A Hot-Eyed Moderate: Essays by Jane Rule

By Jane Rule

The essays during this inspiring assortment study the craft of writing and the paintings of dwelling and loving Jane Rule stocks her insights into the artistic technique, sexual constancy, feminist politics, and the transformative energy of affection. half I & mdash; & ldquo;On Writing & rdquo; & mdash;dispenses recommendation (writing is & ldquo;a craft that should be practiced & rdquo;); deals observations (& ldquo;The artistic approach in  Read more...

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Kate Millett who could beard Norman Mailer must redeem herself by showing us that, in real life, she loses her lover to a man. Phyllis Chesler who taught thousands and thousands of women to turn away from psychiatry to health is now selling profiles of the men in her life. Those writers who have been fostered by women’s presses are suffering a different but equally deadly limitation of political correctness. Rita Mae Brown, whose Rubyfruit Jungle was too didactic but marvelously alive, gives way to a wooden second novel where characters are nothing but political stereotypes: the young radical and the middle-aged career woman.

In England, though I had not been particularly welcomed as an American, I had been encouraged as a young writer, met with others like me to discuss work, talked with published writers who offered introductions to their publishers. In the States I was, because I hadn’t published, dealt with as someone deluded, shut out of the jealously guarded, narrow professionalism of publishing. At the Stanford Writing School, where I expected to meet others like me, I found instead a focus on commercialism and negative competition.

When I present a character, I neither take a real person I know nor invent a being out of an ideal concept; rather I take half a dozen people I’ve known who similarly have faced circumstances I want to write about—the loss of a parent, rivalry among siblings, political defeat—and draw even more widely than that on physical attributes, inheritance, social circumstances to make up the character I need for the experience I have designed. If that character slips easily into the slot I have made, I am suspicious, wonder if I have been superficial or glib.

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