author most recently of Push, (film version: Precious) and The Kid.
The author says it herself in the beginning, “I want to go for the big one this time.” And she does not disappoint! The reader, writer, theist, or otherwise disciple of the word is pulled by an ever increasing force through a childhood and adolescence whose table was laid with trauma and poverty to the grace and the tools that enabled Pat Schneider to emerge as a writer and one of America’s premier writing instructors.
Pat Schneider breaks us through a hardened carapace built of “old roach infested brick” smelling of “urine and roach poison”, a bony carapace enforced by a mentally ill mother, an abandoning father, shame, and humiliation, a carapace constructed of class inequality and ignorance—it is this she breaks us through past the vermin and fetid hallways we see the creep and the crawl, and the steady accumulation of writing skill—talent made manifest; we see the steady application of spirit, and the wisdom of the black gospel tune, “God ain’t got no hands but yours,” and the knowing that they are the hands that pick up the pen over and over again—her genius lies as much in her tenacity as in her talent, and in a wild incredible belief that there is a force in the universe, a “light “ if you will, that we, “cracked” though we may be, can emit if we work; and she shows us how to do that work. If there is one book on writing or writers you can read this year, I recommend this one.
–Sapphire, author most recently of Push, (film version: Precious) and The Kid.