Kathleen George: July Guest of Honor
I am delighted to welcome Kathleen George as our July Guest-of-Honor. Kathleen’s daily practice couldn’t be more different than mine! What she has common with me, and with us all our love for the English language. Welcome Kathleen!
Kathleen George is a professor of theatre and writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the author of the acclaimed novels Taken, Fallen, Afterimage, The Odds (nominated for an Edgar award for best novel by the Mystery Writers of America). She has also authored Hideout, Simple, and A Measure of Blood. All these procedural thrillers are set in Pittsburgh. Also, in 2014 the University of Pittsburgh Press released The Johnstown Girls,her novel about the Johnstown Flood, and in 2018 a novel about Lena Horne and jazz, The Blues Walked In.
Kathleen is the editor of Pittsburgh Noir, a collection of short fiction, the author of her own short story collection, The Man in The Buick, and of scholarly theatrical books and articles.
“When I was eight, I took my accumulated miseries up to the attic,” she wrote in, The Making of a Writer, “where I had discovered I could make an area, (a small stage set?) with table, chair, notebooks and pen, and suddenly my world seemed whole and good—a secret and a treasure.”
Kathleen was married to writer Hilary Masters. Needless to say, she misses him terribly. And yet, of course, he is always with her. For further details please visit, www.kathleengeorge.com
GUIDED MEDITATION (15 Minutes)
New Week, New Meditation
This week’s meditation, “Self-Compassion and Forgiveness” is from the CD “Meditations for Mindful Writers III: Gratitude, Generosity, Self-Compassion and Trust available to download at: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/madhubazazwangu4
KATHLEEN GEORGE ON MEDITATION
I am an advert for the person who probably needs meditation but doesn’t find a way to do it.
I confess of being an energizer bunny workaholic. My days are spent in a fury of doing. I understand that meditation is beneficial. I used to guide students in a beginning performance class to do certain relaxation and creative thinking exercises—and they loved it. When my husband had stress, I treated him to similar sessions—relaxing and imagining—and he too loved it.
I have never given those exercises to myself, however, and I’m not sure why. So, the question is: do I do something that is meditative but doesn’t go by the name? Is it possible that I am meditating underneath the story I am reading? Maybe, but I can’t tell for sure. I am so committed to English language that I have a constant inner monologue going at all times. I don’t ask for it and sometimes try to get rid of it and I fear perseveration BUT the lines of dialogue or monologue don’t leave me alone until I’ve discharged it by speaking or writing it. This addiction to words in English is probably the reason I am not good at languages. While I love French, and spent three sabbaticals in France, I always resisted the idea of being away for a long time because the language difference affected negatively my writing energy. I am fueled by English and the work of thinking in another language took some significant energy from me.
But I love words and maybe, just maybe, they work at calming me just as meditation does for the person who meditates.
JOURNALING (15 Minutes)
I have bought numerous notebooks and never written in them. I recognize the usefulness and the joys of keeping a journal, but I can never seem to stop long enough to do it. I tell myself I will remember my good ideas and observations, but I don’t remember them, so there is loss.
This might be crazy. It’s definitely me.
Write a person of any gender making breakfast but with a pressing inner monologue that is underlying all activity. Allow the monologue to reveal a relationship and weather and health and any number of things without ever directly referring to them.
WRITING (1-4 Hours)
Your work in progress.
ON WORDLESS ACTIVITY
I don’t garden or knit or do any of the wordless activities that many do. In fact, I am so committed to WORDS that I spend my available time doing the NYTIMES mini-crossword puzzles, the spelling bee puzzles (daily) and when I walk or use the treadmill, I watch a TV series (Sopranos) or listen to a book on audio. When I have leisure time, I read.
I have not read any books about writing. At least not for forty years. I did have a strong positive reaction to John Gardner’s THE ART OF FICTION, especially his idea about the necessary morality of the writer. That series of thoughts about what constitutes morality is still with me and it affects the way I teach playwriting.
Kathleen, thank you for your candid post!