Friday, October 23, 2009

Writing Alone and With Others

Another book I genuinely like is Writing Alone and With Others by Pat Schneider. She writes, "The purest and deepest reservoir of material for the writer is his or her own childhood. Most beginning writers go instinctively to childhood images. This is not accidental, nor is it self-indulgent. It's a good instinct, an artistic wisdom. (This is my paragraph break, not hers.)

"Louis Auchincloss said, "Childhood is the writer's only capital." Flannery O'Connor wrote, "Anybody who has survived his childhood has enough information about life to last him the rest of his days."

"Childhood images are remembered--and forgotten--for emotional reasons. You may have lost conscious knowledge of the reason that you remember a particular afternoon, but your unconscious mind knows. Childhood images are already polished; the unconscious has already done much of the work of the artist--eliminating what is not important, keeping what is important, transforming it into myth..."

Any thoughts? See you on Monday! Have a happy and healthy weekend!


Wendy Love said...

I love this thought! I took a brief memoir writing course and it was a delightful experience. With just a few tweeks to our minds, the teacher had us recalling all sorts of delightful things about our childhood. Each person's stories were precious! Thanks for this post.

Wellness Writer said...

Dear Wendy,
You're welcome. For some people, childhood memories bring up all sorts of unhappiness and trauma.

But, for those of us who had happy childhoods, it is so nice to have such warm memories, and to write stories of loved ones who remain in our hearts although they are no longer physically among us.


Tamara (TC) Staples said...


This looks like a great book. I already went and ordered it for my Kindle. I am one of those who's childhood is filled with unhappiness and trauma. I absolutely believe it colors the type of stories that I write. How could it not? You won't find me writing happy little romances because I don't have the experience for that. My stories are more about difficulties, trauma and strained relationships within the family. I do however try to have my characters grow, change and find peace by the end.

I had never thought about what I would write if I had a happy childhood. Interesting to think that my plots would probably be totally different.

Hugs and I hope that your weekend is perfect!


Wellness Writer said...

Dear Tamara,
Yes, I realize how different it must be for people whose childhood was traumatic and stress-filled, and those of us for whom it wasn't.

When I was young I thought I'd never be able to write about sorrow, because I'd experienced so little of it.

But, when I became ill, everything changed, and then I wondered if I'd ever be able to write about happy things again. Now, it's somewhat equaled out.

Hope you have a lovely weekend too!