I read books about writing, its techniques, the process, writer's journals, books with prompts or exercises et cetera all the time. Here are nine I read recently or am still reading. Not too bad actually.
- Barbara Abercrombie, A year of writing dangerously I admit I am just the type who likes books with daily exercises in it, be it for writing, be it meditation, insight, whatever, I like sitting in bed in the mornings with my cup of coffee and reading my prompt for the day and taking out my notebook and get started. Barbara Abercrombie showed me again how important it is to write from your heart and soul and not considering some market or opinion of others
- Brenda Ueland, If you want to write to me is a book about integrity and writing. I found it at a time when I was rather unhappy because I felt I didnt have it in me to write successfully. Reading it gave me back the courage to just write and not think about money or success. At some points I found it old-fashioned - which is not bad at all. After all, she wrote it many moons ago.
- Dillard, Annie, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Is a book that makes me want to spend a year in my garden and write about everything there, every cherry, every bird, every bit of digging and planting I do in detail. Is it a book about writing? Is it a book about nature? Or is it a book about everything that matters? For me it is all of this. Highly recommendable. The read is a meditation in itself.
- Judy Reeves, A Writer's Book of Days Some of the exercises are rather dull to me, just like some of the ideas she communicates in the book were all not new. I was wondering if she stole from Natalie Goldberg. A lot sounded familiar. Anyway, I am the exercise writing type of person as I mentioned, so I use this book nonetheless - I've been using it for the past 3 years, since my superhero husband gave it to me for christmas.
- Bonnie Goldberg Room to write At first I didnt like it so much. But after a while it actually grew on me and now I try to do an exercise from it as often as possible. 200 little invitations to write, to get you started, to get you to dig into your material just a little bit deeper, to get your faucets all running. I am the type of writing person: I can unravel a poem from my inner world just because of such an exercise. I am very easy to get started. If I know there is a prize to win with a short story about a beauty queen stopping at a gas station (which actually was the case a few weeks ago) I do this story and send it in. I ususally don't win but the exercise in itself is of course already a kind of win. For me it is good to have somebody tell me what to write and when to deliver it. I never missed a deadline once.I never did not write a text required. Writer's block was never my problem.
- Phyllis Theroux, The Journal Keeper is a beautiful book about journaling, writing, aging, life in Virginia. Since I am a journal keeper who lived in and loves Virginia madly I love this book for many personal reasons, not the last of it being that I feel lately I am aging too. It is deeply spiritual and besides showing the everyday life of a writer and teacher, it asks and tries to answer a lot of questions about life and its meaning. Last but not least it contains a beautiful love story.
- Smallwood et al, Women on Poetry: Writing, Revising, Publishing and Teaching is an interesting compilation of essays concerning all kinds of aspects considering writing poetry - to be frank I had expected a more professional or maybe academic approach and this is more about very personal accounts by not sooo famous female poets. But I still like the book and it is a treasure box of addresses, ideas, inspiration and suggestions. Some of the essays really speak to me while others leave me completely bored. I think it will be one of those book I will read in again and again, whenever I feel like it and an essay which doesn't mean anything now might talk to me next year. It is not a book I would read beginning to end in one setting.
- Sarton, May, Journal of a Solitude is another, the title says it: journal, containing descriptions of Sartons everyday life in her house in Maine, her attempts on diving deep enough to write, struggling with depression, anger, negativity, nature descriptions and those of other people. I am very interested in the journals of writers lately, especially those who chose solitude as a nourishing element for their writing. I feel, I am much related to this mindstate and reading their words nourishes me. I also feel it is good to read honest accounts of other human beings as often as possible. I am so tired of every form of pretension.
- Carolyn G. Heilbrun Writing a Womans life about women finding their own quest, their wn voices in life and writing. Still very much worth reading, especially in connection with May Sartons above mentioned journal, in which she wrote: "I hope to break through into the rough, rocky depths,to the matrix itself. There is violence there and anger never resolved. My need to be alone is balanced against my fear of what will happen when suddenly I enter the huge empty silence if I cannot find support there."
© Susanne Becker