Another Look at Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, a Book Review

Still Writing is both a writing textbook and a memoir. Though a text, it benefits from the lovely writing style of the author.

She says in her intro “…everything you need to know about life can be learned from a genuine and ongoing attempt to write.” The words certainly amplify the value of the writer’s work.

Writing is both her peace and her turmoil. She is driven to write but it is therapeutic. It is simple when she is in those transcendent moments but complex when she is not.

I like some humor interspersed amongst one’s serious writing. Anne Lamott does that. Dani Shapiro does not, at least in the now three memoirs I have read. However, she writes touching so many chords that she envelops the bookworm and even the occasional reader with her prose.

I recommend this book to even non-writers because Ms. Shapiro is a born storyteller. You may be a non-writer but many of us are storytellers. Don’t miss this one.

Critiques

It can be a jungle out there, particularly with the internet. I am nearly certain I have experienced people who take a well-critiqued book, don’t write a review, but simply give it a “1’ rating out of ‘5’ to diminish its overall rating.

It’s happened to me. Though, obviously the internet can get a lot worse with outright bullies of fragile adolescents and major, fraudulent schemes that dwarf those unpleasant raters.

Some writers respond to the worst of the critiques with thoughts like, anyone can criticize, but few can write well. One man a few years ago joined the writers and was quite successful.

That was George S. Kaufman, 20th-century, drama critic and comedy writer, who was wont to say, “I didn’t like the play, but then I saw it under adverse conditions–the curtain was up.”

Not as funny for the playwright.