Blog: Here's what Tom says about that!

First We Read, Then We Write

Posted September 24th, 2010 by

For anyone who writes, wants to write, or dreams of writing…

I’ve come across some absolute gems by subscribing to Powell’s Books Review-a-Day service. One such book was Robert D. Richardson’s wonderful First We Read, Then We Write: Emerson on the Creative Process.

I first checked this book out from my local library (love, love, love our library!), but within a couple of chapters I knew that I needed this one on my shelf. I needed to mark it up with notes in the margins and yellow highlighting. I needed it next to my bed so I can pick it up and read a few lines whenever I seek inspiration. I needed to write the author and thank him for such an inspirational volume!

Anyone with an interest in writing can meet your muse here. I’ll admit that I haven’t been a huge follower of Ralph Waldo Emerson. I’ve been sort of a “greatest hits” fan of his. With this book that all shifted. Part biography, part history, part advice on writing and the integral role that reading plays, I can’t speak highly enough of how excited I became reading page after page of First We Read.

When the connection is made between writer and reader, the text dissolves into the connection.

If you want to be a writer but you haven’t made the commitment, this little book will light your fire.

The best single bit of practical advice about writing Emerson ever gave–best because it is a cry from the heart, because it focuses on attitude not aptitude, and because it is as stirring as a rebel yell–is this: “The way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent.”

As the dust jacket so accurately states, “Whether a writer by trade or a novice, every reader will find something to treasure in this volume.

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