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Write for Your Life

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In this clarion call to pick up a pen and find yourself from "one of our most astute chroniclers of modern life" (The New York Times Book Review), #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen shows us how anyone can write, and why everyone should. What really matters in life? What truly lasts in our hearts and minds? Where can we find community, history, humanity? In In this clarion call to pick up a pen and find yourself from "one of our most astute chroniclers of modern life" (The New York Times Book Review), #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen shows us how anyone can write, and why everyone should. What really matters in life? What truly lasts in our hearts and minds? Where can we find community, history, humanity? In this lyrical new book, the answer is clear: through writing. This is a book for what Quindlen calls "civilians," those who want to use the written word to become more human, more themselves. Write for Your Life argues that there has never been a more important time to stop and record what we are thinking and feeling. Using examples from past, present, and future--from Anne Frank to Toni Morrison, from love letters written after World War II to journal reflections from nurses and doctors today--Write for Your Life vividly illuminates the ways in which writing connects us to ourselves and to those we cherish. Drawing on her personal experiences not just as a writer but as a mother and daughter, Quindlen makes the case that recording our daily lives in writing is essential. When we write we not only look, we see; we not only react but reflect. Writing gives you something to hold onto in a changing world. "To write the present," Quindlen says, "is to believe in the future."


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In this clarion call to pick up a pen and find yourself from "one of our most astute chroniclers of modern life" (The New York Times Book Review), #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen shows us how anyone can write, and why everyone should. What really matters in life? What truly lasts in our hearts and minds? Where can we find community, history, humanity? In In this clarion call to pick up a pen and find yourself from "one of our most astute chroniclers of modern life" (The New York Times Book Review), #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen shows us how anyone can write, and why everyone should. What really matters in life? What truly lasts in our hearts and minds? Where can we find community, history, humanity? In this lyrical new book, the answer is clear: through writing. This is a book for what Quindlen calls "civilians," those who want to use the written word to become more human, more themselves. Write for Your Life argues that there has never been a more important time to stop and record what we are thinking and feeling. Using examples from past, present, and future--from Anne Frank to Toni Morrison, from love letters written after World War II to journal reflections from nurses and doctors today--Write for Your Life vividly illuminates the ways in which writing connects us to ourselves and to those we cherish. Drawing on her personal experiences not just as a writer but as a mother and daughter, Quindlen makes the case that recording our daily lives in writing is essential. When we write we not only look, we see; we not only react but reflect. Writing gives you something to hold onto in a changing world. "To write the present," Quindlen says, "is to believe in the future."

30 review for Write for Your Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Kerry

    This is a book that is a little different from your usual author's instructions on writing. Don't look for Quindlen's information on how she writes, where she gets ideas or how she has made it to the top of her career as both essayist, and novel writer. This book is to encourage the reader to write and includes essays on topics from handwritten letters, the importance of personal history and leaving a trace of yourself through journals and the written word. She talks a little of her beginnings b This is a book that is a little different from your usual author's instructions on writing. Don't look for Quindlen's information on how she writes, where she gets ideas or how she has made it to the top of her career as both essayist, and novel writer. This book is to encourage the reader to write and includes essays on topics from handwritten letters, the importance of personal history and leaving a trace of yourself through journals and the written word. She talks a little of her beginnings but mostly this is a look outward rather than in. I listened to the audio which she reads herself and enjoyed hearing her thoughts even when I disagreed with them. If you need some encouragement to get you writing in whatever form or just want an easy listen that will get you thinking about writing and all the written word entails in the current times it is an easy and enjoyable listen. 3.5 rounded up.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Medeia Sharif

    I won a copy of this in a Goodreads giveaway. This fast read is a treasure. Quindlen digs deep—while providing numerous examples—of why writing is important for the heart, mind, and spirit, and also to document history. In journals, letters, novel drafts…write it down!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)

    This is a quick, easy read that might inspire you to write about your life experiences and feelings, even if you think it's for your eyes only. The book has nothing to do with the mechanics and grammar of writing. It's just ideas and stories about ordinary people just like you who wrote letters and kept journals. There is value in recording what you have lived through, even if it seems common and dull. Hint: Your children and grandchildren will not find it boring. They will be grateful to have a This is a quick, easy read that might inspire you to write about your life experiences and feelings, even if you think it's for your eyes only. The book has nothing to do with the mechanics and grammar of writing. It's just ideas and stories about ordinary people just like you who wrote letters and kept journals. There is value in recording what you have lived through, even if it seems common and dull. Hint: Your children and grandchildren will not find it boring. They will be grateful to have a chance to know you in a different and lasting way, long after you are gone.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Everyone should write. Anna Quindlen proposes this idea, and then shares all her arguments for why we should do so in this book. Sold!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Zibby Owens

