Can you help us bring Grace Paley's Life Stories back into print?
Eberhardt Press is gearing up to create a second edition of Grace Paley's Life Stories, Judith Arcana's biography of legendary author and activist Grace Paley. And we need your help to make that happen.
Grace Paley was a dedicated activist and a globally celebrated writer. She sat down in front of rolling tanks and rearing horses, got arrested on the White House lawn, and traveled across the world to negotiate prisoner exchanges for the peace movement during the U.S. war in Vietnam. And she was one of the great masters of the short story, providing a universal model for everyone writing stories in any language in any country — and a mindspark for everyone who reads those stories.
Grace teaches us what it takes and how to do it: Calling for liberation, peace and justice, crying out to save the burning earth, demanding healthcare for all, and the right of women to determine the course of their lives. Grace raged and negotiated through multiple wars, challenging power-hungry men. Her struggle through the decades is the same as our struggle, right now.
Grace Paley's Life Stories examines the roots of her political consciousness and describes how her work as an activist grew into her work as a story writer. Her busy life took her from the PTA to the peace movement, from Manhattan to Moscow, from Vermont to the Middle East.
Though Grace died in 2007, her work as an activist and writer is alive. Grace Paley's Life Stories is a tool for understanding the past, and for using the past to create the future we need. Grace's lifelong commitment to hope, and the work necessary to sustain it, inspires activists, writers — and everybody else.
This important book has been out of print for 25 years. If we make our goal, the book will be designed and printed in Portland, Oregon, by Eberhardt Press, in our shop, by our staff.
When she heard that the first edition of the book was being taken out of print, Grace said, "Oh! People love that book!"
Help us give lots more people a chance to love it.
Some thoughts about Grace and “Grace Paley’s Life Stories”:
"If you want to know how Grace Paley came to be a tireless political activist and renowned writer — and how she united these callings so completely — read Grace Paley’s Life Stories. Judith Arcana interviewed Paley and her family during the 1980s, with Paley in the thick of the complex life she made look so simple. The result of Arcana’s work is a book unlike any other I know —not a big brick of biography, nor an opaque literary study. The words in the title, Life Stories, are exactly right: This book is the story of the life from which Grace Paley made her extraordinary stories." —Carol Sklenicka, Author of Raymond Carver: A Writer’s Life and Much Love: The Life and Work of Alice Adams
"We must keep Grace Paley's Life Stories always available. Grace is still an exemplar to writers who would tell good stories, and to citizens who would save the world." —Maxine Hong Kingston
Ursula K. Le Guin, in an interview in the Dec. 8, 2017 issue of Entertainment Weekly, was asked:"Is there a book you wish you had written?" She replied: "Any of Grace Paley’s books. But [actually] I don’t wish I had written anybody else’s books; I just wish I was more like Grace Paley.”
"Grace Paley is my all-time hero. A smart and sassy woman, courageous in her politics, generous to friends and strangers, internationally acclaimed — and not a diva. —Gwyn Kirk," Activist/Scholar/Artist
“To have watched Grace Paley play pingpong, wild hair flying, in mismatched borrowed clothes (her luggage having been waylaid at the airport), was to bear witness to a joyous freedom. Let us delight and fight in her incomparable spirit.” — Evelyn C. White, Author, Alice Walker: A Life
"It’s impossible to think of Grace Paley’s fiction without her political work. She made it look as if it should and could be part of everyone’s life, and that the meetings, demonstrations and arrests were as normal as picking up her children from school. It is fitting that, at this testing time, we should be reminded to try to live a little more like Grace." —Judith Barrington
"I first met Grace at a book release party in New York. It was a swanky affair in the Theater District; Grace arrived wearing a strange assortment of clothes, her shoes caked with mud, as if she had walked out of her Vermont garden and into the restaurant. She was smiling her big smile and reaching out to touch her friends, oblivious of the “see and be seen” atmosphere. Grace Paley's Life Stories captures that spirit as it tells the story of the years she was writing her three remarkable fiction collections. This is a very important book about one of our most important writers." —Ruth Gundle, Publisher, The Eighth Mountain Press
by John Skoyles
At Sarah Lawrence, a student gripes
that each morning when she tries
to write, nothing happens.
She sits and sits, and files her nails.
Sips more coffee, types a bit,
gets up to spray her failing plants.
“Grace,” she asks in front of the class,
“Can you help?” Grace, her gray hair
in a bun, wearing a floral dress
and cracking gum, puts her hands
on her knees, leans toward the woman
and says, “Maybe you’re just not a writer.”
She looks around the room.
“Maybe she’s just not a writer,”
she repeats. “Nothing wrong with that.”
“Grace Paley Reading"
by Toi Derricotte
Finally, the audience gets
restless, & they send me
to hunt for Grace. I find her
backing out of the bathroom, bending
over, wiping up her footprints
as she goes with a little
sheet of toilet paper, explaining,
“In some places, after the lady mops,
the bosses come to check on her.
I just don’t want them to think
she didn’t do her job.”
About Judith Arcana
Judith Arcana writes poems, stories, essays and books. Her poetry collection, Announcements from the Planetarium (2017, Flowstone Press), examines memory, wisdom, and the experience of aging into new consciousness. A new edition of 4th Period English — Judith's poems in the voices of high school students arguing about immigration — is now out (2018, Eberhardt Press). Judith hosts a monthly poetry show on KBOO community radio in Oregon and online. For more information and links, visit juditharcana.com.
You can also listen to an audio clip of Judith Arcana talking about "Grace Paley's Life Stories" on KBOO.
About Eberhardt Press
Eberhardt Press is a community print shop and small publishing house founded in Portland, Oregon, in 2005. We specialize in innovative design in the traditional craft of printing. From the outset, we have been staunch advocates of women’s reproductive freedom. We’ve collaborated with Judith on several successful projects in the past, and are very excited about publishing her biography of Grace Paley. You can visit the Eberhardt Press website for more information about our other titles.
Credits: Dorothy Marder; writers at Flight of the Mind Women’s Writing Workshops in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon; staff at the National Institute for Reproductive Health; Gwyn Kirk; Ken Jones.
Thanks to Nikki for interviewing Judith in our Kickstarter video.
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Risks and challenges
Our challenge is to reach enough of the wide audience for this book to fully fund it prior to our campaign deadline. Without adequate funding, we simply can't make this book. Production work and deadlines are nothing new at our shop, but we'll have to keep the project on schedule in order to publish the book in a relatively ambitious time frame.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (26 days)