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review 2017-10-26 09:22
A Lowcountry Heart: Reflections on a Writing Life - Pat Conroy

Pat Conroy was a writer I had known of over many years by reputation. His books, 'The Lords of Discipline', 'The Great Santini', 'The Prince of Tides', and 'My Losing Season' I knew of through either their movie adaptations or via a National Public Radio (NPR) interview. This NPR interview Conroy gave when he was promoting his novel, 'My Losing Season' was one of the best I had ever heard. Conroy was so engaging, both with the radio host and the callers, that he made me - who has yet to read any of his novels - interested in the subject matter. Here was someone, I felt, who cared deeply about the subjects in his novel, and had a deep love for language and the written word. I was enthralled.

So, when I recently came across "A LOWCOUNTRY HEART: Reflections on a Writing Life" in a local independent bookstore, I had to have it. And it doesn't disappoint. This book - containing several of Pat Conroy's musings, reflections, blogs (a word he deplored), speeches, and eulogies from his widow, daughter, and best friend - gives the reader as full and rich a measure of Pat Conroy the writer and man that we are likely to get. He came across to me as a writer who loved and cherished the written word, the fans of his books, enjoyed the company of his fellow writers and their books, was very encouraging and supportive of women writers and up-and-coming writers, valued people, and embraced life to the full. 

"A LOWCOUNTRY HEART" I highly recommend for anyone who wants a fuller understanding of who Pat Conroy was and why his novels encapsulate so much of the magic, power, and beauty of geography, as well as the varied dimensions of the human condition throughout life.

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review 2017-09-11 18:14
Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life - Anne Lamott

Humourous look at being a writer and what you need to do, reminding me that the problem exists for me between keyboard and seat.

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review 2017-08-28 00:21
[REVIEW] The Writing Life by Annie Dillard
The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

Write as if you were dying. At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients. That is, after all, the case. What would you begin writing if you knew you would die soon? What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

 

I am in desperate need to get back on the writing wagon. I don't know why I've been so out of it this year, maybe it was graduating from my undergrad in May and immediately starting my graduate degree this week. Maybe it's something else that I can't think of at the moment, so I needed to get into the mind of a writer and read about her thoughts on writing.

 

Dillard intertwines her daily life and her writing life with ease, sweeping in and out of metaphors with incredible ease. Her thoughts on what writing is and how it impacts your life, how a novel takes years (not months) to be written and many other things resonated with me. However, I expected to find more writerly musings and fewer essays about her life in Washington state. It was easy for me to be distracted at certain points, even if she did paint a riveting picture of the mountains and the fury of Mother Nature.

 

Still, her wisdom on writing is solid and it's worth reading for that alone.

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text 2017-08-26 04:28
Reading progress update: I've read 68 out of 111 pages.
The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

The writer studies literature, not the world. [...] He is careful of what he reads, for that is what he will write. He is careful of what he learns, because that is what he will know.

 

This speaks to me on so many levels. I can't remember when I started to be so picky with what I read, for fear of how it would influence my writing.

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text 2017-08-26 04:21
Reading progress update: I've read 67 out of 111 pages.
The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

A writer looking for subjects inquires not after what he loves best, but after what he alone loves at all. [...] Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands? Because it is up to you.

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