9780385315104 / 0385315104

The Writer's Journal





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About the book:

The Writer's Journal offers a fascinating look at the creative mind at work. Forty contemporary authors of varying degrees of renown display the private pages of their writer's journals, accompanied by their own discussion of the journal's role in the writing process. Some of the contributors keep separate journals for each of their writing projects, while others prefer letter writing as a form of journal keeping. Still others prefer the scrap method: "My journal those years," admits fiction writer Ron Carlson, "had been a large Z.C.M.I. shopping bag which by that August was full of half a bushel of little papers on which I had scribbled: envelopes, folded memos, torn slips, wedding announcements, rodeo programs and such." For a couple of writers, such as poet Stanley Plumly, "the very idea of the journal is a dissipation of energies better spent on the work itself"; even still, says Plumly, "the changes I make, the rewrites, the editings, they are my journal." Nearly all of the writers agree that the aggregation of material and freedom of speech afforded by keeping a journal is invaluable. Denise Levertov finds that "The value of the notebook is in the way writing such things down deepens our experience of them," while Kyoko Mori uses journal entries "as a visual artist might use pencil sketches or snapshots." Lisa Shea's journal is "where I tell the truth, and the place where I fashion lies." And Ilan Stavans's journal is "simultaneously an agenda, a loyal therapist, a creative notebook, and a confessional pulpit."

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