Monday, November 26, 2012

Celebrations for Grace's Birthday

Judith Arcana writes: Hello everybody -
 I'm writing to invite you to a party in Portland.

December 11, 2012 will be the 90th anniversary of Grace Paley's birth.
Grace was one of our most committed, hopeful & joyous activists;
one of the greatest short fiction writers ever to use American English;
a notable poet and essayist - and a serious ping-pong player.

As some of you know, I've been organizing Grace-birthday events since 2007, the year she died.
This'll be the last -
Years ago, when I began writing about her, she told me she did not want "to be lionized."
 In the past five years I believe I've gotten too close to the savannah - I can hear some growling. Luckily, 90 is a good number to go out on.

Come to this party celebrating Grace's life and work - bring your friends and neighbors, your colleagues and pals.
 Watch an award-winning documentary film - Grace Paley: Collected Shorts and Hear a posse of Portlanders reading Grace’s poems & stories & essays ......
Ben Parzybok ... Constance Hall ... Harold Johnson ... Khanh Pham ... Laura Moulton ... Liz Woody ... Michael Heald ... Sandy Polishuk ... Steve Williams ........ with me as MC

Other Details: free admission - courtesy of generous theater owners & filmmaker popcorn, candy & drinks for sale at the counter + free birthday cake This event is partially supported by a grant from Soapstone, Inc.
Grace Paley: Collected Shorts Director: Lilly Rivlin Country: USA Runtime: 75 minutes

Grace Paley was the child of Jewish immigrants who fled oppression in Russia. They instilled in Grace a lifelong commitment to fighting social and political injustice. She was jailed many times for protesting war and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. She often referred to herself as a “combative pacifist”. This small, feisty woman spoke with the rough-around-the-edges accent of the Bronx neighborhood where she grew up. Her work combines the personal with the political befitting a woman whose private views on world events led her to take public action. As a master of the short story, she has been compared to Chekhov and her bestselling work Enormous Changes at the Last Minute brought her international fame. This documentary traces the life of this ordinary woman with an extraordinary talent for poetry and prose through her own stories and the stories of her family, friends, colleagues and critics. The film depicts the delicate balance of the three pillars of Grace Paley’s life…activism, writing and her circle of family and friends. It explores the power of literature and Paley’s capacity to touch and comfort readers, as well as her ability to achieve the most human reaction to life’s challenges…laughter.

Grace Paley was true to her ideals to the last. No small feat when you consider the dreams she had for a better world for her grandchildren. “It would be a world without militarism and racism and greed and where women don’t have to fight for their place in the world.”

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