Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life cover
Dani Shapiro
Atlantic Monthly Press


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Dani Shapiro's Still Writing-The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life is a book of short memoirs and essays that speak to the heart of the writing life. For writers, writing is not an act, but a vehicle that takes us to another place. If you will pardon the clumsy comparison, I would say that you could think of each of the essays in this book as being a separate vehicle that makes up the writer's train that is Dani Shapiro.

I found the book not unlike other author's essays, like Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, another book that gets you to that writing mindset. Shapiro considers things that are the at the center of writing like escape, obsession, fear, scars, spying, our inner censor. Each of the essays is presented personally, without condescension, from the perspective inside that deep well within.

This is the kind of book I never read at one sitting, but instead nibble each essay one at a time, for inspiration. It's like the "each one teach one" philosophy. Read one, write one. Shapiro's creative life is a wrestling melee of career, craft, practice, and life, flavored by doubt and demand and is as seasoned with pragmatic suggestions as it is a lilting voice. I enjoyed her insights, but even more than that, I recognize them. I fully expect to approach this book again at different times, and think that I will continue to find new insights and echoes that speak to me.