Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives Paperback – March 17, 2000
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Library Journal
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The second part is all about the process and she guides the reader through the steps, with caring and encouragement, just as if you were in one of her classes. The process begins with preparing, planning, and germinating, which are basically about choosing one story to tell, letting ideas come to you, taking notes. The next steps are working, deepening, shaping, ordering, and completing. This is where you dive in and give structure to your story. This stage contains at its center one piece of modest and practical advice, which is to write five complete pages per week. If you do that, and by the time you finish the book you will believe that you can, within just a couple months you'll have completed a 40 page memoir.
Unlike most authors, DeSalvo doesn't advise writers to free-associate, or write whatever comes to mind in whatever order it comes, as a way of healing. She recommends, instead, choosing a traumatic event and fully exploring it. She says "to improve health, we must write detailed accounts, linking feelings with events."
She cites numerous studies showing that people who wrote about traumatic events, and included the details of their emotions, initially had negative feelings to overcome, but then experienced many long-term positive benefits. Those benefits were both mental and physical, including improvements to the immune system. She says "when we deal with unassimilated events, when we tell our stories and describe our feelings and integrate them into our sense of self, we no longer must actively work at inhibition. This alleviates the stress of holding back our stories and repressing or hiding our emotions, and so our health improves."
A researcher into the therapeutic benefits of writing for more than twenty years, DeSalvo has filled her book with examples, including the effect of her mother's severe depression on her life, excerpts from diaries and journals of people like Virginia Woolf and Isabel Allende, and numerous essays from her writing students.Read more ›
Louise DeSalvo has been teaching English and creative writing for nearly twenty years. The first in her working-class Italian family to graduate from college, she escaped a soul-deadening home life--a depressed mother, an angry father--by reading, going to the movies, and dating, dating, dating. It wasn't until the late 1980's, when she wrote a scholarly book about the impact of childhood sexual abuse on the life and work of Virginia Woolf that she began to come to terms with her own childhood traumas and the lingering shadows of her mother's death and her sister's suicide. She dealt with her pain, anxiety, and depression in a memoir called Vertigo (now available in paperback, published by Plume), in which she explored her own story. Vertigo isn't a pleasant book, or easy--it's about hidden pain and the depression and despair into which a woman can fall when she attempts to avoid self-knowledge. But it is a necessary book, for through it, DeSalvo learns that the process of life-writing is also the process of healing. What she discovered in Vertigo, and what she subsequently put to use in her own teaching, is the subject and object of Writing As a Way of Healing.
DeSalvo's section and chapter titles, by themselves, are helpful clues to the book's significance.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fabulous. If you are looking for a book to aid you in writing to work through something, this is it. Wife bought it for me and I use it. It is a great tool. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Jamie L. Whitaker
The book was published in the 90's; I should have checked. The author is a college professor
and her book was simply expounding on a book I had read in 1990 Opening Up by... Read more
Wonderful guide to writing about difficult topics and some great ideas for memoirs.Published 3 months ago by Linda Jassim
One of the most inspiring books on personal writing I've ever read. Beginning in the 70's, I read numerous books on personal journaling, many top notch. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kathryn Shimmura
I loaned my copy to a friend and he kept it so long and spoke of its impact so often, that I bought him a new one so my original copy could come home. Read morePublished 7 months ago by CeCe
I really love his book. There was so many nuggets in here. I have been researching using writing as a tool for healing for my business and gained a ton of insight and tips and also... Read morePublished 9 months ago by S. Robertson
Thank you for writing this book! Writing is indeed a tool for healing.
Love this book! Love this author. Raw and inspiring! Read more