Still Writing
Dani Shapiro
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Buy *Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life* by Dani Shapiroonline

Still Writing: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life
Dani Shapiro
Atlantic Monthly Press
Hardcover
256 pages
October 2013
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Bestselling author Dani Shapiro offers a wealth of insight and inspiration about the craft of writing through personal stories.

Serving as part memoir and part writing tips, Still Writing offers vignettes that reveal how writing enveloped her slowly and Shapiro became a writer. Growing up in a Jewish family, she loved her parents but knew she never wanted to be like them—afraid of life. She learned to listen and spy to learn about life and began to “escape” into her room and write. In her imagination, Shapiro realized she was “free” from her reality of “a father’s sorrow, a mother’s headaches.”

Shapiro weaves advice and writing exercises into her stories with a soothing and patient tone; unveiling an obvious understanding of the craft with all its inspiration and frustration, its challenges and rewards. Shapiro recognizes the intrinsic nature of writing: “We writers shape our own days… We have no guarantee that what we’re doing will amount to anything resembling art.” And Shapiro continually reminds us that, “to sit down and write is a gift. That if I do not seize this day, it will be lost.” Shapiro’s ability to recognize and push the reader/writer through the phases of the writing life is reassuring. Shapiro’s stories and the writing exercises that are inspired by the vignettes are not overwhelming, nor do they feel technical. Throughout the book, her words of encouragement calm and soothe a writer’s insecurities and tension and expectations:

“It never gets easier. It shouldn’t get easier. Word after word, sentence after sentence, we build or writing lives… We feel our way through darkness, pause, consider, breathe in, breathe out, begin again. And again, and again.”
The dust jacket of this hardcover is delightfully elegant and inspirational in itself with its pastel pink watercolor splash and illustration of three inkwells labels ‘Beginnings,’ ‘Middles’ and ‘Ends’ and ink-pen handwriting font. The pages offer an uneven edge along their length, giving the sense of being handcrafted—perfect for a book that appreciates the intuitive and heart-driven nature of writing.

Still Writing is a heartwarming and enriching read for writers and readers alike. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.



Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Maya Fleischmann, 2013

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