Old Moon

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Writing About Writing

Over a number of (20+) years I've read a good deal about writing. Some has been the standard, virtually required stuff, some has been inspired and useful for prying open the clamshell of a traditional mind, and some shakes a would-be writer up like a pebble in a tin can. I'm reasonably sure that what goes in that last category is different for every writer.

  My most recent read that fits that description is (as is common with me these days) not a new one. Of course that doesn't matter. Madeleine L'Engle's Circle of Quiet is the example.

Carolyn See in her book about the literary life suggests that all writers need to be ready to send "sweet notes" to authors whose work they admire. She's not joking about that. I sent her one, and she answered it! Well, I'm about to send a note (not sure how sweet it will be) of unbridled enthusiasm to Madeleine L'Engle.

Probably this series of journal entries requires a female reader, but I'm not sure about that because I know so few male writers. If it doesn't speak to any writer of fiction, I'd be astonished, though. It's unassuming, available in paperback, and reads as if the author were having a conversation with her reader. Self-effacing, humorous, poignant, and above all, wise, her views on writing are a must read for those who want to write anything serious--maybe even for those who want to live a serious life.
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