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One Page at a Time: On a Writing Life Hardcover – November 15, 2010


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Texas Tech University Press; 1 edition (November 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896727165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896727168
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,505,381 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Adhering to Eudora Welty's adage that "writing is bad when ÿit isn't honest,' " creative writing teacher Carr (The Women in the Mirror) recalls her lifelong love of words, from her childhood storytelling days to years spent juggling teaching assignments, family obligations, and her fiction career. Beginning with her 1940s early childhood in a rural Wyoming oil camp--where her father worked for Standard Oil--and later in Texas, where she eventually got her B.A. and M.A. at Rice University (where a young James Dickey was teaching), the memoir is arranged as a series of page-long vignettes. The choppy format does a disservice to a fascinating life--which includes a grandmother whose own life was full of tall tales--but Carr's easy style smooths out most of the clunkiness. In addition to voicing her own strong ideas about fiction writing--particularly the notion that women should never write from inside the head of a female character (and the same for men)--she shares her personal experiences with numerous outstanding writers of the last half-century, including Toni Morrison, Raymond Carver, and Dickey. Carr has truly lived a writer's life and readers will appreciate her journey. (Nov.) (c)
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From Booklist

Carr grew up in a hardscrabble town in Wyoming next door to a Japanese internment camp and later moved to a small town in Texas, raised by a family that loved words, sometimes for stretching the truth in wild stories and sometimes to boost feelings of inadequacy. She took that love of words and a colorful background into a career writing and teaching writing. In the segregated South of the 1960s, Carr taught for a while at a black college, often mistaken for black herself, and made the acquaintance of Toni Morrison before she began her writing career. Carr is frank and funny in each single-page recollection of her family, friends, and colleagues as she recalls growing up, launching a career, marital difficulties and new chances, childrearing, and mostly the struggle to write. Her personal philosophy that writers cannot truly plumb the depths of characters who don’t match their sex, race, or ethnicity sometimes put her at odds with other writers, but she has held to it through short stories, novels, and nonfiction. A wonderful look at the writer’s life and word-loving in general. --Vanessa Bush

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Customer Reviews

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Worth owning, worth giving.
John T. Dukes
Packed full of fascinating events and intriguing insights, each page seamlessly streams on to the next.
RHB
Frequently, I found a line confusing.
Linda Pritchett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennie L. Brown on January 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Book store shelves abound with bare-all memoirs that tell us more than we want to know. That doesn't happen in Pat Carr's account of her professional and personal life. Rather, each page contained a subtle revelation. Those relevant details, when assembled, comprise a stark, honest, and candid profile of Carr the writer, and Carr the woman.

Carr's writing doesn't slam the reader with pronouncements and opinion. That she holds strong views on what constitutes good writing-or moral behavior-is always clear, but she never rants or overwhelms the reader with her view of the world. Rather, she recounts her struggles and triumphs with little fanfare. Her grace and wisdom, however, blow through the book like the Wyoming wind that swept the prairies of her early childhood. Don't miss this book; it is unique.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Josie Marks on January 10, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Often, memoirs are rather "staid" reading; one ploughs along because the facts are interesting. This book, however, is so fascinating that it led me along as if it were a novel. Even though each page is a complete story in itself, I found myself eager to turn to the next page and find out what was going to happen next.
Additionally, as an apiring writer myself, I found myself green with envy over Carr's careful choice of a very few words to include the reader into each important episode of her life. As another reviewer said, "This is a brilliant work." Please don't miss it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John T. Dukes on May 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
With each scene one page long, Pat Carr tells the story of her remarkable life with warmth, great humor, drama, and style. This book stands out in the crowded memoir genre by its delicacy, finely-honed prose, and great symapthy for others. It is also tart--those who deserve it, get it. Worth owning, worth giving. This is indeed a first-rate writer's life in all ways.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Natalie Reid (author, "Getting Published in International Journals") on January 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Pat Carr can say more, evoke more, and make her readers feel more deeply with fewer words than any other prose writer I have ever read. In this remarkable book she raises the bar for memoir writing by deftly and richly delivering each incident, anecdote, or story within the confines of a single page (hence the title). In so doing, she brilliantly excises all the irrelevant verbiage that tends to plague the modern memoir.

This book should be required reading in creative writing programs across the country. In addition, I highly recommend it to all readers interested in the development of a thinking, feeling human being with much wisdom to offer. Three strands (of many) stand out for me: how a child raised in the oil fields of Wyoming came to be a beloved English professor and prize-winning author of over 100 short stories and nearly 20 books; how a woman with three children dealt with both the emotions and daily reality of an alcoholic husband during a time when divorcees could barely support themselves, let alone find jobs; and how a woman writer learns and unlearns the male voice she has been taught, so that she not only writes wonderfully in a voice that she teaches herself but also confidently and successfully continues to challenge the writing conventions of her time--while teaching others to do the same.

Brava, Pat! Live long and keep writing.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on January 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
To write is to share life's experiences and, in many ways, to twist how they happened to you. "One Page at a Time: On a Writing Life" is a memoir from Pat Carr as she reflects on her unusual path to adulthood and how she kept her pen moving the entire way. Facing some of the worst events of the twentieth century, she speaks in a profound manner and hopes to inspire others to share their life and their goals. "One Page at a Time" is an excellent memoir with plenty to soak in and contemplate.
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Format: Hardcover
I met Pat Carr at the Ozark Creative Writers conference in October and found her insights inspiring. I bought her memoir hoping her wisdom would flow into me, making me a better writer. What I discovered was a beautifully written and frank appraisal of the writing life.

Pat is a wonderful writer and she proves it with this book. Her command of language is beautiful and I did find inspiration, not from one thing in particular, but rather from her life as a whole. Within the pages of this book, she reveals how exhausting living with an alcoholic can be, shows the stigma of racism from an unusual point of view, divulges the thought processes of someone considering an extramarital affair and exposes the struggle that comes with choosing writing as your profession.

While she and I disagree on a few finer points of writing, her successes and failures have made her a force to be reckoned with in the writing community. One Page at a Time: On a Writing Life is an interesting and revealing book. If you want to learn about the craft of writing, this probably isn’t the book for you. However, should you desire to know your struggles aren’t in vain, that you aren’t alone in your journey, you’ll love reading about Pat’s colorful life.
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