    Write for Your Life reveals the innumerable ways that writing connects us to the world and each other. The author talks about why she believes everyone should document their life in words—whether they consider themselves a writer or not. It also convinces us of why the gesture of hand writing a letter can be more powerful than the words themselves. The book promotes hand writing instead of typing it in on the computer. Writing can do a lot for us. It can also be very therapeutic. She reminds us t Write for Your Life reveals the innumerable ways that writing connects us to the world and each other. The author talks about why she believes everyone should document their life in words—whether they consider themselves a writer or not. It also convinces us of why the gesture of hand writing a letter can be more powerful than the words themselves. The book promotes hand writing instead of typing it in on the computer. Writing can do a lot for us. It can also be very therapeutic. She reminds us that Anne Frank's Diary is not a book. It's her writing down her intimate thoughts on a historical event. And it's powerful. A quote in the book said, "Writing is the gift of your presence forever...Think of it this way. If you could look down right now and see words on paper from anyone on earth or anyone who has left it, who would that be? And don't you, as do I, wish that person had left such a thing behind? Doesn't that argue for doing that yourself?" To listen to my interview with the author, go to my podcast at: https://zibbyowens.com/transcript/ann...

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mounica

    Write for your Life is a short, quick book about why recording the moments of daily life is essential. Anyone and everyone should be writing more letters, stories, novels, etc. either by hand, typewriter, or computer - whatever feels right. Anna Quindlen's tone and style felt like a warm hug from an English professor, and I felt that she insightfully touched on specific examples across a diverse set of historical figures -- Langston Hughes to Toni Morrison to Anne Franke. She covers the benefits Write for your Life is a short, quick book about why recording the moments of daily life is essential. Anyone and everyone should be writing more letters, stories, novels, etc. either by hand, typewriter, or computer - whatever feels right. Anna Quindlen's tone and style felt like a warm hug from an English professor, and I felt that she insightfully touched on specific examples across a diverse set of historical figures -- Langston Hughes to Toni Morrison to Anne Franke. She covers the benefits of writing (even about the boring, mundane parts of life), and how it can make memory concrete; which is important since memory is a hard thing to hold on to. It also helps us put shape and form around difficult emotions such as disappointment, frustration, jealousy, etc. which can make them easier to manage. In this busy day and age, people don't write meaningful content nearly enough -- and I think we could solve a lot of problems and gain mental clarity and a deeper sense of connection if we wrote more and shared it with one another. Lastly, the print is set in Fournier type face which felt like an elegant type choice since it feels semi-representative of the time periods for certain historical references made in the book. ------------------------------------------------------ "We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect." "But when you've written something by hand, the only person who could have done it is you. It's unmistakable you wrote this, touched it, laid hands and eyes upon it. Something written by hand is a piece of your personality on paper."

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Kidwell

    Write for Your Life by Anna Quindlen Pub Date 12 Apr 2022 Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House Self-Help I am reviewing a copy of Write For Your Life through Random House and Netgalley: In Write For Your Life, Anna Quindlen asks these questions truly lasts in our hearts and minds? Where can we find community, history, humanity? In this new lyrical book, the answer is clearly shown, and that is, it’s through writing. This is a book for what Quindlen calls “civilians,” those wh Write for Your Life by Anna Quindlen Pub Date 12 Apr 2022 Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House Self-Help I am reviewing a copy of Write For Your Life through Random House and Netgalley: In Write For Your Life, Anna Quindlen asks these questions truly lasts in our hearts and minds? Where can we find community, history, humanity? In this new lyrical book, the answer is clearly shown, and that is, it’s through writing. This is a book for what Quindlen calls “civilians,” those who want to use the written word to become more human, more themselves.  Write For Your Life shows us that there has never been a more important time to stop and record what we are thinking and feeling. Using examples from past, present, and future—from Anne Frank to Toni Morrison, from love letters written after World War II to journal reflections from nurses and doctors today—Write for Your Life vividly illuminates the ways in which writing connects us to ourselves and to those we cherish. Drawing on her personal experiences not just as a writer but as a mother and daughter, Quindlen makes the case that recording our daily lives in writing is essential. I give Write For Your Life five out of five stars! Happy Reading!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I needed this. She said three words that sum up what you need to do to write: butt in seat. Sit yourself down and just write. Write for yourself. Write to leave something behind for your loved ones. Write about the mundane things in life and the great things. Write letters. I listened to this on a long car drive and it made me want to pull over and write on the side of the road.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn Taylor

