“I seem to be reading a lot of books about craft and creation of work lately, which is always the case when I am in the middle of a writing project.”
I’m currently reading a few things. I don’t think I have the time to just focus on one book at a time, nowadays! Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera has been a huge inspiration to me, so much so that I have been working on the stage adaptation of the novel. (It is one of the hardest writing projects I have ever done!) So, I have had to read that book back to front many times. I was working on a new draft of the play recently and had to thumb through the book once again, and I found myself stopping what I was doing to reading long passages to myself. If you care about what’s happening in the world, especially with regards to migration and the politicized situation going on with the Caravan of Hope coming from Latin America into the United States and Canada, then this is a book to read. It is so beautiful and harrowing.
I’m also reading Outlining Your Novel: Map Your Way to Success by K. M. Weiland because I was stuck on the most current play I am writing and needed to go back to the drawing board. I used to be one who didn’t believe in outlines, but the more writing I’ve done, the more I realize you need a map to get you to the final destination. This book was beneficial to me as a playwright because it made me really think about my characters, their motives and desires and the frame of the story. I highly recommend this book!
I seem to be reading a lot of books about craft and creation of work lately, which is always the case when I am in the middle of a writing project. I am reading Playwrights Teach Playwriting I and II by Joan Herrington which features American master playwrights, such as Suzan Lori-Parks, Maria Irene Fornes, David Henry Wang, Tony Kushner, and Quiara Alegria Hudes, all talking about their craft and how they teach writing to playwriting students. So much great information that I can take as a writer and as a teacher of playwriting. It has been invaluable advice when I am stuck in my own work.
And what am I reading just for pleasure? James Baldwin’s Giovanni’s Room. I read it many, many years ago but was reminded of how much I love Baldwin as a writer. I think he is one of my favourite writers. I read his short story Sonny’s Blues in an anthology and was blown away by the precision, the imagery and the heart. So, I went back to one of his best novels, and one of my favourites. It is so heartbreakingly beautiful; I can’t even believe it. I aspire to write like James Baldwin, if even at a 50% level. I’ll probably spend my whole life trying, but he is an inspiration.
And, in an ideal world, I would read a poem a day. Just to keep the creative juices flowing. Doesn’t always happen, but when I do, I go to Pablo Neruda. And I’ll read a poem out loud, in Spanish, just because it sounds so much better read out loud and in the language it was initially written in. I feel ready for the world when I read Pablo Neruda.
Marilo Nuñez is a playwright/director and writer attending the University of Guelph for an MFA in Creative Writing.
Photos provided by Marilo Nuñez.