reading. Students are great teachers but at some point, I got burned out and couldn’t focus as much as I wanted to on my own work. I do work one-on-one from time to time with writers. I enjoy that but mostly to help someone understand the story they are trying to tell. Then it is up to them to write it.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:50 pm
In response to supyr @ 58

Yes, I am a news junkie. I can’t help myself. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I’ll get up and read a newspaper online.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 2:51 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 57

So Scags at 7, and Pops came to you at a train station–and how long did Scags at 7 take you to write?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 61

I wrote the first draft in 2 weeks. Then I spent a year revising it. The original conversation I overheard never made it into the book. Once I began outlining the story, I realized that they were just introducing themselves to me.

Then while I worked on the third draft, I wanted not to finish the book so I decided to make it a series so I would always have Scags with me.

Elliott May 5th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 22

right (you don’t scares me ;)

cherwell May 5th, 2012 at 2:53 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 53

thank you and you have taught me well, professor emin, this past year or so. do you find that history is repeating itself what with the assault on women this past year? hi, back. La Lisa.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:54 pm
In response to Elliott @ 63

Good because I want the idea of how captivating fiction is to not frighten people away but make them want to use their imaginations more.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:56 pm
In response to cherwell @ 64

I don’t think history repeats that way, it just means we still have so much work to do. I recall, because I am old, that when the ERA was introduced that the discussions were silly–things like single sex bathrooms captivated the media attention. What we really need is for everyone to always be treated as equal no matter who or what they are. But that concept is a difficult one for a country that was founded with slavery as a bedrock of its economy. So perhaps it is more like what my wife always says, the more things change the more they stay the same.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 2:58 pm
In response to cherwell @ 64

I think what Scags experiences aren’t necessarily historical but rather the dramatization of what it is like to leave home, have to fend for yourself and find out whether or not you can do that. How it is to fall in love for the first time and not feel that comfortable with the notion of love, I mean what can we know of that until we have really experienced the world, which she hasn’t done yet.

supyr May 5th, 2012 at 2:59 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 66

I have always found it remarkable that you have been able to progress Scag’s voice from 7 to 18 but still keep the same essential character. I know that must be hard.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:00 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 62

You use each season to frame each of the books–Scags at 7 was set in summer; Scags at 18 in the fall, which means once we have Scags at 45 in the spring–will there be no more Scags?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Adrienne Rich wrote a collection of essays many years ago about the politics of poetry. She drew for inspiration from a William Carlos Williams poem, Asphodel, where he says, in my words, though his are much better, that people die for the lack of news that comes from not reading poetry. In other words, we are so based, these days, in this need for verisimilitude that we don’t let our minds roam into places that aren’t productive or about to help us make money or make a new connection. We don’t day dream or just while away the time thinking our own thoughts. We aren’t allowed that freedom anymore.

supyr May 5th, 2012 at 3:04 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 70

I agree. While I was teaching, I felt that both the students and the administration suffered from a lack of poetry.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:04 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 69

There are 4 volumes in the series. Yes, this will end. i think knowing Scags as well as I do, I will have had my fill of her by the last volume. Writing Scags at 30 now is not as difficult, so far, as I thought it would be. she is writing letters this time. As an epistolary novel, it is going back to the earliest of English novels which were that–epistolary.
As to keeping her voice and her character, that is not as hard as it might seem because like a kid, she is my imaginary friend. We talk all the time, no one knows that, but we do.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 70

Along with Scags, are you writing other fiction right now?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:05 pm
In response to supyr @ 71

It is not easy being green or a poet or a musician in the world we have now. It isn’t valued very much.

RevBev May 5th, 2012 at 3:06 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 65

I hope you see the current Time article on John Irving….a wonderful piece of history and life and thought of a writer….I loved it.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:06 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 73

Yes, Lisa, I am always writing other stories and plotting out more work or living with work I began years ago. but writing novels is like running a marathon. Once you are on the path, you must stay focused, unless of course you are stuck and then working on something else is helpful.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:07 pm
In response to RevBev @ 75

i saw that there was a review of his newest book. I haven’t read the review yet can you say more about what you liked?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I stole a line from John Irving. It is in Scags at 7. I hope that no one discovers it too quickly now.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:12 pm

The thing is to me that Nadine Gordimer, who won the Nobel Prize for Literature has a new book out. She is 88 years old and has been a huge influence on me. I find her work to be both about relationships and politics and as thrilling now as when she was a much younger writer. I don’t think enough Americans read her.