    In Write for Your Life, Anna Quindlen has provided an insightful guide and launching point for everyone to record their thoughts and feelings. She reminds each of us that we are not required to be “writers” to have valid reflections and insights into what is happening in our day-to-day world, and that taking the time to record those observations can help us to work through our own personal feelings as well as providing a legacy for those that follow-especially in a world where the written word i In Write for Your Life, Anna Quindlen has provided an insightful guide and launching point for everyone to record their thoughts and feelings. She reminds each of us that we are not required to be “writers” to have valid reflections and insights into what is happening in our day-to-day world, and that taking the time to record those observations can help us to work through our own personal feelings as well as providing a legacy for those that follow-especially in a world where the written word is quickly losing its value.

  10. 4 out of 5

    dana

    brilliant & necessary 💌

  11. 4 out of 5

    MB KARAPCIK

    Funny that I'm writing this review of Write for Your Life by Anna Quindlen online because that is what, in part, this book covers. The author's latest book discusses writing and how it can help you in many ways. She also talks about how some of the art of writing has been lost due to text messaging, emails, etc. Namely because there remains no easily accessed "history" from letters or journals. This alternately scares me and makes me want to chronicle my life, no matter how inconsequential the e Funny that I'm writing this review of Write for Your Life by Anna Quindlen online because that is what, in part, this book covers. The author's latest book discusses writing and how it can help you in many ways. She also talks about how some of the art of writing has been lost due to text messaging, emails, etc. Namely because there remains no easily accessed "history" from letters or journals. This alternately scares me and makes me want to chronicle my life, no matter how inconsequential the events or thoughts. Anyway, while this is a thoughtful book and cites studies and writing from notable authors, I was a little disappointed. I went into this book expecting maybe more of writing and the arts and skills of it. Maybe even more about how the author approaches writing all of her diverse works and how they differ. This mostly talks about how basically writing can save your life. It did make me consider writing about more of the traumatic events that I've experienced in my life. If you're not inherently a writer, you may be encouraged to start journaling or writing letters to loved ones, but I wonder if that would alleviate your stress, depression, or whatever negative emotions you're feeling? Studies cite this, including how she mentions medical professionals who can benefit from writing, and, of course, one of the popular self-care suggestions points to journaling. But, as one reviewer wrote, it may not work for you. I can see this. Some people bake, some people play a sport, some hike, some meditate. A written record would be valuable for many reasons, but will others take the time to do it? I would, but I write for a living and use it to work out feelings or frustrations. Unfortunately, I don't have much more to say about this book, but I consider Anna Quindlen my unofficial mentor. This will not change since she's been an influence since I was in high school in the late 1980s, but I really didn't take much from this book. I do appreciate what she is trying to say, though. Thank you, Random House Publishing Group – Random House, for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! It was a pleasure!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Natalia Walczak

    If you picked up this book in need for encouragement to write, this one is for you. Anna is pretty convincing giving you examples how writing can serve as a therapy, testament of our actions or art of deeper communication. The book ends without giving any tools, steps or guidance, it leaves you, alone with a question and no answer - How to convert all this excitement about writing in to action, squeeze it in to our day-to-day routine and make it last?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Marta

    Well, nope, not gonna happen—I'm not going to start writing for my life. Anna Quindlen has written a compelling book that may inspire some people to write. I can see that a successful author, someone whose life is words, would strongly advocate for writing. Many people may find benefit in writing; she recounts many instances to support that. I love to read and can absorb words all day, and I am very glad that authors like to write, but it doesn't go the other way for me. "...writing is an unackno Well, nope, not gonna happen—I'm not going to start writing for my life. Anna Quindlen has written a compelling book that may inspire some people to write. I can see that a successful author, someone whose life is words, would strongly advocate for writing. Many people may find benefit in writing; she recounts many instances to support that. I love to read and can absorb words all day, and I am very glad that authors like to write, but it doesn't go the other way for me. "...writing is an unacknowledged panacea, a craft that can lead to healthier human beings. Just think if we talked about it more often like that: Writing can lead to reflection, reflection can lead to understanding, understanding can lead to happiness." There are no panaceas.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brittany

