Let Grace Paley Inspire Your Activism

Let Grace Paley Inspire Your Creativity and Activism in 2017

“You have to make music of it somehow.”

By Emily Temple

2016 has had me thinking a lot about Grace Paley. She is probably the most famous writer to be significant in the history of American political activism and the most famous activist to also be significant in the American literary world. She was a master of the short story form — she never published a novel — and wrote with a tough but compassionate eye about women, society and family life. She also protested against nuclear proliferation, against the Vietnam War, and was involved in the civil and women’s rights movements, and once famously described herself as a “somewhat combative pacifist and cooperative anarchist.” Did I mention that she was funny?

There’s been a lot of back and forth about the place of artists and artmaking in the Trump era, but Paley reminds me that a political life and an artistic life and a family life can all be the same thing. Yesterday, December 11, would have been the 94th birthday of the acclaimed short story writer, poet, and activist, so to honor her life and to inspire activism (which I expect will be much needed in the coming year and beyond) in all you writers, I present here a few of her words on social activism, writing, and life. Read the full piece at LitHub.

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