Mary L. Tabor

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Mary L. Tabor

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Born
Baltimore, The United States
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December 2008

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Mary L. Tabor is the author of Who by Fire: A Novel (November 2012) with a book club where she interviews other authors about their books: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/8.... Join and discover authors in person. Mary is also the author of (Re)Making Love: A Memoir, available on Amazon http://amzn.to/nqg0yo. Her book The Woman Who Never Cooked won Mid-List Press’s First Series Award. (BTW, I love to cook!) That book of fiction was published when she turned 60 after a 16-year career in corporate America, a senior executive, director of public affairs writing for the oil industry’s trade association, landing her in both Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who of American Women. She was a high school English teacher who bridged the gap to the ...more

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Mary L. Tabor “Write what you know” in fiction does not mean “write your life.” It’s better explained by acknowledging that artists who write close-to-the-bone rely…more“Write what you know” in fiction does not mean “write your life.” It’s better explained by acknowledging that artists who write close-to-the-bone rely on the unconscious mind to do the work of invention.

You can tell when you’re reading work that does that. One extraordinary example is the unforgettable and brilliant work of Gabriel García Márquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude feels so real that nothing can compare with its brilliance. I am quite certain that even as Gabo invented, he wrote from his own unconscious knowing.

As I said in answer to your first question, I am inside all my characters. My novel is a fictional tale—the narrator is a man and well-versed in Physics, in Quantum Mechanics, in finance. He plays the piano. I can barely balance my check book and I don’t play an instrument, but I did years and years of research to create my narrator’s voice and to think the way Robert would. In this way fiction released me to write the story as if I were my husband who had left me and then lost me, meaning totally lost through death.

I am every character in the novel. I tell stories about myself all through this novel, stories I don’t actually know. My daughter, who is in fact a philosopher, accuses me regularly of remaking the past.

Memory by its very nature is flawed. Revisiting memory again and again is the way we search for the narrative of our lives.

William Faulkner says in Light in August, “Memory believes before knowing remembers.”

The difference between memoir and fiction is that memoir is bound to the facts. Fiction, on the other hand, when it is startlingly good often reads like memoir in this sense: We believe it as if it is happening as we read. A gorgeous example is Lydia Davis’s The End of the Story.

In the memoir (Re)Making Love, I recall events. I cannot make up those events to suit the narrative. I cannot lie in the book. But, for example, the psychiatrist in the chapter “Something Old for Something New” would surely not tell the story the way I have—with the notable exception of the phone conversation between us that he recorded, transcribed and then e-mailed to me.

The reason I chose memoir as my form for this tale is that, in this case, the truth is stranger than fiction. I don’t think anyone would believe my story if it were written as fiction. In that sense it’s a romantic comedy that really happened—but was deeply wounding to live through. (less)
Mary L. Tabor The idea of working to “hook” a reader only operates for me in the sense that I know how good writing works. On the macro level: I read great fiction …moreThe idea of working to “hook” a reader only operates for me in the sense that I know how good writing works. On the macro level: I read great fiction and memoir and poetry. On the micro level: I know, as one example, that the first sentence of a story needs to do a lot of work—or forget it. Your reader is already gone, out the door.

However, and more to your point, the real problem for me is that “hooking” a reader based on my last book, would be an act of “selling direct.” And I think the work would be “idea” driven. Ideas are not conflict as we understand the nature of conflict in fiction or memoir. Good memoir and fiction don’t operate that way.

Let me explain this way: Newspaper op-eds sell direct—the idea drives the essay. Stories that sell direct—and no, I won’t name names here—only wear the clothes of good fiction and good memoir.

A story takes on the feeling of experience for the reader when it’s told inside the character. In my memoir (Re)Making Love, I am indeed the foolish, broken-hearted woman who lived the tale to tell it. My readers know I’m telling them the story from inside me, as the character on a journey. I’m not pulling punches. I’m on the page in a way I could never be in person or in any social situation.

I hope my readers will want to read my novel Who by Fire that tells this real-life story through fiction—and a very different story it is: For one thing, the heroine is dead in sentence one. In whatever sense my novel is autobiographical—and maybe Freud would have a field day with this one—I kill myself off at the get-go. I suppose I felt as if I had died when the man I love left me.

In this fictional account I go to the place of hard emotional truth in a way that my memoir can’t do because of its hold on the facts, on what really happened. I hope readers who get to know me will want to read that book and my fourth book. It’s in the works.(less)
Average rating: 4.47 · 102 ratings · 38 reviews · 5 distinct worksSimilar authors
Who by Fire

4.74 avg rating — 35 ratings — published 2012 — 2 editions
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The Woman Who Never Cooked:...

really liked it 4.00 avg rating — 27 ratings — published 2013 — 3 editions
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(Re)Making Love: A Sex Afte...

4.47 avg rating — 32 ratings — published 2010 — 8 editions
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The Woman Who Never Cooked ...

it was amazing 5.00 avg rating — 1 rating2 editions
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Growing Up (Lifespan #2)

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More books by Mary L. Tabor…

Come on! Follow me!