    This book does inspire everyone to write - whenever and wherever. The message is redundant throughout, but does allow the reader to think about the possibilities and importance of writing, no matter the situation.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gloria

    Equally prolific and profound in both fiction and nonfiction, Anna Quindlen once again pens a warm-toned set of essays with a hint of urgency about something she feels is important, i.e., your own personal writing. This easy to read, double-spaced message urges us all to yield to the inclination to write about literally anything that comes to mind. This is said in the context that we live now in a primarily digital world. No one prints out their text and emails for posterity, yet nothing is more Equally prolific and profound in both fiction and nonfiction, Anna Quindlen once again pens a warm-toned set of essays with a hint of urgency about something she feels is important, i.e., your own personal writing. This easy to read, double-spaced message urges us all to yield to the inclination to write about literally anything that comes to mind. This is said in the context that we live now in a primarily digital world. No one prints out their text and emails for posterity, yet nothing is more precious than seeing a grandparent's handwriting on a letter from past decades. Drawing upon many personal and professional examples as well as history, she reminds us of the importance of Anne Frank's diary, the personal papers of authors from other centuries that quite possibly will not exist with 21st century authors, and special moments that are easily forgotten within families. Writing life down is creating your own history. Something to ponder.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Gary Anderson

    In Write for Your Life, prolific author Anna Quindlen encourages virtually everyone to write about their lives: “It doesn’t matter what you say. It matters that you said it.” Quindlen offers examples of how writing provides personal power and a physical connection to the past, present, and future. I especially like the idea of dual charts, the practice of training medical professionals to keep not only a chart of objective, clinical information about their patients but also a narrative, more obj In Write for Your Life, prolific author Anna Quindlen encourages virtually everyone to write about their lives: “It doesn’t matter what you say. It matters that you said it.” Quindlen offers examples of how writing provides personal power and a physical connection to the past, present, and future. I especially like the idea of dual charts, the practice of training medical professionals to keep not only a chart of objective, clinical information about their patients but also a narrative, more objective write-up about their feelings and ideas related to the information in the required chart. Those of us not in the medical field can adapt this practice by reflecting on our calendars and to-do lists. Write for Your Life has numerous nuggets that can serve as motivators by posting them in places where developing writers can come across their inspirational messages.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Anna Quindlen shares her earnest and impassioned desire for people to do more writing. She tells us that we will know ourselves better and perhaps work out personal dilemmas if we write about our thoughts, feelings, relationships, every day lives! Our writing will be a gift bestowed on our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren—a record of our existence, a piece of ourselves that will persist long after we are gone, our voices preserved for those who would miss them. She laments the pus Anna Quindlen shares her earnest and impassioned desire for people to do more writing. She tells us that we will know ourselves better and perhaps work out personal dilemmas if we write about our thoughts, feelings, relationships, every day lives! Our writing will be a gift bestowed on our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren—a record of our existence, a piece of ourselves that will persist long after we are gone, our voices preserved for those who would miss them. She laments the push in schools today to write the classic essay (intro, 3 paragraphs, conclusion) about real things at the expense of encouraging creative writing. She mourns the missing memoirs that her parents never wrote and cherishes bits of paper that contain their handwriting. She assures us that there are no rules for writing—that you should write when and where and how it works for you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    I have been a fan of Ms. Quindlen’s non-fiction writing for years beginning with her New York Times and Newsweek columns. We were born months apart and, although our lives are very different, her work has spoken to me many times. She had written about challenges and joys of parenthood, career and women’s lives that often seemed to mirror my own thoughts. Now she has written this lovely book that is truly a call for all of us to write our stories while we can. It is those personal accounts of ever I have been a fan of Ms. Quindlen’s non-fiction writing for years beginning with her New York Times and Newsweek columns. We were born months apart and, although our lives are very different, her work has spoken to me many times. She had written about challenges and joys of parenthood, career and women’s lives that often seemed to mirror my own thoughts. Now she has written this lovely book that is truly a call for all of us to write our stories while we can. It is those personal accounts of everyday life that will mean so much to people who come after us. She doesn’t tell us how to write but rather entreats us, in her soft, succinct and kind style, to just write. This book is inspiring and I recommend it to anyone at any stage of life. Your experiences are worth preserving.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Candace

