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?