Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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184 words
SHJ Issue 3
Spring 2011

Writers and Their Notebooks
Edited by Diana M. Raab

Reviewed by R. A. Rycraft

University of South Carolina Press
(January 2010)

Cover of Writers and Their Notebooks, edited by Diana Raab

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This eclectic collection of essays illustrates what every writer and teacher of writing knows to be true: prewriting prepares writers to write. Diana M. Raab has assembled the work of more than twenty writers whose essays reflect on the relationship between journaling and effective writing. Writers and Their Notebooks provides a variety of perspectives on journal keeping, including the thoughts of such writers as James Brown whose journal is a tool to mine memory, Maureen Stanton who journals to survive despair, Bonnie Morris who journals to record and remember her world, Reginald Gibbons whose journal feeds his muse, and Dorianne Laux who journals to understand life. This collection offers a variety of analogies that will connect with a wide writing audience and inspire many to start keeping notebooks so that they, like Wendy Call, might “grab thoughts and anchor them in the world of dust motes and they don’t decompose, float away, sublimate—passing like iodine into purple vapor.”

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury