Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Marcella Pixley

http://marcellapixley.com/Marcella Pixley teaches eighth grade Language Arts at the Carlisle Public Schools. She has written three acclaimed young adult novels: Freak, Without Tess, and most recently, Ready To Fall.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
As a writer, I often read in order to teach myself something I want to master. I look for writers whose work contains some aspect of a strategy or structure I am trying to hone in my own fiction and then I devour everything I can find that will teach me what I want to learn from them. Most recently, I have been in love with Elizabeth Strout’s writing, and over the past months, I have poured through each of her novels, underlining passages, re-reading pages and trying to learn what she is doing to make her characters shine the way they do. I appreciate the way she shows how fragile we are as human beings. She captures the imperfection of our love for each other, and how desperately we yearn to connect with the people in our families and our communities who matter most to us. Strout is a master at creating silent tensions between her characters, demonstrating in one novel after another that what characters do not say in a scene is often as important as what they do.

I used what I learned from Strout throughout my new novel Ready to Fall, especially in the scenes between Max and his father. Both of them are in pain, both of them are grieving, but they love each other fiercely, and they worry so much about each other that they are unable to be honest about their pain. They keep their grief a secret from each other. For this reason, the scenes between them are filled with silent yearning for connection. They wish they could tell each other how they feel, but they have convinced themselves that it is more important to seem strong in each other’s presence. Strout also taught me how it is possible to simultaneously demonstrate the shortcomings between people and also the sweetness and the tenderness. We try our best. But because we are human and imperfect we often flounder. Strout has taught me that these imperfections are really what makes us beautiful.
Visit Marcella Pixley's website.

My Book, The Movie: Ready to Fall.

--Marshal Zeringue