Grace Paley, gone
Via Maud Newton comes word that Grace Paley has died at the age of 84. I met Grace a few times through the War Resisters League, working the table at rummage sales. She was like the greatest possible combination of my idol and my grandmother, Her short stories were an important part of my personal literary odyssey, and her poetry was so personal to me that I read some at the memorial service for Kim Yale. You can get a collection of all her short stories. Her non-fiction prose, often about her time spent on the picket line to end war, combat racism or sexism, or her trips to Viet Nam, can be embarrassing in their enthusiasm and honesty. Once, years ago, she agreed to write a Superman story, which never came to be. I thought it would be cool for Martha Kent to talk to other moms in Washington Square Park.
For me, this passage from one of my favorite stories, says it all:
The kids! The kids! Though terrible troubles hang over them, such as the absolute end of the known world quickly by detonation or slowly through the easygoing destruction of natural resources, they are stilll, even now, optimistic, humourous, and brave. In fact, they intend enormous changes at the last minute.