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Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our…

Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives (edition 2000)

by Louise Desalvo

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228274,284 (4.08)5
Title:Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives
Authors:Louise Desalvo
Info:Beacon Press (2000), Edition: 1st Beacon Press ed, Paperback, 240 pages
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Writing as a Way of Healing: How Telling Our Stories Transforms Our Lives by Louise Desalvo



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I have mixed feelings about this book. There was some good advice in here to be sure, and I thought it gave some good insight into the relationship between writing and mental health that I hadn't thought about before. I particularly liked the parts about writing as a general practice, not necessarily about writing about emotional pain specifically, and how it can help one do well emotionally.

But at the same time there was an odd thread of judgmentalness towards people with mental illness, which is not exactly what one would expect from a book dealing with emotional pain. The author seemed much more sympathetic towards people who have experienced specific instances of trauma (which seemed to be mainly who the book was written for) but do not have a diagnosed mental illness than people who are just bipolar or depressed. She said some pretty shitty things about Sylvia Plath (who's my favourite author and someone I'm very sensitive about) and said numerous times that she "didn't have a mother" because her mother was depressed and sometimes had a hard time taking care of her when she was growing up. As someone who's bipolar, reading things like that really got to me. I definitely expected more sympathy from someone writing a book like this.

Overall I thought it was a worthwhile read in spite of the parts that bothered me. I'm going to be taking some of the advice into consideration with my own writing. ( )
  selfcallednowhere | Feb 21, 2016 |
I have now read this book twice. The first time was shortly after my husband was diagnosed with brain cancer and it just seemed like a good time. This time just seemed like a good time because I remember it being so very comforting as a writing instruction book in general - a book about telling our stories. And it has such a wealth of examples of other great pieces of literature and authors who have used writing to save themselves from destruction and helped themselves through pain and illness.

There are some jewels in this book.

I loved this: (Alice) Walker compares her lifesaving habit of storytelling to the tradition of native American sand painting. In Native American cultures, she reports, “when you feel sick at heart, sick in soul, you do sand paintings. Or you make a basket. The thing is that you are focused on creating something. And while you’re doing that, there’s a kind of spiritual alchemy that happens and you turn that bad feeling into something that becomes a golden light. It’s all because you are intensely creating something that is beautiful. And in Native American cultures, by the time you’ve finished the sand painting, you’re well. the point is to heal yourself.”

I definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a way to help yourself through a hard time, a health crisis, sadness, or a way to heal from anything. We all have something from which to heal. Tell your story. Even if you keep it to yourself, if you follow these steps in writing it down, you can help heal your soul. ( )
  KinnicChick | May 26, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0807072435, Paperback)

In this inspiring book, based on her twenty years of research, highly acclaimed author and teacher Louise DeSalvo reveals the healing power of writing. DeSalvo shows how anyone can use writing as a way to heal the emotional and physical wounds that are an inevitable part of life. Contrary to what most self-help books claim, just writing won't help you; in fact, there's abundant evidence that the wrong kind of writing can be damaging.

DeSalvo's program is based on the best available and most recent scientific studies about the efficacy of using writing as a restorative tool. With insight and wit, she illuminates how writers, from Virginia Woolf to Henry Miller to Audre Lorde to Isabel Allende, have been transformed by the writing process. Writing as a Way of Healing includes valuable advice and practical techniques to guide and inspire both experienced and beginning writers.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:27 -0400)

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