Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Book Review: "Writers and Their Notebooks" edited by Diana M. Raab

A collection of essays by writers about their notebooks and journals. Perfect for summer reading (and writing)...

The overall emotion in this collection is a love of writing, and a celebration of notebooks and journals as the place to embrace our beloved art. Most of the essays include a sentimental regard for the many years of notebooks the writers have amassed, a memory of their first journal, and the value of old journals for recalling experiences and details from the past. More often than not, these details work their way into new writing. Author Katherine Towler notes, “My years as a journal writer were essential to the work I am doing now, and to the work still to come.”

In Writers and Their Notebooks, Raab describes words on the pages of a journal as “the music and voice of one’s true emotions. Whether the writer is expressing deeply held beliefs, recording snippets of overheard dialog, making observations, listing ideas for future projects, or copying a favorite poem, the notebook should be a vital part of the creative tool kit.”

There is the rare reference to blogs as “simultaneously a diary and a piece of performance art,” and the need for the computer when “what’s waiting is not a thread but a flood. The pocket notebook is for the hint, the computer for the deluge.” Rare is the lucky writer who is so inspired by the notebook that it must pour forth as fast as one can type, “the resonant data impinging deliciously on the mind,” as poet Kim Stafford discovers.

Read full review here.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Excellent post! I think you've encapsulated the mission of this blog and our challenge.