Monday, 5 November 2012

Giveaway & Guest Post: Lucia Grandi by Susan Speranza

Today, we have Susan Speranza, author of "Lucia Grandi" for a guest post, along with the giveaway.  For the giveaway, we have two books to give.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

LISTEN UP!

- Guest post by Susan Speranza

One question a writer is often asked is how she comes by her inspiration. Often she will state that reading other writers’ works has provided her with the motivation and encouragement she needs to proceed with her own writings. Indeed, most authors can rattle off a list of their favorite writers who inspired them along the way.

But there is another path to inspiration which many people are unaware of - that of listening.
My day job (and yes, most writers have day jobs!) is that of a high school librarian. One of the things I do every year with my students is run a scavenger hunt so that they become familiar with the library and its resources. At the beginning of every session, I tell them that if they listen to me, really listen, I will tell them everything they need to know to complete the scavenger hunt and get an A. I am always amazed that very few of them actually stop talking long enough to listen and most of them come back to me during the hunt, asking me questions that I’ve already given answers to. And I always tell them that if they had listened to me as I told them to do, they would know the answer. They often look at me, puzzled, as if they don’t really believe that something so simple as listening can make a difference.
But it can. Though a seemingly passive endeavor, listening is a very important one; I learned early on that if I didn’t talk, but really listened - especially to the right things - I could learn a great deal.

Many of the stories I wove into my novel, The Tale of Lucia Grandi, came from listening. My mother, a stay at home mom, as most women were in those days, was a great “coffee-klatcher”. She and many of the neighborhood women would get together often, mostly at our house, sit around drinking coffee and talk about everything. Even though I was young, I was invited to join these women, but they made it clear to me that if I didn’t speak, but only listened I was welcomed to remain at the table with them. I was therefore given the opportunity to step into their lives as I listened to many of their interesting stories. They spoke of their children, their husbands, their parents, their siblings, their hopes, their miseries, their beliefs, their fears. My participation in this group of adult women gave me the opportunity to peer into their worlds and experience their lives vicariously. All because I listened.

When it came time for me to write Lucia Grandi, I drew upon many of these stories I had heard during those years. It was natural then that I used the framework of a memoir in shaping this novel – an old woman is asked to tell the story of her life and she does so, only because someone wants to hear it. The concept of listening informs the story.

So the next time you want to be inspired or even just want to learn some interesting things, you should just listen. You might be surprised what you hear when others start talking!


7 comments:

  1. I think it's so fitting how listening to many stories inspired this one. Listening is a wonderful skill and it can open your ears to so many things.

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    1. I try and tell my students that but they won't be quiet enough to listen...

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  2. Thanks for a great post and giveaway! You are soo right. The older I get, the more I realized that if I just "listened" things go sooo much more smoothly :) Plus, it's amazing the things that people will share when you don't talk!

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  3. Thanks for posting. ~Stormi, Lightning Book Promotions

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  4. great tour - thanks for sharing and for the giveaway

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  5. thank you so much for the giveaway!
    you're right--listening is something i keep forgetting to do, especially as a writer. people tell me my weakness is dialogue, and that may be because i don't pay atention to my surroundings as well as i should. great advice!

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    1. You should know what I hear my students talking about in the library - they don't think I listen to them, but I do!

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