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Customer Review

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing breadth of thought on the act of writing, April 11, 2005
This review is from: Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times (Paperback)
It's amazing that the more than three dozen writers contributing to "Writers on Writing" managed each to have a different view of the topic at hand. Everyone from Annie Proulx to Jamaica Kincaid to E. L. Doctorow to the late Saul Bellow approaches the act of writing differently, and each has different thoughts to offer. Some of the essays are funny, some are quietly sad, and still others address the dual difficulty and delight of turning out something new and yet universal.

The breadth of thought is amazing, but each of the essays is skillful and thought-provoking. Perhaps my favorite was by Alice Hoffman, who writes, "I wrote to find beauty and purpose, to know that love is possible and lasting and real, to see daylilies and swimming pools, loyalty and devotion, even though my eyes were closed and all that surrounded me was a dark room. I wrote because that was who I was at the core, and if I was too damaged to walk around the block, I was lucky all the same. Once I got to my desk, once I started writing, I still believed anything was possible."

In this short passage, she speaks for all the writers here, in saying that writing is a need, not a desire, and that the act is without boundaries and filled with possibility. This is a useful and enriching book for writers, and for those who are simply curious about how writers do what they do.
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