I’ve been a reader for as long as I can remember, and for nearly that long I’ve loved writing, too. When I was very small, my first favorite “toy” was an old Remington manual typewriter my dad brought home from his office when they upgraded to the Smith Corona Electric. I clearly recall sitting at the big desk in our attic, perched on a stack of telephone books, and pounding away at “stories” that were little more than gobbledygook on the page, but were fully developed in my head.
I still love to write, and blogging has certainly provided me with a very satisfying avenue for that avocation. One of my New Year’s intentions is to write even more, and I appear to be in good company in that resolve for many of my blogging friends have announced their hopes to do the same.
To that end, I recently purchased some new additions to my writing library. Like most wannabe writers, I have quite a collection of inspirational and instructional books about writing. As much as I believe in the power of reading, I know you can’t become a good writer simply by reading a how-to book. Writing, after all, is not like knitting a scarf or changing a spark plug. But I think you can gain a lot of insight, not to mention inspiration, into the writing process, by reading about other writers experiences, successes, and failures.
Here’s what I’m currently reading about writing:
Writing the Memoir, From Truth to Art, by Judith Barrington
Writing Life Stories, by Bill Roorbach, with Kristen Keckler
Inventing the Truth, The Art and Craft of Memoir, edited by William Zinsser
Obviously memoir is the common theme. I’m endlessly intrigued by the human story, and the way the stories of our lives influence the people we become and direct us toward the places we go. I liked the way Barrington described the form in Writing the Memoir:
…memoir is kind of a hybrid form, with elements of both fiction and essay, in which the author’s voice, musing conversationally on a true story, is all important. Rather than simply telling a story from her life, the memoirist both tells the story, and muses upon it, trying to unravel what it means in the light of her current knowledge.
On my other blog, I write about “life in general and my own in particular,” which really means I write stories about my life and how they might relate to the human experience we all share. I’d like to learn how to do that more effectively in the year ahead.
Do you do any reading about writing? If so, what are some of your favorites?