    I will admit that, truthfully, I am an awful journal writer. As a matter of fact, I checked this book out from the public library in hopes it would encourage me to write. I think the quote that stood out the most to me is when Anna Quindlen asks the reader, "If there was anyone who you wished had left a written letter or a journal, who would that be?" (Paraphrased) The first person who comes to mind is my stepmother, who passed away three weeks ago. I would love to have letters from her. If I wi I will admit that, truthfully, I am an awful journal writer. As a matter of fact, I checked this book out from the public library in hopes it would encourage me to write. I think the quote that stood out the most to me is when Anna Quindlen asks the reader, "If there was anyone who you wished had left a written letter or a journal, who would that be?" (Paraphrased) The first person who comes to mind is my stepmother, who passed away three weeks ago. I would love to have letters from her. If I wish this to be so, wouldn't it behoove me to be more consistent with my journal? Yes, it would, but I use the excuse "Life gets in the way of my writing," or "I don't have time to write in my journal." Quindlen also mentioned how written history is bloodless. It has dates, events, but no every-day-life records of average people's activities. I can remember in school we learned the historical dates and events; it was impersonal. Will the reading of Write for Your Life change me from an awful journal writer to, at least, an average writer? I can only hope that when life rushes up on me, I will take the time to pick up pen and my journal and write about life and my feelings.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I previewed this one before giving it to my Mom for Mother's Day. We had gifted her Storyworth for Christmas and I thought this might be a companion to encourage her in those efforts--and boy do I think it will. I loved how the author highlighted the importance of writing for us "civilians" who don't necessarily want to write to be published or have it yield our livelihoods, but rather to write to just be who we are, work through our sh*#, and mark the passages of our everyday as well as treasur I previewed this one before giving it to my Mom for Mother's Day. We had gifted her Storyworth for Christmas and I thought this might be a companion to encourage her in those efforts--and boy do I think it will. I loved how the author highlighted the importance of writing for us "civilians" who don't necessarily want to write to be published or have it yield our livelihoods, but rather to write to just be who we are, work through our sh*#, and mark the passages of our everyday as well as treasured moments. I like writing these small book reviews to help me do all of the above. I really enjoyed this and hope that I can do more to encourage others to write (and continue to do so myself.)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Ann Haefele

    Really enjoyed this book by one of my favorite authors. She doesn’t instruct on how to write, but discusses the importance of writing, and how the loss of writing today (emails instead of letters for example) will hinder our knowledge of society today in later years. Each chapter is an essay by itself. It’s a good book when you want something that you can read and put down and pick up again later. You may be inspired to pick up a pen and begin writing after reading this wise book. I know I now b Really enjoyed this book by one of my favorite authors. She doesn’t instruct on how to write, but discusses the importance of writing, and how the loss of writing today (emails instead of letters for example) will hinder our knowledge of society today in later years. Each chapter is an essay by itself. It’s a good book when you want something that you can read and put down and pick up again later. You may be inspired to pick up a pen and begin writing after reading this wise book. I know I now better appreciate my father’s autobiography that he began writing by hand in the later years of his life.I’m thankful to have his thoughts on his life, along with details I would never have known about otherwise.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marissa

