“Everything I know about life, I learned from the daily practice of sitting down to write.”
From the best-selling author of Devotion and Slow Motion comes a witty, heartfelt, and practical look at the exhilarating and challenging process of storytelling. At once a memoir, meditation on the artistic process, and advice on craft, Still Writing is an intimate and eloquent companion to living a creative life.
Through a blend of deeply personal stories about what formed her as a writer, tales from other authors, and a searching look at her own creative process, Shapiro offers her gift to writers everywhere: an elegant guide of hard-won wisdom and advice for staying the course. “The writer’s life requires courage, patience, empathy, openness. It requires the ability to be alone with oneself. Gentle with oneself. To be disciplined, and at the same time, take risks.” Writers—and anyone with an artistic temperament—will find inspiration and comfort in these pages. Offering lessons learned over twenty years of teaching and writing, Shapiro brings her own revealing insights to weave an indispensable almanac for modern writers.
Like Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Virginia Woolf’s A Writer’s Diary, and Stephen King’s On Writing, Dani Shapiro’s Still Writing is a lodestar for aspiring scribes and an eloquent memoir of the writing life.
In this hybrid guide, meditation, and memoir, novelist and memoirist Shapiro (Devotion) shares thoughts and strategies on the act of writing and the writing life. Focusing on the creative process itself, Shapiro divides her book into three parts Beginnings, Middles, and Ends and sprinkles thoughts in from all corners. For example, "Beginnings" contains ideas on how to begin a piece, as well as how to shore up self-confidence when young and just starting out. Unfortunately, the book suffers from a dearth of specifics in relation to craft. Concrete nuggets, such as an anecdote about unconsciously overusing the word "muffled" a repetition Shapiro thinks indicates a lack of closeness to her characters are the exception, not the rule. More prevalent are inspirational statements such as: "I reach for treasures in this underwater landscape. Ones that only I can see.... Courage is all about feeling the fear and doing it anyway." Many of the clich s do contain truth "It is the job of the writer to say, look at that. To point. To shine a light" but little in the book distinguishes it from a crowded field.