Monday, May 13, 2013

Reads for Writers: Non-Writers Beware, Writers Unite 2

From Kate's Writing Crate...

This post is longer than my standard 500 words as I want to give each book and author/editor their due as well as recommend more than two books at a time.

If you are a writer, you need to write to be happy. Don't let nay-sayers or your own resistance/procrastination get in your way.

            Last week, I recommended books for

students and others looking for support as

they started their writing lives—fantastic

books I reread for inspiration.

This week, I am recommending additional books for beginners and more experienced writers.
Writing Toward Home: Tales and Lessons to Find Your Way by Georgia Heard, dedicated "To those whose voices have been silent," offers insights into the writing life along with passages and quotes from other writers. Among her thoughts: a notebook is an ear, always tuned in, always ready to hear more... it's your job to keep up the conversation (page 27); fall in love at least three times a day with…stacked apples, kiwis, and oranges, the sunlight making a green fire hydrant look iridescent…everything in the world so [you] can come to writing with more openness (page 60); found writing…grab books at random and use words and phrases in them to create "found" poems or pieces of writing (page 110); and 54 other inspiring tales and lessons.

The Muses Among Us: Eloquent Listening and Other Pleasures of the Writer's Craft by Kim Stafford reminds writers that the…Gifts of rich lore surround us all. While others seem to observe these offerings on occasion and by chance, noticing and then letting them go, I make hearing and recording of them my mission as a writer, and a key invitation to writing students. Dreams get away if we don't tell them or write them down. Thoughts do the same. The writer's greatest chance may be devotion to the passing fragment. It is small, but it is pure, and it may hold a compact infinity. You heard it for a reason (page 26); Some twinkle in the language around me makes me raise my head, listen close, and jot (page 31); The whole secret in writing is the ability to recognize the good line, the part that sings, the sliver that is new, and old, and deeper than what surrounds it—idea, rhythm, insight—the whole work of writing is to hone this habit of selection. We find the small rich beginning that speaks, and we let it grow according to an imaginative logic of its own (page 74).

The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work, A Collection from The Washington Post Book World edited and with an introduction by Marie Arana includes essays from 55 contemporary writers. Erica Jong states that writers are born to voice what we all feel. That is the gift. And we keep it alive by giving it away. (page 67); Patricia Cornwall shares what a sage, older friend told her, "Writing is a way of having experiences without scars." (page 157); Stanley Karnow finds that writing books is the loneliest of occupations, akin to long distance running—not exactly my idea of fun. (page 159); Edmund Morris…grew to love the silence, even the mini-silences that swelled between one word and the next, and to this day, when words don't come, I listen for them rather than look for them. Sooner or later one that sounds right will whisper itself onto the page. (182-3); Richard Selzer says writing, for me, is what purring is for a cat. It represents pure pleasure, and there is no purer pleasure than chasing after the nature of a bodily thing and nailing to the page. Compelling reading from writers who live the writing life.  

Off the Page: Writers Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything in Between edited by Carole Burns includes an Introduction by Marie Arana who writes…There is nothing easy about the literary life. It's a punishing profession. Sissies need not apply. (page 15)…every writer forges a private way, sets personal rules, fashions an individual technique. A writer learns to pursue the craft as he or she will. (page 16). The book includes 42 writers giving shorter answers about 16 topics including "The Writing Life: Springs of Hope, Winters of Despair"…Most days are a struggle between writing and staving off all the other things you should be doing. Few writers make enough money to allow them to do nothing but write…There are moments of glory…They come on the battleground—at your desk, writing. A good sentence. An idea that shaped your novel. (page 146). In "Words of Wisdom: What Writers Wish Someone Had Told Them" Claire Tristram states: You just need to write. The best way to learn how to write is to read, and then do it. Very simply, successful writing is when you are listening to yourself very deeply and you have something to say. It's very solitary, quiet, meditative process and you have to be patient enough to have that happen on the page. And trust that you have something to say. (page 210).
What books do you recommend?

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