Yesterday the writer Eve Pell visited our writing group and read from her new book, We Used to Own the Bronx: Memoirs of a Former Debutante. She was so pleasurable to listen to as she recounted parts of her unusual childhood (she was raised in unimaginable affluence) and her later shift to left-wing politics and a realization of the darker side of her WASP upbringing. Most interesting to me was listening to her talk about the writing process, how she struggled to find the right tone (not boastful, not self-pitying) for telling her story. She mentioned Hemingway’s search for the right words, and it seemed to me she had found them when she read aloud one passage in which she spoke of her first encounter with someone who openly challenged the white elite class from which she came, and she said that inside her, “doors were quietly opening.”

the tablecloth
shaken over the lawn
starry night


5 thoughts on “Eve Pell

  1. Susan, I got a copy of Artichoke Season last night courtesy of Jerry Ball, and it’s wonderful. On page after page you manage to take me out of myself and still my mind completely, freezing it on your image. What a fine book. Jerry has told me about you many times. He’s a big admirer too. I hope we can meet some day. I’m a Walnut Creek writer too. My second novel will be out in January and am scheduling reading events now. I wish I could write poetry, but everything I put on the page is a novel-wannabe. –Many thanks for your stuff. It is nourishing. –Anastasia (Staci)

    • Hi Staci,

      Thank you so much for your kind words about my book. Jerry is a great guy, isn’t he? I have learned a lot from him — about haiku, of couse, but also about life in general. Congratulations on the publication of your second novel! Please let me know when you will read in the Walnut Creek area. I would love to attend and get a copy of your book.


  2. Yes, Jerry is a remarkable man. He may be the most fully-present-in-the-moment person I’ve ever known, and I feel both calmed and inspired by him.

    I’ll definitely put you on my email list for readings. Thanks. I’ll be reading at both Clayton Books and the Ygnacio Public Library, tho the dates aren’t yet quite settled. It’ll be late-Jan, early Feb.

    All the best to you, from a new fan.

    PS: Due to your book, I felt so wide awake yesterday that I actually wrote a haiku myself–or I should say it came to me–during my hike up on Lime Ridge in the afternoon. You don’t have to comment on it. In fact, please don’t! — I’m not a poet–but I want you to see what a stimulating effect your art has on others.

    wintering white-crown
    sparrowing in the sage
    almost brushes my boot

  3. Oh, thank you. I just happened to hit Gary at the right moment with a seasonal poem. His generosity in interacting so closely with his readers is impressive. He’s one of the reasons the CC Times might survive.

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