Monday, June 21, 2004

Marge Piercy

Met Piercy at a library conference in New Orleans a few years ago. Well, met is an overstatement. I introduced myself when I was getting her signature on her book Sleeping with Cats. I'm not much on celebrities, but I wanted to share with her that my astrology tutor had named her daughter after her character and novel by the same name, Vida. I mean, if I were an author, that would be something I would want to know.

Piercy had a quiet, almost haunted demeanor. You could tell she would rather have been almost anywhere than at the center of attention of a room full of people. Not a particularly strong speaker, I do remember her sustaining my interest, but that's about it. Mostly, I had the sense that she had one foot out the door from the moment she mounted the podium. But that was ok, I would feel the same, were I in he same position. In fact this probably endeared her to me more than anything she might have said in a speech.

Anyway, I've just finished her 2003 novel The Third Child. I've read it over the course of two days, which is always a sign of total and utter engagement. There is something in Piercy that reminds me of Doris Lessing, a favorite author. Her writing is so personal, as if the entire novel were a letter between friends.

Other works of hers I've read include Vida, Woman on the Edge of Time, He She It, Small Chanes, Braided Lives, Summer People and City of Darkness, City of Light. She's written more and I look forward to ingesting the lot. I've been saving her autobiographical Sleeping with Cats. There are a few books that I know I will love but don't read because I enjoy savoring the idea of the book and the anticipation of reading it as much as I know I will enjoy actually consuming it. And, let's face it. That's what we do. We gobble. If reading were eating, I'd be obese. If reading were a controlled substance, I'd be faced with ongoing interventions. Viva la livre!