Creative Writing – Week 11 – The Extra Mile

In her book, “The Word: Black Writers Talk About the Transformative Power of Reading and Writing,” I enjoyed her interviews with many authors, including Wil Haygood, who writes his ass off! I’d been loving his Washington Post articles for years, and when I read his biography of Sammy Davis Jr., for a literary contest I was judging, I fell in love with the jazzy rhythms of his writing.

 

M.G.: What has your writing career given you?

 

WH: Writing has been my attempt to unravel some of the hardships of my past life. My mother was an alcoholic, my father was separated from my mother a month after I was born, divorced, you know, family members in prison, family members who were on and off drugs, all my life, you know? So, I came with a whole lot of turmoil in my stomach, a lot of pain, because there was always a lot of drama around. A writer can be a kind of inward-looking psychiatrist, almost, trying to go back, trying to assess the damage, trying to look for the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

Explore your reasons for writing. In 10 minutes – or more – finish this sentence, “I write…”

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Creative Writing – Week 10

J. California Cooper (one of my favorite storytellers!) tells Marita Golden she loved telling stories with – and to – her paper dolls growing up.

 

M.G.: I read in an article that you played with paper dolls.

C.C.: Until I was 18.

 

M.G.: What did you like about paper dolls?

 

CC: You could tell a story. And that was that. The fact is, they were paper, so they couldn’t do it without you. It was the fact that you had somebody who could stand there and say, “Oh Howard, don’t do that.” My mother said you could put me in a room by myself and shut the door and you’d think a crowd of people were in there if you didn’t know I was in there by myself, because I talked to myself.

 

M.G.: And you were never alone when you were in your world of imagination.

 

C.C.: Right. That’s why when I was 18, my mother got scared and thought I was retarded or something….

 

I loved this book because it affirmed so much of what I knew, experienced, and felt as a writer, and because reading it feels like being in the company of a bunch of people who “Get it!”

 

Do you have a favorite book about writing or the writing life? If so, do share. And tell us why. 

Creative Writing – Week 9

“I had a notebook. You could buy little things from the canteen, and I bought a notebook and started writing things down. Prison ain’t exactly the best place to be telling somebody your deepest feelings, talking about your pain. So, I was writing stuff down. And I realized that it made me feel better, whatever I said, whether it was a paragraph or a page….”

 

(Award-winning author Nathan McCall tells award-winning author and master writing teacher Marita Golden in her book, “The Word”)

 

Do you have a writing routine? If so, for how long have you had it and what benefits have you gained from it? Is it time to rev. up your writing, take it to the next level? I’ve been journaling more than 15 years and this year I happened upon the book, “Creative Journaling,” which is helping me “monetize” this habit. It’s giving me ways to use this journaling habit to improve my craft and discover great stories – cha-ching!