2 minute read

George (Palmer Garrett Jr.) Biography

George Garrett Comments:

(1972) I feel I am only just beginning, still learning my craft, trying my hand at as many things, as many ways and means of telling as many stories as I'm able to. I hope that this will always be the case, that somehow I'll avoid the slow horror of repeating myself or the blind rigor of an obsession. I can't look back, I'm not ashamed of the work I've done, but it is done. And I am (I hope) moving ahead, growing and changing. Once I've seen something into print I do not re-read it. I have tried always to write out of experience, but that includes imaginative experience which is quite as "real" to me and for me as any other and, indeed, in no way divorces from the outward and visible which we often (and inaccurately) call reality. I only hope to continue to learn and to grow. And to share experience with my imaginary reader. I use the singular because a book is a direct encounter, a conversation between one writer and one reader. Though I couldn't care less how many, in raw numbers, read my work, I have the greatest respect for that one imaginary reader. I hope to manage to please that reader before I'm done, to give as much delight, or some sense of it, as I have received from reading good books by good writers.

(1986) Years and scars, and various and sundry books, later, I would not change much in my earlier statement, innocent as it was. Now that I am in my mid-fifties I would not use the word hope so much. Naturally I have less hope for myself; though I insist on maintaining high hopes for the best of the young writers I teach. And I have every intention, with and without hope, to continue working, trying to learn my craft always (never to master it), still seeking, sometimes finding my imaginary reader. I know more than a decade's worth of darker, sadder things than I did in 1972. So does the world. So goes the world. Well, I have learned a full deck of new jokes, also, and never ceased to taste good laughter. If some hopes have faded and been abandoned, faith, which is altogether something else, has replaced them. And the old dog learns new tricks. One: to turn to the light and live on it until it's gone. Another: to be as open as I can until my book is closed.

(1991) In 1989 I was suddenly 60 years old, older than I had planned to be or ever imagined. Not that a whole lot has changed (I was and am still a viable candidate for the American Tomb of the Unknown Writer); but I did finish my Elizabethan trilogy; and now I have a new publisher and have embarked on three related American novels, coming out of our recent history. I am not planning to live forever, but I would like to finish telling these stories and some others on my mind. Meantime I'm a grandfather and have the pleasure of seeing a generation and a half of former students writing and publishing books on their own. And I am sometimes surprised by the kindness of strangers. The world is not (all claims to the contrary) a kinder or gentler place; but, somewhat to my cynical chagrin, I keep discovering worthy and amazing creatures in it.

(1995) Is there anything to add? Years-now I'm 65 and counting. And still working as hard as I can, hoping to get the work done, hoping, from here on, the work will simply speak for itself.

* * *

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: E(mily) R. Frank (1967-) Biography - Personal to Martha Graham (1893–1991) BiographyGeorge (Palmer Garrett Jr.) Biography - George Garrett comments: