As a writer, it’s only natural that I love to read, but when I sat down today and looked at carefully selected handful of literary treasures pulled from the city library shelves, I had to laugh.
One writer's reading selections.
The Kenya book was an obvious selection as I trolled the travels shelves. In the midst of planning our first trip to the African continent, I’m gathering up knowledge like a thirsty sponge.
Louise Purwin Zobel’s Travel Writer’s Handbook has remained one of the most useful travel writing books in my collection. The 2012 edition, with Jacqueline Harmon Butler, literally jumped off the writing shelf into my arms.
Judith Barrington’s Writing Memoir was nearby and it caught my eye, along with a similar tome by Natalie Golberg. A huge fan of Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones, I happily added Old Friend from Far Away to the growing stack.
Like a kid with a bagful of goodies leaving the candy store, I wondered which one I should devour first. Choosing Writing Memoir – which had the cachet of being new and different – I plumped up the over-sized down pillows on the couch, thankful for leaky, grey skies keeping me indoors, cracked it open, and winced. In just a few pages, I knew it wasn’t for me.
With disappointment like a bitter taste in my mouth, I tentatively picked up Goldberg’s book on writing memoir – and immediately began thumbing through with increasing speed. Old Friend from Far Away: The Practice of Writing Memoir. Practice should have been the key – it’s chock-full of writing sprints, short 10-minute exercises to stimulate writing muscles and build up the stamina and expertise required for bigger projects. I’m going to make it a goal to try one each morning.
I’ll get to Zobel’s newest edition tomorrow, and the Kenya book can wait to fill my knowledge reservoir, but for now I’m going to sit back and try one of Goldberg’s exercises. P. 154 “What’s been on your mind? What have you carried and gnawed over? Go. Ten minutes.”
Think I’m going to be focusing on travel and writing! What’s on your mind and your bookshelf?