Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Maile Meloy (Past Participant)

My first year working for the Hall family, I was in charge of the Housing, which feels a lot like putting together a giant human jigsaw puzzle.

Of the many names that I plotted and replotted into this room and then that room—I distinctly remember the name Maile Meloy. I didn't know her then. This was way back in the late 90s, several years prior to her short stories being published in the New Yorker and the Paris Review and the publication of her widely acclaimed debut story collection Half In Love in 2002. Meloy has been busy ever since. She backed up her short story success by writing two interrelated novels Liars and Saints in 2003 and A Family Daughter in 2006.

I have no idea what relevance my memory of Maile's name has, but in my quiet non-acclaimed life this detail still resonates. By placing Maile Meloy in a large master suite with a view way back then, maybe the muse will look kindly upon me for my consideration and care of such a great (and at the time still undiscovered) artist. The problem is, I'm not sure I placed her in a master suite. I certainly hope I didn't put her in a bunk bed.

In Both Ways Is The Only Way I Want It, Meloy returns to the short story form and rave reviews in 2009.

LA Times Reviewer Scott Martelle writes, " The strength of Meloy's stories lies in their touch of the familiar. She moves among sibling rivalry and adultery (several times), but also writes about a young woman's murder and her father's drive to learn the details, which become knives to his heart. Another story details a grandmother's drop-in visit to her grandson -- who believed the woman had died long ago. The stories share a rootedness, a sense that these could be real. And as in real life, sometimes endings are beginnings, certitude becomes tenuous and ambition can, on the cusp of attainment, turn out to be whim."

Curtis Sittenfield, New York Times, writes, "Meloy's prose is so clear, calm and intelligent that [her character's irrational] behavior becomes eminently understandable....Meloy is such a talented and unpredictable writer that I'm officially joining her fan club..."

I'm another official member of the Maile Meloy fan club.


Visit Maile's Website for a great compilation of reviews on all of her work and while you are there check out the FAQ section where you will find interesting tidbits like this one:

2)What advice do you have for writers who have trouble focusing?

Set aside time to write, even if it’s only an hour or two a day, and think of the time as the requirement. So you just have to be there, and it doesn’t matter what you finish. I think it takes the pressure off the individual story or chapter, and you’ll end up working on the ideas that seem most promising. I start many, many stories and abandon most of them, but eventually some pay off.

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I have enjoyed putting together our little bookstore up in Squaw Valley over the past four years. We love our bookstore and it has been your support that makes it all possible, so Thank You!

I have received many requests for an online SVCW Bookstore. Some who miss us when they are away, and others who are just tired of lugging all those hardcovers around on airplanes. There are also those writers who are honest about being broke and needing to purchase books at Amazon's discounted prices. As fellow writers, we understand your pain!

For these reasons I thought it would be fun to try our hand at a SVCW Books and Authors blog. I will track down our authors and past participants and post their books, news, reviews and information and link our SVCW books to Amazon. Ten percent of every book purchased through our blog will help support the bookstore. I am looking forward to building an online archive of the outstanding collection of books represented by authors who frequent the Community of Writers.

Thanks for visiting our Community of Writers blog!

Community of Writers Onsite Bookshop Manager