Two Maureens & the audience for strong writing

What a weekend for exposure to strong writing.

On Saturday my dear friend Maureen Bush launched her book The Veil Weavers, the third in her series Veil of Magic. Maureen’s work is of a consistently high standard and every book so far has been a deeply satisfying read. At Maureen’s launches the smallest children in the audience and the adults have something in common. Neither the wee ones nor the oldsters are in the “correct” demographic. The books are, in theory, directed to kids in grades four to six or so, I think. Yet we all listen intently as Maureen reads. We do so not out of politeness, but out of interest. Excellent writing, even if it is supposedly above their level of comprehension, engages even tiny tots. And a word-loving adult who truly goes after a great read will take it in any form — a 400 page novel, a haiku, a middle-grade level kids’ book like Maureen’s.

On Sunday I saw the play Playing with Fire: The Theo Fleury Story. Sitting next to me was a young woman whose name, as it turned out, was Maureen. We had terrific conversations during the intermission and after the show. The acting was superb, the set imaginative, the direction spot on–but what Maureen wanted to discuss the most was the script. She was really taken, as with I, with the power of the writing by Kirstie McLellan Day. Maureen is, I’d say, in her early twenties. I’m–well, substantially older. The strength of McLellan Day’s writing got to both of us.

As both Maureens illustrated to me in different ways, powerful writing cuts through a lot of lines. The hunger for exposure to good writing exists in people of all ages and inclinations. The audience for work that really hits is much wider than many a writer realizes.