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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Writing what you see and hear


“Whenever I write, I write what I find to be the way people are. I never use any symbolism at all, but if you write as true to life as you possibly can, people will see symbolism. They'll all see different symbolism, but they're apt to because you can see it in life.” – Carolyn Chute 
 
Born in Maine on this date in 1947, Chute is a populist political activist strongly identified with the culture of poor, rural western Maine, although her works speak to other similar areas in the U.S. such as rural Appalachia.  An award-winning writer (both a Guggenheim Fellowship and a Thornton Wilder Award) who “knows of what she speaks,” she writes by hand, lives off the grid (no electricity or running water in her home), and raises much of her own food.
  
 She started writing as a part-time newspaper correspondent, then taught creative writing while finishing her best known, novel, The Beans of Egypt, Maine.  Published in 1985, it was made into a 1994 film of the same name, directed by Jennifer Warren.  She has since published a number of other books and short stories and is a frequent speaker about class issues in America.  She also publishes "The Fringe," a monthly collection of essays, short stories, and intellectual commentary on current events.
Her advice to writers is to just write what you see and hear.         “Every time I think I know what's right and wrong, I end up being wrong. All I want to do is explore. I want to see what people would do. I say, 'What would this person do in this situation?' and I write it down.”


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