RevBev May 5th, 2012 at 3:12 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 77

Well, I loved Garp, and the piece is a review of much of his literature for the last 40 years with some very personal discussion. He seems quite candid…It is basically an interview, but spread over quite a long period of time + significant discussion of his work. A great read.

RevBev May 5th, 2012 at 3:13 pm
In response to BevW @ 79

You got it….;)

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:14 pm
In response to RevBev @ 81

Thanks. I will read it. But to me, his work is more of that kind that works best in the traditional publishing mode. He has a certain formula, much like Stephen King has his formula, and he has stayed true to that all his writing career. We tend to valorize male authors for that. We spend too much time, in my opinion, discussing the mainstream male authors who don’t have the same problems being published or once published being taken seriously for the work they do.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Women writers, and Virginia Woolf was very good at noting this both in her critical writing and in her own fiction, have a very different approach to the world and to what constitutes a story.

supyr May 5th, 2012 at 3:17 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 83

Who do you think are some of the most important contemporary women authors?

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

Mysteries seems to be a place where women have made there mark–Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich and Patricia Cornwell come to mind, as does Patricia Kennealy Morrison who shifted from sci-fi to a rock n roll themed series of murder mysteries, but there are scores of others since Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers–the difference being that now the protagonists are women (with the exception of Miss Marple in Christie’s case).

Your thoughts on the murder mystery as novel and the rose pf female mystery solvers (apologies to Nancy Drew who was integral in my growth as a woman)

RevBev May 5th, 2012 at 3:18 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 83

It does make the point that he has written about the tough issues….I also feel like I have sort of grown up/aged with him over the 40 years.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:19 pm
In response to supyr @ 85

I mentioned Nadine Gordimer and I would also mention Alice Munro who has not produced a new great story recently but is still working and has much to say still in her use of form. I really think that there are too many unknown women writers now. We tend to “let” them be poets but as to novelists, that is more difficult. We make demands on them that are different, as Lisa referenced earlier, that they write memoir rather than fiction.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:22 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 86

i used to read P D James and loved how she worked out her plots. I also in my own mind construct lots of mystery novels and have almost written an entire novel already just in my head. But I am not a great fan of genre fiction for the kind of reading that makes me feel that I have done something wonderful with my time. I like to be bothered by a novel, or a collection of short stories. I want to be so involved in the dilemma of the story that I resent the real world. But I want the work of that reading to lead me to things I just couldn’t know any other way and to help me understand the world better and with greater clarity.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:24 pm
In response to RevBev @ 87

I believe that many readers feel that way. Yet we have to also deal with being female there are very different ways of being in the world that men don’t experience. I felt that writing the Scags Series would help me to explore that more than one novel could allow me to do.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:26 pm

It’s interesting to me how I find that we give so much more time and attention to male writers. It annoys me as well. More women read than men. More women read novels than men do. We now live in an era when the genre sections of bookstores have more new books coming in than the trade fiction sections do. And what we now call fiction, well, it is having a hard time keeping up with how the whole idea of books is changing.

RevBev May 5th, 2012 at 3:28 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 90

Thanks….I can look forward to Scags. Early on my fave female was Eudora Welty. From other women = The Help and Sarah’s Key I really could not put down. I was not aiming to disrupt the thread with Irving…just had seen the piece last night.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:29 pm

When can we expect Scags at 30? I am very curious to know what those three months of her life will reveal about her time between 18 and 30.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:30 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 93

Scags at 30 will be out next spring, at least that is the plan. I love to think of her as she will be in the new novel, in NYC, for the first time and working in a think tank for someone modeled after someone like Neil Postman.

Elliott May 5th, 2012 at 3:32 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 91

well don’t forget, men are Serious People!

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:34 pm
In response to RevBev @ 92

I too love to read Eudora Welty. There is something always so unexpected in her work that makes me sit up and think. I have heard her read, on the radio, so that I couldn’t watch her, and it was such an amazing experience. There was a time when people read more fiction, more short fiction, like hers and Dorothy Parker and Mavis Gallant and on and on but there is so much less of it these days that gets truly worked on.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:34 pm

With Scags, do you have an outline/plot points, or do you just write and let her flow?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:35 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 93

I just wanted to also say that the idea of these four novels is that they proceed to show a moment in her life, a time of transition and change that will lead to the next moment and the next as our lives are lived. That is one of the reasons the iPad app will be so helpful. There is no way to include all that intervening time but with the app, of course that is more possible.

