instagram pinterest linkedin facebook twitter goodreads

Jottings

A Love Letter to Libraries

A few decades ago, when I was wondering how to support my writing habit, I thought about becoming a librarian. It seemed a perfect solution, certainly better than being a waitress.

If I was a librarian, when I wasn't writing I would be in a quiet place with books, helping readers and researchers find the right ones. Being a librarian would leave me at the end of a day relishing the importance of books and the reasons to write them.

Although I never mailed my application to librarian school, I continued to love libraries. It began early when, oddly enough, both libraries I went to in elementary and high school were once churches, maybe making me believe there was something reverent about reading.

As I look for books in Manhattan these days, I gravitate between the main branch of the New York Public Library, a grand temple of a library on Fifth Avenue, and the New York Society Library, a little uptown private library, which offers open stacks to roam around in, leading another user, Phyllis Rose, to write about reading an entire fiction shelf in The Shelf: From LEQ to LES.

So as a writer who has researched all her books in libraries large and small, my recommendation to writers and readers is to get to libraries to revive your love of written words.  Read More 
Post a comment

The Pleasure of Other Writers' Company

Writers work alone but, like others, they occasionally want colleagues with whom to talk about the writing life. Luckily, we writers often end up writing about what we do, so if another writer isn't around with whom with whom have a cup of coffee, we can read each others' books about writing.

After finishing Lynn Freed's honest and insightful Reading, Writing, and Leaving Home, I know what she means when she describes a distinct writerly voice developing "through a sort of slow, blind groping after something simmering along the nerves," before it becomes an author's way with words as characteristic as an artist's unique brushstroke or a musician's chord.

While searching for more books about writing, I sometimes peruse the ones that have meant a lot to me, like A Writer's Diary by Virginia Woolf, The Situation and the Story by Vivian Gornick, and Still Writing by Dani Shapiro.

As I write this, I wonder about your favorites.  Read More 
Post a comment