 Hey, Subscribers, Friends, If you already follow me, you got a notice about this change (at least I hope you did!  So here's the techy story: Feedburner is shutting down. So, I have switched to Follow.it)If you don't follow me, here's why you may want to do just that!Image by Elien Smid from Pixabay I write a column on the arts—click that bird in the upper right corner (after the Follow me
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Mary L. Tabor wrote a new blog post

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 Hey, Subscribers, Friends, If you already follow me, you got a notice about this change (at least I hope you did!  So here's the techy story: Feedbur Read more of this blog post »
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Final Payments by Mary Gordon
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The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
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A book to be read slowly and then reread

I found this tightly organized novel both moving and compelling. I had to read it slowly as I found the writing both careful, poetic, at times blunt—and that clearly on purpose—and heavily allusional. An exampl
...more
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The Transit of Venus by Shirley Hazzard
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Mary and 1 other person liked Isabelle B.L's review of Birth Lifespan Vol. 1:
Birth Lifespan Vol. 1 by Pure Slush
"I have a short piece included in this collection and I'm thrilled!
This book features work from writers around the world. Work that is beautifully written, heartfelt and thought-provoking, touching a theme we are all familiar with. I can't wait for t" Read more of this review »
Mary rated a book it was amazing
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
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I’ve written an essay about love and the butterfly effect, where I discuss _Lolita_ and some cool flicks on the intellectual site FactsandArts.com where I write essays about the arts. Here’s a link to that essay: https://www.factsandarts.com/movie-re ...more
Mary made a comment on her review of A Spool of Blue Thread
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
" Of course. Let me know what you think. "
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A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
A Spool of Blue Thread
by Anne Tyler (Goodreads Author)
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Let's just say that Anne Tyler is back--and in a big way at some 74 years old. This novel will open your heart and break it. I have loved Tyler since the get-go, meaning her first novel. And the charm continues here. It as if she found that voice aga ...more
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Anne Tyler shared a note and highlight from
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
“After a certain age,” he told Sarah, “it seems to me you can only choose what to lose.”
I’m with Macon here. You do lose, steadily, after a certain age. You also make some gains. The gains are almost worth the losses.
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Anne Tyler shared a note and highlight from
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Those cool little fingers were so distinct, so particular, so full of character. Macon tightened his grip and felt a pleasant kind of sorrow sweeping through him. Oh, his life had regained all its old perils. He was forced to worry once again about nuclear war and the future of the planet. He often had the same secret, guilty thought that had come to him after Ethan was born: From this time on I can never be completely happy. Not that he was before, of course.
I’m remembering now when my first grandchild was born. When I flew out to San Francisco to meet him, I was so excited that I brought nothing on the plane to read and I ate nothing and drank nothing for the entire six hours: just sat upright in my seat staring straight ahead, my back not even touching the seat back. I took a taxi directly to the hospital and found him swaddled in his little blanket. He was perfect. He was amazing. Then I flew home and I telephoned a friend and wailed, “How could God DO this to me? Why will I have to worry about this child forever after?” She laughed, but ...more
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“One sure window into a person's soul is his reading list”
Mary Tabor

“I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)I am never without it (anywhere
I go you go,my dear; and whatever is done by only me is your doing,my darling)
I fear no fate (for you are my fate,my sweet)I want no world (for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”
E.E. Cummings

“There it was before her - life. Life: she thought but she did not finish her thought. She took a look at life, for she had a clear sense of it there, something real, something private, which she shared neither with her children nor with her husband. A sort of transaction went on between them, in which she was on one side, and life was on another, and she was always trying to get the better of it, as it was of her; and sometimes they parleyed (when she sat alone); there were, she remembered, great reconciliation scenes; but for the most part, oddly enough, she must admit that she felt this thing that she called life terrible, hostile, and quick to pounce on you if you gave it a chance.”
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
tags: life

“To cheat oneself out of love is the most terrible deception; it is an eternal loss for which there is no reparation, either in time or in eternity.”
Soren Kierkegaard

“Insane people are always sure that they are fine. It is only the sane people who are willing to admit that they are crazy.”
Nora Ephron

“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.”
William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet

82279 Who By Fire Online Book Group — 122 members — last activity Aug 09, 2018 12:22PM
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Comments (showing 1-5)    post a comment »
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message 5: by Mary

Mary Peg wrote: "Just watched your video! Adorable! You radiate positivity and yes, HOPE. Definitely have to read your book now! I'm thinking starring Meryl Streep ... everything we wanted Eat, Love, Pray to be ......"

I certainly hope I replied to this earlier! Such a lovely comment. I am seeing it now on my page and so touched by what you said, Peg. --Mary


message 4: by Mary

Mary I have a book club here on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/8... that I hope all my Goodreads friends will join. At this club, I interview live authors you want to know and may very well have read. I have interviewed worldwide journalist Michael Johnson, poet extraordinaire and author of The Paper Garden Molly Peacock, Cuban author of Tomorrow They Will Kiss Eduardo Santiago and on Wednesday November 7, 2012 at 4 pm ET, I will interview the poet and literary force Dana Gioia. All the links to the radio shows are on the club site. Please join: no obligation whatsoever to my novel that will be released November 15.


message 3: by Mary

Mary For the record: The quote on my page that I do agree with and love: “One sure window into a person's soul is his reading list.” was not said by me. Its author is the journalist Mary B.W. Tabor. I did not put the quote on my page and can't figure out how to give Mary B.W. Tabor credit. But she deserves it!


message 2: by Mary

Mary Dear Peg,

You have made my day. How lovely of you to have taken the time to watch the video and to comment. My world is better today for what you have written here. Your generosity and your hope for my book radiate from your post.

With gratitude,

Mary


message 1: by Peg

Peg Just watched your video! Adorable! You radiate positivity and yes, HOPE. Definitely have to read your book now! I'm thinking starring Meryl Streep ... everything we wanted Eat, Love, Pray to be ...... but alas it was not ;(


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