Most helpful positive review
28 of 29 people found the following review helpful
Breathe, take a body break, and write, write, write!
on January 14, 2008
I am a self-taught writer. Almost forty years have flown by, but I still recall the day I triumphantly placed my first newspaper article, thick with white-out, on the editor's desk. Through sheer desperation and force of will, I managed to turn my messy pages into a sparkling published masterpiece --or so it looked to me!
Writing a book is a long, arduous journey. You will need friendly helping hands along the way. This book is one of those helping hands. It will help assure that your writing sees the light of day.
Destiny dropped this book in my lap just in the nick of time, as I am about to embark on a very personal writing adventure. When I saw the title, "Writing Begins with the Breath," for me, a yogi-writer, it was love at first sight! I thought to myself, "Just what I need!" And I was right.
Before reading the book, I visited Laraine Herring's web site. She is an award winning author and a master teacher of creative writing. She teaches workshops which use writing as a tool for healing. This book is sprinkled with lively anecdotes from her experiences as both student and teacher.
As I leaf through the book to write this review, I see underlined sentences on almost every page. "Writing Begins with the Breath" compliments the other books that encourage me down the writing path: Brenda Ueland's "If You Want to Write," Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones," Deena Metzger's "Writing for Your Life," just to name a few.
Part One, entitled "Focusing the Mind," opens with a chapter called "Risk." Herring recalls how the memoirist Michael Datcher was giving a seminar where he discussed the element of personal risk. A writer must ask herself, "What are you willing to risk to tell your stories?" She goes on to say that Datcher implied that "If we played it safe, hedged our bets, we were doing a disservice to our art. He wanted us to metaphorically slice ourselves open and see what oozed out."
In Part Two, Laraine Herring takes us into the "Deep Writing Process." Here I felt her leap out of the page and shake her finger at me like some strict English teacher. "When you don't pay attention to how scenes are sculpted, how point of view works, or how best to punctuate your sentences, the result is sloppy writing. Your inattention to detail is disrespectful to your reader and your art."
Part Three, "Embracing What and Where You Are" explores that state when you've just finished your book, and the process of letting go. Here the author reminds us that "Everything that begins, ends...Working with impermanence will deepen your writing practice."
Herring ends each chapter with "Touchstones," imaginative exercises to inspire and discipline your own deep writing practice.
The final chapter, "Stillness," brings us to a resting place, the Savasana of writing practice. Seasoned yogis may find the guidance here quite basic, but it's important to remember that the art of letting go is essential to the writing process. Here Herring quotes her yoga teacher, "The world can turn without your help for just a moment."
This spirited guide to the craft of writing has given me the tools I need to turn my messy, rambling journals into a sparkling published memoir! Thank you Laraine!!
Suza Francina is a yoga teacher, animal advocate and author of five books, including The New Yoga for People Over 50. [...]