Best Books on Writing

This is a collection of some of the (most of) books I’ve read to help me along with writing the memoir and other personal essays and stories over the years. Great stuff.

 The Eleventh Draft: ​Craft and the Writing Life 11th_draftfrom the Iowa Writers’ Workshop by Frank Conroy

The Situation and the Story: The Art of Personal Narrative by Vivian Gornick

Description:Vivian Gornick presents readers with examples of some of the best essays and memoirs of the past century, analyzing how the idea of the self has changed. Gornick explores the truth speaker in works by Edmund Gosse, Joan Didion, and Oscar Wilde, and discusses how to recognize truth in your own work.

Published in 2002 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

Description:The author of the memoirs The Liars’ Club (Viking, 1995), Cherry (Viking, 2000), and Lit (Harper, 2009) draws from decades of experience as a writer, reader, and teacher to spotlight this complex and powerful form of storytelling. “Memoir done right is an art, a made thing,” she writes in the preface. Including unique insights and examples of the author’s personal favorites in the genre, The Art of Memoir provides a humorously candid examination of the literary form Karr has influenced over the past twenty years.

Published in 2015 by Harper

I Could Tell You Stories: Sojourns in the Land of Memory by Patricia Hampl

Description:“A writer is, first and last, a reader.” Patricia Hampl’s collection of essays explores the depths of writing created from the most personal memories—in works by Anne Frank, Czeslaw Milosz, Sylvia Plath, Walt Whitman, and others—and provides insightful reflections on her own writing life as a memoirist.

Published in 1999 by Norton

Ernest Hemingway on Writing by Larry W. Phillips, editor

Description:​ “All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time​.” This book is a collection of Ernest Hemingway’s comments on writing and reflections about his own process, gathered from his stories, essays, letters, and interviews. Hemingway’s insights offer helpful advice to writers on the craft of writing, work habits, and the writing life.

Published in 1999 by Scribner

Writing the Memoir: From Truth to Art by Judith Barrington

Description:Teacher and memoirist Judith Barrington offers practical advice drawn from years of personal experience on how to overcome difficulties, and take risks when writing your own memoir. The guide covers everything from questions about truth and ethics to craft, and each chapter concludes with writing exercises.

Published in 2002 by Eight Mountain Press

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield

Description:Author Steven Pressfield offers a practical guide to identify the enemy within and create a “battle plan” to overcome the obstacles faced in creative endeavors.

Published in 2012 by Black Irish Entertainment

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Found Something

imageI was going through old writings and essays from college and I found a paragraph I just might use for my book’s intro (oddly enough, my book is going to be called “Small Parts”):

She’s pushing me hard. I want to say, “What is there to push?” I have nothing. She’s convinced someone is buried inside—some scared little girl. I’ve heard this shit before. I’m convinced whoever I once was is dying, because I’m trying to kill her. She doesn’t need to be anywhere around me. I enjoy watching her choke out and dim. I want to tell this psychotherapist, and ask her, “Then what?” What happens next? Because I can’t create someone out of nothing. I can’t start over. I can’t create what you want or he wants or she wants or I want. I don’t want anything but to float about through the day, but my body is always shaking and then I can’t breathe. They took me to the hospital and some small part of my mind wanted to go. Some small part of me. Small parts—that’s all we really are, aren’t we? And in the grand scheme of things this is all insignificant. We’re just statistics. Facts. Bodies filing into clinics for revival and pills and assessment. A small part of me wants to lay in a hospital bed for the rest of my life, watching tubes feed into and out of me; white coats, white blankets, white. Fix me, medical people. A part of your brain doesn’t comprehend the difference between physical and mental; all you know is there is no God and there is no point.

Needs a little cleaning up, but I like the endish area. 🙂

My Little Writer

My little writer.  We just got this old typewriter at a garage sale.  Stars in her eyes! She loves to write, that’s all she does.  She loves poetry and writing her own, poetry books from the library.  We’ve started our own book she titled “Ones A Pana Time”   🙂   Makes me proud!