Tagged: Kim Yale

Grace Paley, gone

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.

Because you demanded it, True Believer!

The fan mentality is often a wonder to behold. It’s a constant double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have a passion for the subject matter that often knows no bounds. On the other, you often find a complete disregard for the minds behind the creation of that subject matter.

Never is this more apparent than with comic book readers, and particularly those readers who decide to review the books. With other forms of entertainment, it’s all but impossible to ignore the performers. You couldn’t discuss Buffy without mentioning the actors or Joss Whedon. It’s difficult to review a Harry Potter book without acknowledging that it’s all from the mind of JK Rowling (or a Harry Potter movie that doesn’t talk about Daniel Radcliffe & co.). So why do so many comic book reviewers have no compunction whatsoever about going on at length about the storylines and characters while completely ignoring that these fictional entities have no independent existence outside of the writers and artists who create them?