I’m never going to be a regular reader of O (The Oprah Magazine), but thanks to my sister Kathy Schienle (who, by the way, offers marketing services to book and short story authors through Greer Marketing Communications), I probably will watch for the Summer Reading Issue every year. The current issue includes a letter from Harper Lee, several flash fictions (including A.M. Homes, Antonya Nelson, Stuart Dybek, John Edgar Wideman and Amy Hempel), and articles by Toni Morrison, Anne Lamott, Vince Passaro and others.
But the main reason I picked up this issue (aside from the recipe for lemon crostata with goat cheese and plums?) was the piece by Amy Bloom about Grace Paley. Is there a technical term for an alignment of the stars that produces an article by one of your teachers about another? Just a few days ago, Bloom and I had a brief chat about Grace Paley (I thought from her soft smile and the way Amy said “Grace” that she was probably a fan), so it is particularly fun to see this now. From the article: “There are about a thousand people who say: Grace Paley is not just one of my favorite writers, she is one of my favorite persons.” [I’m pretty sure that number is way, way low.] In describing Paley’s work: “Plot takes a backseat, which suits me fine—as a reader, as a writer, and as a person—since I have come to think that that’s how it is in life as well.” It’s a short, “admiring” (to use Kathy’s word) piece, and one of the nice surprises in this issue of O.