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Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life Hardcover – October 1, 2013


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Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life + Devotion: A Memoir + Slow Motion: A Memoir of a Life Rescued by Tragedy
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (October 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802121403
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802121400
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.3 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #275,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Novelist and memoirist Shapiro (Devotion, 2010) explores the qualities of a creative life while reflecting on the indelible relationship between her own experiences and her writing practice. An accomplished author, Shapiro provides insight into both craft and career, separating the text into three parts: “Beginnings,” “Middles,” and “Ends.” Each looks at certain literary efforts alongside everyday challenges faced at the different stages of the creative process, from such general pitfalls as procrastination to more unwieldy, internal struggles, such as uncertainty, restlessness, and self-doubt. Shapiro blends her personal thoughts with anecdotes from fellow writers, providing varying perspectives and strategies in navigating the demands of writing. Throughout the text, Shapiro weaves in reflections on the more difficult circumstances of her life, including an isolated childhood, her father’s death, and the complicated relationship with her mother. In these moments, the narrative explores how such events shaped and informed Shapiro’s writing then and now. Honest and conversational, Shapiro provides an introspective look into the creative process and the value of persistence, offering inspiration for writers at any level. --Leah Strauss

Review

"A practical, wise, and inviting guide to [Shapiro's] 20-year journey as an author and teacher."—Elle

"Still Writing offers up a cornucopia of wisdom, insights, and practical lessons gleaned from Dani Shapiro's long experience as a celebrated writer and teacher of writing. The beneficiaries are beginning writers, veteran writers and everyone in between."—Jennifer Egan

“Writers need hope. Writers need help. Thank you, Dani Shapiro." —Michael Cunningham

"Dani Shapiro has written a wise, pragmatic, and soulful field guide to the writing life. Still Writing is filled with honest words to not only live by but write toward. Shapiro has created a well-drawn map for the lost, the weary, and the found. I loved it." —Terry Tempest Williams

"One of those rare books that is both beautiful and useful. Still Writing is an exploration of the writing life, lit up by Shapiro's luminous voice."—Susan Orlean

"A thoughtful examination of [Shapiro's] life and the creative process that has defined it....Cleareyed, honest and grounded."—Kirkus Reviews


More About the Author

Dani Shapiro's most recent books include the novels Black & White and Family History and the bestselling memoir Slow Motion. Her short stories and essays have appeared in the New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, Elle, Vogue, Ploughshares, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. She lives with her husband and son in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Customer Reviews

I've read many books on writing, and this is one I will definitely keep near my desk.
Appleworks
Dani Shapiro's luminous and lovely book about the writing life is like sitting down and having a great conversation with someone who walks the walk each day.
Becca Rowan
I'm here to tell her and you that she need not worry -- this book is just as good -- better, in fact, as you'd expect -- than her previous ones.
bgone

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
To be honest, I had never heard of Dani Shapiro before this book. I only found it through a post on Facebook that mentioned it. I will definitely be looking at the rest of her titles.

For me, this book serves as a reminder that despite the push toward science and mathematics in our schools today, creative endeavors in writing, art, etc. are still worthy. Not to say that those who love science or math aren't creative - they are. I remember speaking with a computer programmer once and he told me that he found what he did very creative. Often to those of us outside of a discipline, we don't see the draw of it.

What I enjoyed about the book was the prevailing lesson that you don't need to wait for The Big Idea before you sit down to write, to sculpt, or whatever your endeavor is. You just need to begin and the story, sculpture, picture will emerge. Shapiro also echoes what I've heard time and time again about your chosen work: discipline. Show up. Be present.

Some favorite moments:

* Don't think too much. There'll be time to think later. Analysis won't help. You're chiseling now. You're passing your hands over the wood. Now the page is no longer blank. There's something there. It isn't your business yet to know whether it's going to be prize-worthy someday, or whether it will gather dust in a drawer. Now you've carved the tree. You've chiseled the marbled. You've begun.
*When two people who shouldn't be married to each other bring a child into the world, that child - I'm distancing myself here, making myself into a character - that child cannot help but feel as if she's navigating the world on a borrowed visa. Her papers aren't in order. Her right to be here is in question.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By FunIsReading on October 23, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Still Writing is a collection of short essays (1-3 tiny pages) about Shapiro's life and writing. The book is divided into three sections: beginnings, middles, and ends. When I started the book, I was a bit iffy about it. I couldn't get comfortable with the format, and I felt like the essays didn't join together. But just like my friend's dog who needs to yank his blanket around before getting comfortable and going to bed, by the end of the beginnings section, I had fallen in love with this little book. Everything suddenly clicked. I had been reading lots of action SF&F books, and this book is the complete opposite of that. This little piece of creative nonfiction is quiet and thoughtful and needs to be read in small doses. With the constant little breaks with each little essay, you are subconsciously encouraged to put the book down and live your life a little more creatively.

I loved this book so much. It reminded me of one creative nonfiction class that I took and another one that I didn't take and regret to this day for passing up. I want to buy copies of this book and send it to my friends and to my creative nonfiction professor. I want to read this book again and underline it and write notes in the margin.

I am not a writer with a capital W, nor do I want to be. I like reading and the idea of being a writer sounds lovely, but I don't think I can do the time (I am not what you would call a self-starter, outside motivation is something that I really need). However, this book spoke to me. This is a book that speaks to anyone who lives a creative life or has lost his or her way.

This book is perfect in so many ways. Each sentence is thoughtful and each essay is "tight." At the end of each essay, I never felt like more need to be said.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Jeannie Lindlheim on October 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Danii Shapiro;s book will be a classic- like Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones and Anne Lamont Bird by Bird. Her vulnerability, sensitivity, warmth and amazing stories warmed my heart and I learned SO much about writing!!
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. petrie on October 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Writng is a murky business. Dani Shapiro is that clear, calm voice that soothes a writer's self doubts.

She let's you know that
we've all been there before and most important priority is not to lose focus.

Trust the process. Embrace the struggle. Stay calm and ride it out. Even when its uncomfortable.

It will reward you in more ways than you'd expect. It's the writing that matters.

No single writer has the right and only way.
Each writer has to find what works their best and honor it. Showing up regularly. Commit.

Ms. Shapiro shows that it can give an enriching life if you seriously open up to all. Teaching you about yourself, your life and even the past.

It has garnered a place on my 'most favorite' shelf..
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Rural Writer on March 28, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Is it hyperbole to say this book changed my life? I don't think so. I have been a professional journalist for 30 years, but I never understood what it meant to be a Writer until I read Dani Shapiro's book. She has taught me by example how to approach the blank page with fearlessness and fortitude. She has given me "permission," to use her term, to write from my heart by encouraging me to dig into my soul. Whenever I feel doubts about my own writing, I pick up her book and read a few pages and then I'm back on track. But caveat emptor: Shapiro's definition of "writing" is demanding; it requires that you give all of yourself to the task. If you are ready to make that type of commitment, you will find "Still Writing" a source of strength and inspiration.
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