Friday, February 12, 2010

"You Can't Fake Good Writing"

One of the reasons I love my sister-in-law Les (Deux) Rodd is her excellent writing. After she retired from her librarian position in Oakland, she took up again her lifelong desire to write fiction.

Les met Carl Rodd (Linda's brother) through one of those Internet matchmaking services. They were considerably older than the usual couples, but their story was so compelling that they were invited to compete in some sort of reality love competition. Here is my memory of their story. Les posted her profile but fudged a bit on her age. After they actually met and fell in love, Carl said he didn't mind. You could lie about the details of your life, but you can't fake good writing.

Not so good writing.
Since I have been retired I have been working on family genealogy. My main text is my grandmother Leah Kreinik Jacobowitz's memoir, "As I Remember." She typed it on a mechanical typewriter. She must have revised it many times, although there are lots of type-overs and inserts and even some penciled in edits. I have gotten very close to her through this writing. I wouldn't say that she writes elegantly, but she is direct and emotional.

It also helps to be a good reader. Linda is a good reader. She pointed out the difference between descriptions of Leah's (Dudu) descriptions of how my grandfather Elias's father Wolf disciplined his children (never lifted a hand) and how her mother corrected her own children -- by getting on her knees and asking Leah to slap HER, because she must have been a bad mother for her daughter to have behaved so badly. This is heavy stuff.

What Linda noted was that left unsaid was how Leah's father Josef disciplined his children. I think there must have been some slaps.

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