Book Review: Wild Women, Wild Voices

WildWomen_CvrWild Women, Wild Voices: Writing From Your Authentic Wildness

by Judy Reeves

I was provided this book by the publisher, New World Library (whom I adore, because they always give me wonderful books to read) to review.  And then I promptly forgot about it.  Actually, the book got buried under a pile of papers on my desk and only was unearthed when I started cleaning up.  I wish I'd found it sooner, because its a wonderful book.

And here's my problem with writing about it: I start reading it and then stop to go do some of the exercises and follow the prompts.  And so I am slowly–very slowly–making my way through it.  And in this case, the slowness is a good thing.  There is a ton of material to absorb in this book, and for anyone wanting to explore the wild side of their writing (something to which, really, we all should aspire) it is well worth it.

You may be familiar with the author, Judy Reeves,who calls herself a "writing practice provocateur," through one of her other books.  The one that's been on my shelf for years is The Writer's Book of Days.  (It really has been years–I looked up the pub date, and it was 1999.) She, like me, encourages discipline as a path to letting the wild woman out–discipline as in writing every day.  Besides that, what I really like about the book is that her exercises encourage digging deep and cutting loose.  It is this kind of attitude toward writing that leads me back to the utter joy of it.

Wild Women, Wild Voices grew out of a workshop Reeves taught, about which she says, "And though I've been a lifelong daily journaler, it was the prompts, questions, and explorations initiated by our work that took me into the deep waters of memory and experience."   

Here's a look at what the book covers, which is based on the cycles of a woman's life:

–Claiming the Wild Woman–rediscovering the deep connections with ourselves and others

–Mother/Sister/Daughter and family connections

–Loves and Lovers

–Friendship–the wild woman in community

–Artist/Creator–the authentic work of wild woman

–Life Journeys–quests and pilgrimages 

–Death and Legacies–the unveiling of the wise woman

And, just for fun, here's a couple of examples of exercises (which she calls "explorations") from the book:

–Write the story of your name.  Where did it come from, what does it mean, how does it fit you?  Or how doesn't it?

–In Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey wrote, "Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary."  

Write about your "right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary."

–Have you ever met someone on a journey, and did the connection change your life, even though you may never have seen or heard from the person again?

 Have fun with these explorations and do check out the book.  

What kind of writing books do you like to read, if any?

 

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9 Comments on "Book Review: Wild Women, Wild Voices"

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J.D.
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J.D.
05/26/2015 17:44
Hi Judy, Books on writing? I have four that I have kept. The Forest for the Trees by Betsy Lerner is interesting. I like Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing. I keep The Art of Styling Sentences within reach. Recently, I discovered The Book on Writing by Paula LaRocque. Writing books are like books and magazine on playing golf–if they really worked, there would be only . . . what, half a dozen? Those golf magazines aren’t a total waste. If you dig through them, they can make you better. Books on writing are the same; they won’t save you.… Read more »
Charlotte Dixon
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05/26/2015 20:07

I think the authors of the books hope they will help you! 🙂 and I continually read them for the exercises they present.

Sent from my iPhone

Dyoung
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Dyoung
05/27/2015 07:16
I love this review, Charolette. And of course- the book seems right up my alley. You know the one book I have really tried embracing – not just for writers – is Bird by Bird. One day recently I had lunch with one of my art professors – we keep in touch even though I’m through with school and she is retired – she’s a mentor of sorts- she suggested some advice when I saw her. I had been through a major career change and I was divulging my book ideas to her. (The only other people that know are… Read more »
J.D.
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J.D.
05/27/2015 09:47

That is wild that your teacher suggested B by B. For some reason, I could never get into Bird. Charlotte and many others swear by it. Charlotte was on the verge of teaching us a course with it. I thought I’ll have to suck it up or fail the final. I have that book! I’ll dust it off again. The books work. Chatting here with friends works. All of us will take anything that helps. Tell us next time you lunch with your retired teacher friend.

Charlotte Dixon
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05/27/2015 10:49

I love you guys so much. 🙂

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
05/27/2015 10:50

Agreed. One can get lost in just reading about writing! Really, it takes practice, over and over again. And I do think that’s what Bird by Bird encourages…Do look at Wild Women, I was working out of it again this morning and will be for quite some time.

Dyoung
Guest
05/27/2015 19:27

It’s my observation that B by B isn’t really just about writing per sé. It’s a great book for all creative minds.

Dyoung
Guest
05/27/2015 19:30

Well, we ❤️ You too!!

this place (your blog) is a good, safe place for us to land between writing struggles and successes.

Charlotte Dixon
Guest
05/27/2015 21:14

Excellent point. 

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