Writing Alone and with Others

Writing Alone and with Others

Writing Alone and with Others

Writing Alone and with Others

Synopsis

For more than a quarter of a century, Pat Schneider has helped writers find and liberate their true voices. She has taught all kinds--the award winning, the struggling, and those who have been silenced by poverty and hardship. Her innovative methods have worked in classrooms from elementary to graduate level, in jail cells and public housing projects, in convents and seminaries, in youth at-risk programs, and with groups of the terminally ill. Now, in Writing Alone and with Others, Schneider's acclaimed methods are available in a single well-organized and highly readable volume. The first part of the book guides the reader through the perils of the solitary writing life: fear, writer's block, and the bad habits of the internal critic. In the second section, Schneider describes the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method, widely used across the U.S. and abroad. Chapters on fiction and poetry address matters of technique and point to further resources, while more than a hundred writing exercises offer specific ways to jumpstart the blocked and stretch the rut-stuck. Schneider's innovative teaching method will refresh the experienced writer and encourage the beginner. Her book is the essential owner's manual for the writer's voice.

Excerpt

Everyone is a writer. You are a writer. All over the world, in every culture, human beings have carved into stone, written on parchment, birch bark, or scraps of paper, and sealed into letters—their words. Those who do not write stories and poems on solid surfaces tell them, sing them, and, in so doing, write them on the air. Creating with words is our continuing passion. We dream stories; we make up stories, poems, songs, and tell them to ourselves. All alone, we write.

We also write with others. Every time we open our door at the end of a workday and say, “You'll never believe what that [bleep] said to me today …” we create story. “I was minding my own business, and he got right into my face! and then he said …” Already we are creating character, voice, suspense—story. It may not be committed to paper, but the artist, the writer, is at work.

This book is about writing alone, and writing with others. We are all connected to one another and to the mystery at the heart of the universe through our strange and marvelous ability to create words. When we write, we create, and when we offer our creation to one another, we close the wound of loneliness and may participate in healing the broken world. Our words, our truth, our imagining, our dreaming, may be the best gifts we have to give.

I have been a writer all my life. in the fourth grade, at age nine, I wrote my first verse: “My name is Patsy V. / and I'm in the class 4-B.” in the moments of joy following that creation I was as much a writer as I was at . . .

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