    I don't have time to pick up too many of these motivational-meets-writer's-inspiration type of books anymore. But I'm so glad I picked this one up! I borrowed the audio from the library to listen to while I cleaned my classroom before break, and I swear it was the quickest I've ever gotten a space cleared up. Anna Quindlen has written so many great stories, but her narration was perfect. This book is packed with inspiration for writers of all kinds... the focus is truly on getting pieces of our I don't have time to pick up too many of these motivational-meets-writer's-inspiration type of books anymore. But I'm so glad I picked this one up! I borrowed the audio from the library to listen to while I cleaned my classroom before break, and I swear it was the quickest I've ever gotten a space cleared up. Anna Quindlen has written so many great stories, but her narration was perfect. This book is packed with inspiration for writers of all kinds... the focus is truly on getting pieces of our lives onto paper because our lives are our legacies and even if it seems mundane, it's the building blocks that could be setting up a legacy we will want to share. Even if you swear you are not a writer, this book will leave you feeling rejuvenated about life!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    Anna Quindlen has published multiple novels, a memoir, and now a book about writing. I first became aware of her through her New York Times column "Life in the 30s", which I read zealously. Quindlen and I had a lot in common: we were nearly the same age, of Philadelphia nativity, and had lost our mothers when each was just 46, though I was still a child and she was somewhat older. Quindlen spoke to our generation of women who were finding their way in a world that had opened up for us with new o Anna Quindlen has published multiple novels, a memoir, and now a book about writing. I first became aware of her through her New York Times column "Life in the 30s", which I read zealously. Quindlen and I had a lot in common: we were nearly the same age, of Philadelphia nativity, and had lost our mothers when each was just 46, though I was still a child and she was somewhat older. Quindlen spoke to our generation of women who were finding their way in a world that had opened up for us with new opportunities, but still retained the social structure ingrained in us from our 1950s and 60s childhood. We were forever in conflict, caught between the old and the new, but Quindlen captured those feelings so perfectly in her columns. When she moved on to other venues, and then became a novelist, I felt bereft of that familiar voice, that "friend" in the newspaper. Her new book about writing, Write for Your Life, is something of a return to the voice of the Anna Quindlen I savored so long ago, and it offers some very sound advice for anyone who has decided that they are either not a writer, don't believe they have anything to say, or are mired in their own unfinished writing projects. I feel so encouraged by her words and more inclined to finally finish my own book, so for that I say, "Thank you, Anna – that was just what I needed".

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    Amen! Pick up your pen and write!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tyler

    Short and sweet and very inspiring.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jt O'Neill

    I brought this copy home from the library because I have enjoyed many of Anna Quindlen's books. I'm both a recreational writer and a voracious reader and was curious to see what Quindlen might offer to my writing self. I don't really know what I was expecting but I do know that I was disappointed. There wasn't much of anything new for me here. She is a wonderful cheerleader for a writing practice but, if you already have an established writing practice then maybe it's not the book for you. She t I brought this copy home from the library because I have enjoyed many of Anna Quindlen's books. I'm both a recreational writer and a voracious reader and was curious to see what Quindlen might offer to my writing self. I don't really know what I was expecting but I do know that I was disappointed. There wasn't much of anything new for me here. She is a wonderful cheerleader for a writing practice but, if you already have an established writing practice then maybe it's not the book for you. She talks about how writing can connect us to ourselves and to others. She champions the value of journaling and letter writing, the pleasures of writing in cursive, how email and text messaging have perhaps reduced the art of writing. It just wasn't a very exciting book for me. I suspect that it could have been reduced to two words: Just write.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Alexandra

    This is a must read for anyone that enjoys reading and has ever picked up a pen. Beautiful prose and a call to action to take the time to find and share your voice - even if only with yourself or those you love. To acknowledge and admire the beauty in our everyday lives that creates a much richer history to leave behind.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Mary Taylor

    This is such a good book. Everyone should read it and then write!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pete Wung

    Please click on the link to my review. Thanks. https://polymathtobe.blogspot.com/202... Please click on the link to my review. Thanks. https://polymathtobe.blogspot.com/202...

