Elizabeth Berg on Writing And What I Think About That

If a picture’s still worth a thousand words, I should be able to post this, my carefully assembled still life, and leave the rest of this post up to you. Seems like a fair proposition.  You could easily figure it out or come up with something entirely different from what I planned to write.

"Elizabeth Berg and Kathy H Porter, books

A Literary Still Life

Three different colored composition notebooks, all brand new; two published books: one written by an established author, Elizabeth Berg, called Escaping into the Open, The Art of Writing True, traditionally published by Harper Collins Publisher in 1999 and the book that I self-published in January of 2013 called Love Always Wags Its Tail, The Dogs That Changed My Life.  Almost 16 years separates these two books with technology the big game changer. We’ve come a long way, baby! But have we really?

I like to think that what Berg wrote about in 1997 is still true today, that “What you need most is a fierce desire to put things down on paper; and you need a sensibility, a way of seeing and feeling.”

What Berg says: “I got into this business with no contacts, no writing classes or degree, and no experience. Please believe me when I tell you that with a little talent and perseverance, you can too.”

What I’ve learned along the way: There’s more than one way to skin a cat, get lost, find your way, write a book.  There is no wrong or right way to do one sure thing. There is what works for you, what works for me.  I was one of those teachers that Berg includes in the chapter, ‘Writing Classes: Take Them or Leave Them.’  Like the two women Berg gives voice to, I was that writing teacher who was a better writing teacher because I was writing the same persuasive essays (at the graduate school level) that I was asking my own students (they were juniors and seniors in high school) to write.  I was lucky too because the writing classes that I did take were led by wonderfully talented local poets who were also inspirational teachers.

What I learned didn’t go away but it did go underground for a ten year period when I stopped the serious, daily writing; when the poems stopped, the journal writing became non-existent. I did write business related content but that kind of writing happened without any deliberate thought on my part.  So what’s different now?  That “fierce desire to put things down on paper … “,  a knowing that writing is what I want to do.  It took ten years to find my way back to the poetry. It’s a funny thing, I believe that it came back stronger because of its absence.



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