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Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives Paperback – March 17, 2000
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From Library Journal
A professor of creative writing at Hunter College and a frequent guest on National Public Radio, DeSalvo (Vertigo: A Memoir, LJ 7/96) brings 20 years of writing experience to this work. She recommends writing in spare moments, uncensored, and asks her students to write five pages per week. She advises writing every detail as a reporter to move beyond a trauma. Writing links feelings of pain, grief, and loss to an event and speeds healing. DeSalvo presents seven stages of writing, from preparation/germination to completion/going public. She suggests writing a process journal so the work flows smoothly and warns against self-sabotage in the form of missed deadlines and last-minute scrambling. When the writing is completed, sharing stories in a group with other empathetic writers will sharpen the narrative. DeSalvos work is similar to Julia Camerons The Right To Write (LJ 1/99), though more academic. Camerons work is recommended for public libraries, while DeSalvos is better for higher-level writing classes.Lisa S. Wise, Broome Cty. P.L., Binghamton, NY
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Kirkus Reviews
How writing can be used to recover from trauma and as a tool for personal growth: encouragement and suggestions from a professor of literature and creative writing. DeSalvo (Hunter Coll.) is working here from her own experience: a tumultuous childhood, the loss of her mother and sister in adulthood, and severe health problems left her in turmoil that began to calm when she wrote about her experiences (Vertigo: A Memoir, 1996). Years of seeing her students find similar succor has further convinced her of the special value writing holds as a therapeutic tool. It's cheap, doesn't take much time, is self-initiated and flexible, can be private (or public), is easily portable, can be done in sickness or in health; ``writing to heal requires no innate talent, though we become more skilled as we write, especially when we pay careful attention to the process.'' DeSalvo is careful to caution throughout, howeever, that writing mustn't become a substitute for medical care. DeSalvo refers extensively to James W. Pennebaker's Opening Up; he and colleagues studied in depth the relationship between writing about difficult feelings and improving health, and then specifically what kind of writing led to healing after traumatic experiences. DeSalvo especially cites Virginia Woolf, Isabel Allende, and Alice Walker as practitioners of therapeutic writing. She argues strongly that writing ``is a very sturdy ladder out of the Pit to reach freedom and safety.'' Her guide is a reasonable starting point for those who hope shes right. -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is well structured in its content. For example Part 2 takes the writer deep into the writing process, identifying six or seven stages in the writing process that help the writer read the signals of intuition and inspiration at the start of the project, and also to read in the work itself as it nears completion. This staging process she outlines helps the writer to know how to push on into the next stages of the writing process -- on into the stages of deepening, of shaping and re-visioning and of actually completing the project -- stages which are too often skipped (e.g. when a work is rushed to completion, or abandoned before it finds its final form). This section I found particularly helpful.
The author draws on her own research, but she also cites a wide range of authors, famous and lesser known, and mixes their short snippets of wisdom with her own.
This is definitely not a self-help book: it's a resource for life. Sarah Ban Breathnach, the author of Simple Abundance, says of this book that it is "an exquisite gift of grace ...that will help you write yourself out of the wilderness of pain ... into wholeness" and I truly believe this to be so.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
and her book was simply expounding on a book I had read in 1990 Opening Up by...Read more