  30. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Havey

    Writers of every media (newspapers, magazines, books), all struggle to get words on the page. Sometimes writing and publishing is quick and easy, but often writers are blocked, or they query, only to get numerous rejections. Still, you own those words, they are gifts--in a diary, a letter, a stream-of-conscious page. But the best part of being a writer, the part we all must do to insure we have something to say is: WE MUST READ. Because to create, we need experiences, thoughts, ideas, the opinion Writers of every media (newspapers, magazines, books), all struggle to get words on the page. Sometimes writing and publishing is quick and easy, but often writers are blocked, or they query, only to get numerous rejections. Still, you own those words, they are gifts--in a diary, a letter, a stream-of-conscious page. But the best part of being a writer, the part we all must do to insure we have something to say is: WE MUST READ. Because to create, we need experiences, thoughts, ideas, the opinions of other thinkers; we need to expose ourselves to a variety of ideas, let them simmer, and then write down our own. READING/WRITING Wherever I've lived, Chicago, Des Moines, California--I have within days, found the nearest library, signed up for a library card, making numerous trips to sign out books for reading joy. I also buy books, people gift me with books, but then, whenever we move, I have to go through my shelves, donating scores of titles. If I still had every book I have ever owned, they would fill an entire room, or more. In this house, there are books in every room, even the kitchen--okay, cook books! WHAT I READ... On my personal list would be: F. Scott Fitzgerald, Arthur Miller, Jane Austen, Toni Morrison, Charlotte Bronte, Louisa Mae Alcott...also, Joan Didion, Anne Tyler, Anna Quindlen--just for a start. The last three wrote both fiction and nonfiction. Quindlen’s latest publication, WRITE FOR YOUR LIFE, is so needed in a time when so much word creation is done for us. Sometimes it's difficult to create an email, because the computer wants to splice in ready-made phrases. That's not creative, Quindlen insisting that our words must come from the heart, the soul. She starts by quoting another amazing female writer, Flannery O’Connor: “I have to write to discover what I am doing.”   I LOVE THAT. But let's think about that.  I feel that way, when the world is crowding out birdsong and the sound of silence. When our society is weeping from death and illness. My immediate reaction has always been to write (from girlhood and into the future). The results: really bad poetry, entries in numerous diaries; (on a more positive note) letters to Buckingham Palace (I probably wrote six, always got an answer). Then in high school and college, I took Creative Writing. Did my teachers love what I wrote? Sometimes..., but that didn't and doesn't stop me. I am a writer and always will be. But I digress. Back to Anna Quindlen: Write For Your Life A DIARY FOR ETERNITY At the beginning of her book, Quindlen focusses on a teenage girl who needed to write to discover what she was doing, and to discover how she could live, survive. She wrote in her diary as if writing to a friend. She called the friend, Kitty--do you now know the name of that diarist? Yes, Anne Frank. But if you have never read the actual diary, I urge you to do so. WRITE FOR YOUR LIFE: THE FREEDOM WRITERS DIARY Erin Gruwell had read Anne Frank's diary, and as a newbie English teacher at Wilson High School in Long Beach, California, she began to see that Anne’s diary could be a model for the “hard case” students who now sat before her in English class. When Erin intercepted a racist drawing in that class, she told her students that the Nazis had done similar things to turn the country of Germany against all Jewish citizens--but her students had never even heard of the Holocaust. But Erin's students were so enthralled by her honest and gritty presentations, how she let her students talk and write about their lives--the deaths, robberies and frequent shootings they experience in their neighborhoods, that the school (after many petitions) allowed the group to stay with Erin for the rest of their high school years. That class became THE FREEDOM WRITERS, and as they approached graduation, they published THE FREEDOM WRITERS DIARY, which made it to the NYT bestseller list. Now you are remembering--the film of the same title. The actress who played Erin, Hillary Swank. If not, check it out.  WRITING PROMPTS  I truly believe that writing has always been a LIFE-LINE for humans. And though we all know the names of famous writers, we don't have to be them--we just have to express our feelings, our sorrows, angers and joys, like those kids in THE FREEDOM WRITERS DIARY. You GET IT OUT...anger and sorrow, joy and confusion. Quindlan has lived that, knows after the untimely death of her mother, that writing sorrow and hurt on the page can free you. She quotes another famous writer of fiction, Alice Munro: (this quote would definitely apply to me) I can't play bridge. I don't play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn't seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window.   But note, this is an author of  numerous short stories, whose work has been acclaimed since she created her first short story collection. BRAVO, Alice!! Quindlen also quotes one of my favorite theologians, Paul Tillich: Our language has wisely sensed these two sides of man's (woman's) being alone. It has created the word 'loneliness' to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the world 'solitude' to express the glory of being alone. Quindlen quotes Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you cannot do. And this, Zora Neale Hurston: There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you. And yes, Langston Hughes: In all my life, I have never been able to do anything with freedom, except in the field of my writing. Final Thought: this is a lovely, penetrating little book. Know someone who has a talent and isn't using it? Someone who is suffering and writing bottled up emotions would help? This little book is a gift. Anna Quindlan will always be, a gift.   P.S. She spoke at a Democratic Women's Group when I lived in Des Moines. Yes, Quindlan wrote fiction, but she was also a columnist for NEWSWEEK and damn good at it. I stood in line after her talk, shook her hand, hoping some of her magic would transfer to me. I think what did was my realization, that no matter what I do or don't publish, I AM A WRITER. 

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