Recommended Reading: Pat Schneider’s Writing Alone and With Others
by Renee Kimball
There are gems of wisdom in Schneider’s book for writers and would-be-writers. Each page speaks in a kind of firm best-friend voice. It is directed to anyone and everyone. Quoting Will Stafford, Schneider affirms: “A writer is someone who writes”—stating whether writing a letter, email, or merely a report, we all write. If writing calls to you, you must answer the call, if you do not, you damage yourself—whatever your write, it is your art—your story—and your right to write.
When we neglect the artist in ourselves, there is a kind of mourning that goes on under the surface of our busy lives.
If you are troubled and wish to heal, then the act of writing will heal you. Your story does not have to be shared in order for you to be whole. Of course, there are those who want to share, and that is a good thing. But whatever path is chosen, the medicine—writing—will heal you.
The very act of writing takes courage, it is an act exposing your most vulnerable self. You know which writers’ stories relate to you. If you share, it may be the story that irrevocably changes not only your path, but another’s path, you never know—it is a risk. Take the risk to write, whether you share or not, and you will heal.
Writing is a scary thing to do and the bad news is, it never stops being scary. Once I was at a luncheon with several writers and one of them had won the Pulitzer Prize. And he said: “What in God’s name do you write after you’ve won the Pulitzer?” And he was terrified. And I know someone else who has written book after book . . . and he’s miserable when he’s writing his next book, because he says, “I’ll never finish, I can’t do this. How did I get myself into this?” ~ Interview
Pat Schneider by Deekatherine [CC BY-SA 4.0]. via Wikimedia Commons
Schneider’s book is a firm but loving GET TO IT message, a message to GET ON WITH YOUR WRITING AND HEAL YOURSELF – Look into the dark corners of yourself, write them down, clear them out, banish them, shed them, become whole.
Schneider encourages everyone to “Write something that feels too huge, or too dangerous, to tell. Courage is not the special prerogative of those who have experienced some dramatic suffering.”
This is a hefty book, a thoughtful book, and whether you are an old-hand at writing, a beginner, or simply seeking personal solace through writing, Schneider’s book will fill you up and just may be the start towards a new beginning.
To grow in craft is to increase the breadth of what I can do, but art is the depth, the passion the desire, the courage to be myself and myself alone.
we tell stories, build from fragments of our lives maps to guide us to each other. we make collages of the way it might have been had it been as we remembered, as we think perhaps it was, tallying in our middle age diminishing returns. Last night the lake was still; all along the shoreline bright pencil marks of light, and children in the dark canoe pleading “Tell us scary stories.” Fingers trailing in the water, I said someone I loved who died told me in a dream to not be lonely, told me not to ever be afraid. And they were silent, the children, listening to the water lick the sides of the canoe. It’s what we love the most can make us most afraid, can make us for the first time understand how we are rocking in a dark boat on the water, taking the long way home.
~ Pat Schneider
For more of Pat Schneider’s poems visit her blog.
Pat Schneider – Online Interview – On Writing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQ1ukC0KWZI Oxford Academic (Oxford University Press) Published on Apr 24, 2013