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Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic…
por Joe Fassler (Editor)
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Forty-six short chapters from writers describing other writers and books that have inspired them. Great stuff. ( )
Bought this based on rave reviews and it usually is exactly the sort of thing I soak up like a sponge. I love writing, creativity, and windows into others' artistic process...especially that of writers. I appreciate and admire the work of all the authors included. It is exactly as described and how others described it and yet, I gave myself permission to give up about 45% of the way in.
It became tedious and tiresome, repetitive in the patterns, if not the specifics. Or, maybe it wasn't the read I needed at the time I chose to read it. I think the biggest issue for me:
Reading and writing are such an intimate and immersive experience--I read and write because I love it, not because I'm ever going to be well-known or broadly read. The author's essays were personal, yes, but most of them came across as something they'd written for themselves rather than to generously inspire other writers. Reading this felt like I was an uninvited backstage guest without actually having a ticket to the performance.
That said, it may just be me, so if you're drawn to the description, for sure, give it a try. It may be exactly what you want it to be or better.
I LOVE reading about the creative habits of successful people, which is why I'm biased towards shop-talk subjects like this. I get why most book readers would rather have the final product, and not a behind-the-scenes look, but there's something mesmerizing about seeing the seed of an idea transform into its final, polished form. For me it's like getting the origin story of a demi-god who started out as a commoner.
You'll hear from known writers such as Sherman Alexie, Stephen King, Amy Tan, Lev Grossman, Jonathan Frazen, Marilynne Robinson and Neil Gaiman reflect on the BIG questions of life and living and how those questions are illuminated through literature, and ultimately how that process informs their work as an author.
The title, "Light the Dark," has a dual meaning. On the surface, it encompasses the daily process of composing an often-unknown narrative, which is an underappreciated, laborious and solitary task, and one that is also common among all writers. The title also hints at a deeper, more primal reason of why writers write, and similarly readers read. The world can be a darkness on the soul if we let it. Literature is a collective project of the human race, stretching all the way back to its beginning, and its main purpose I believe is to light our way forward.
In Light the Dark, everyone in this book is a writer. So, if you think about the wealth of creativity wrapped up in this short book... it is AMAZING. It truly made me feel nostalgic. Like, I should go and curl up in the corner and read all these author's again for the millionth time. And, then when I had that completed, I could read the writing that inspired them.
As I mentioned with excess enthusiasm, everyone in this book is a WRITER. Plus, these writer's, are writing about the ...writing.. that inspires them. So, this book definitely has a little bit of magic in it.
Yes, I did a read aloud. And, I devoured this book. I don't want to give to much away. But, I will give you a glimpse, within boundaries, of what appealed, and what troubled me.
I really like that the writers immerse themselves in reading and attribute their inspiration to other writer's. I also appreciate that many value the importance of using simple things we all are born with ... imagination, curiosity and the ability to observe.
What keeps them going? Well, that is a great question for the individual.
Perhaps some of these writers were never told to table their imagination, or to tone down their curiosity. Perhaps for some, there is no resistance to their creativity. Maybe they look within, and write down everything they observe...everything they dream.
This is profound in that it reads like restless and astute surges of creative minds. So much so, that I catch something new each time I go back an re-read a section. Yes. I am already rereading it.
I absolutely love that the short books are covered too. Poetry. I love Poetry.
Was it all good? Well NO. Don't most characters have downfalls?
Many of these writer's overcame great obstacles to produce their creations.The writer's are blatantly honest. And, as reader's, we are agonizingly aware of their vulnerabilities. And, at times, it feels like we have a kindred spirit for the complexities of life.
Overall, this book helps reader's to feel deep emotion, and a connection to the writer. And, it places a face on their process.
Not the catchy title of their book.
Not an intense line of their poetry.
But, a face. A self-aware....inhabiting .... face. One filled with emotion and wonder..one that makes each reader aware that the writer's process is as UNIQUE...as the writer.
Review ARC for Penguin Group and Net Galley.
"What inspires you? That's the simple, but profound question more than forty renowned authors answer in LIGHT THE DARK. Each author picks a favorite passage--from a novel, a song, a poem--to reveal what gets them started and keeps them going doing the creative work they love. From there, incredible stories of life changing encounters with art emerge, like how sneaking a volume of Stephen King stories into his job as a night security guard helped Khaled Hosseini learn that nothing he creates will ever be truly finished. Or how discovering Toni Morrison's Beloved in college taught Junot Diaz how art can create communities of shared experience. Here is a stunning guide to creative living and writing in the vein of Bird by Bird, Big Magic, and Daily Rituals for anyone who wants to learn how great writers find inspiration and how to find some of your own. Writer Joe Fassler has been collecting these lessons in his beloved "By Heart" series for The Atlantic, spinning conversations with hundreds of authors into motivating essays paired with striking illustrations. Light the Dark collects the best of "By Heart" and adds brand new pieces from award-winning writers like Marilynne Robinson, Junot Diaz, and Neil Gaiman"--
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Sistema Decimal Melvil (DDC)153.35 — Philosophy and Psychology Psychology Cognition And Memory Creativity And Visualization Creativity
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