BevW May 5th, 2012 at 3:36 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 91

Do you see the new publishing of e-books being able to reach a larger audience, being easier to get to versus walking around a book store and really never “seeing” each book.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:37 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 98

The app is very innovative, can’t wait to download it. and when it comes to Scags–to use the name of the new Kentucky derby winner, I’ll Have Another

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:37 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 97

I could never write without an outline. I don’t have that kind of confidence that I can just let things happen. I outline like crazy and enjoy that part of the process. To me, most novels are just retellings of an older story. As I was taught, there are no new plots, just lots of new ways of telling the stories. Once i know which old story I am retelling I have an easier time filling in all the blanks.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:39 pm
In response to BevW @ 99

I think what e-books have done is allow us to use our environment more wisely and allow more people access to the production of books than were possible before. No one should ever dismiss bookstores, they are really those places where lots of things happen without which a book culture can’t be sustained.
For environmental reasons and financial ones, e-books are just more realistic now. No waste of land, fuels, waters, the fouling of the air, no warehousing, no inventory and no book burning.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:40 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 101

Scags at 18 reminded me of both The Group and The Women’s Room, th eformer because of the collegiate setting, and the latter because of the time period and coming of age aspect.

supyr May 5th, 2012 at 3:40 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 98

Won’t the app make the books more interactive?

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:41 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 100

I am glad that the app idea interests you. I have been trying to get this going for over two years. Then I just happened on a fellow at a meeting and he offered to produce it for me for free and that was because his company was now just in magazine app production but wanted to go into the book business. They are working with my company now and one other to use as prototypes.

BevW May 5th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 102

Bookstores are one of my favorite places, always have been since I was a kid. In my free time I find myself there too.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 103

I think there is some element of that but The Group is of an older time period and the Women’s Room yes, the coming of age well both were of the coming of age type, yes.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:42 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 102

Novel and my favorite, social history, are wonderful as ebooks. But for art books, photography, etc, books stores are the way to go, and they provide wonderful community gathering places, as many have cafes attached, plus stage readng and events. Independent bookstores are back, which is so wonderful (I worked in an indie bookstore on and off for 12 years, from 1984 tol in closed in 1996)

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:43 pm
In response to Elliott @ 95

never, they won’t let us. hah.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:45 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 108

It is a matter of time before the technology is there for the art books and all. It will be much cheaper and obviously lighter to carry. But we need bookstores because of the people who work in them, like you, Lisa, and like libraries where librarians are so important, those who work in bookstores do it because they love books and are a great resource and seller of books.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:46 pm
In response to supyr @ 104

Interactive but in a still rudimentary way. It will direct you to a secret place on the SSP website and then you and I can have a chat.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:47 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 111

Wow! too cool!

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Once publishers figure out the value of libraries they will become a more reliable source of information about the newer books being published. Publishers are still unsure how to use them.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:49 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 112

It is possible with the iPad app to be directed to the SSP website and twitter links. But within the book itself there are links that ask questions and the questions can only be answered on those secret pages. Plus the material in all the links will be frequently updated too. so there are lots of ways to follow the changes and the new ideas about the books as I live with them and the readers do as well.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 114

wonderful!

BevW May 5th, 2012 at 3:52 pm

As we come to the end of this Book Salon,

Deborah, Thank you for stopping by the Lake and spending the afternoon with us discussing your new novel.

Lisa, Thank you very much for Hosting this great Book Salon.

Everyone, if you would like more information:

Deborah’s website and book (Scags at 18)

Lisa’s website (LaFiga)

Thanks all, Have a great weekend.

Tomorrow: Tracie McMillan / The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table; Hosted by TBogg

If you want to contact the FDL Book Salon: FiredoglakeBookSalon@gmail.com

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:52 pm
In response to Deborah Emin @ 113

Hopefully there will not be a wholesale culling of older books either–there are so many wonderful books that have gone out of print and are quite hard ot find.

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:53 pm
In response to Lisa Derrick @ 115

Thanks, it is a lot of work to set up which is why we are still working on the Scags at 18 book. but it is also a wonderful way to re-experience the book for me too.

Lisa Derrick May 5th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Thank you Deborah for being here, and Bev for having me host this, and thus turning me onto Scags, and everyone for being here and loving books!

Deborah Emin May 5th, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Thanks very much for having me. And for the great questions and ideas expressed here.

Elliott May 5th, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Thanks Deborah – best of luck with this and the next two!

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