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Write Where You Are: How to Use Writing to Make Sense of Your Life : A Guide for Teens Paperback – August 1, 1999
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
From School Library Journal
Grade 9 Up-This creative writing guide is also billed as self-help for teens. It begins by laying the groundwork with essential vocabulary and basic techniques, follows with exercises intended to get young people to know and like themselves while learning the craft of writing, and finishes up with sections on the necessity of revision and on publication or sharing. Quotes from classic and young adult authors on the writing life appear in the margins. Sample "answers" to exercises written by real teens are liberally sprinkled throughout the text, and nearly every important subsection lists a book or two for further reading. A couple of the author's metaphors for getting around writing blocks or problems are vague and thus less helpful than they might be. However, with its conversational tone and well-constructed exercises sure to get even reluctant writers excited about writing, this is an excellent guide for any YA collection.
Timothy Capehart, Leominster Public Library, MA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Having worked with this book (+ some TERRIFIC recommendations the author shares)for a year, it dawns upon me that maybe what is usually refer to as "writing block" is nothing more than a key we've lost to those periods in our lives when spontaneously, we were in touch with our emotions and feelings. Caryn Goldberg is a terrific guide to these long lost spaces. The book is full with practical advice + suggestions for reflection/reading + insightful instructions how to educate and observe the world with our own "writer eyes". Beautiful.
p.s. surely the young writer will also benefit greatly from the book...at the very least he/she will not have to wait for so long to open that invisible door.
Whether you write in your journal to express your emotions, fears, and goals, or whether you branch out into poems, stories, or essays, writing can help you learn that you are okay. It can be your place of refuge and illumination, your comfort from the stresses and confusions of your life. You can learn who you are and what you want to do with your life through writing. As the author says of herself, "Most of all, writing brought me home. As I filled up journals, I felt my life had meaning. I felt I belonged and was welcome on the page. No one could ever take this away from me." This may well be the greatest value of writing.
In the book the author discusses how to find your favorite place to write. It may be a space in your closet, a spot under a weeping willow tree, a table in a deli, or a quiet corner at school. Writing is one of the most portable occupations --- all you really need is paper and something with which to write. Along with suggesting how to find your ideal journal and even your favorite pen, pencil, or marker, she suggests things you can write and lots of fun exercises to get you started. You can freewrite your way into ideas, brainstorm your freewriting into new ideas, cluster your brainstorming, and sort your clustering, each time going deeper into your thinking until you've developed and organized an idea. While she explains how to write stories, poems, and essays, she includes definitions of all those terms you learn in English class, like the difference between tone and voice. Not only are her explanations easy to understand, but she also pumps you up to dive into her exercises and start writing yourself.
You want something interesting to get your thinking started? Try imagining the story of Cinderella from the stepmother's point of view. What was Cinderella really like? Maybe everything wasn't all roses for her family, you know. Or try imagining yourself when you're 25. What will you look like? What will your job be? Move in your imagination to when you're 50! How will your thinking and attitudes be different? What will you know then that you wish you knew now?
I recommend this book highly. An inviting format, lots of writing examples from teens, and tons of quotes and "Did You Know?" notes in the margins make it interesting to read. And writing really is better than just thinking about a problem, because thinking keeps everything in your head but writing it down empties it out of you and onto the page, so you're free from it. You also won't forget anything because you can reread what you've written. When you see the patterns of your thinking, you might be surprised to see some solutions to your problems as well.
--- Reviewed by Tamara Penny