As a novice writer I could not have been guided more thoughtfully by Michelle Gillett. She offered her wisdom as a published writer on many levels and could clearly see what my manuscript could become long before I did. Her skill at analyzing material at a specific level enabled me to understand what needed to be cut, what needed to be strengthened, and what was missing. A number of times she enabled me to write myself out of a corner by finding the exact words or the exact inspiration to help move me ahead. Equally important, she modeled for me what it meant to take a work seriously and in so doing honored all that I was attempting to say. I learned to trust her instincts, and then to trust my own and eventually it began to feel as though the work was the kind of collaboration we all wish for: two partners offering the best they can to create something together.
Nina provided for me a similar kind of holding: one of kindness and skill. With her guidance we were able to take a manuscript and transform it into something marketable. She knew everything that needed to be done, from the re-organizing of material, to helping me articulate why that material would be important to an audience, and then to framing the proposal for the manuscript such that the book had the best chance of becoming a published work. Throughout this entire process she would remind me that the work had a meaning and a value above and beyond its potential future as a published book. Because of this, I felt encouraged to continue writing and continue believing that my words had meaning - for a novice there is perhaps no greater gift.
My book would not have come into its full self without either of them. I owe them both a thousand words of praise and thanks.Maria Sirois X
Wednesday, September 18, 1pm
The Mason Library
Main Street, Great Barrington, MA
featuring six local poets and the high school poetry winners of the Edith Wharton Writing Contest
September 19, 6-7:30
Plunkett St., Lenox, MA
Michelle Gillett & Patty Crane
Friday, September 27, 5-6:30
The Good Purpose GalleryWriters Read Series
Main Street, Lee, MA