blogging yourself home – the books

for the blogging yourself home workshop at MentalHealthCamp, i had referred to a number of books in addition to leon tan’s fabulous article on MySpace and blogging as a form of self therapy.

here they are:

writing from the heart – tapping the power of your inner voice, by nancy slonim aronie

love the friendly, welcoming, comfortable tone of this book. an excerpt from one of the many writing exercises she proposes:

which story in your life do you want to feel on a new level? write a story that begins with “the last time i saw …” write only the first page and leave it. go back later, and don’t censor anything. begin adding to it. be gentle with yourself. no one has to read this but you. each day for two weeks, add to the story. keep everything you write. don’t throw away any of it. save everything; you’ll need it for later. you may need distance to hear some of your best lines. keep writing from your heart. keep coming back to “i”.

writing from the inside out by dennis palumbo

from the jacket:

writer’s block. procrastination. loneloness. doubt. fear of failure. fear of rejection. just plain … fear. what does it mean if you struggle with these feelins on a daily basis? it means you’re a writer.

one of the treats of reading these books is that they are – guess what, well written. often they have intriguing chapter headings, like this one in palumbo’s book: “lately, i don’t like the things i love.” doesn’t that resonate?

with pen in hand – the healing power of writing, by henriette anne klauser

this book is written around klauser’s client’s stories, which really speaks to me. there is very little, “do this, do that” – she simply presents powerful, powerful stories and then comments on how they use simple yet impactful writing techniques. a story that touched me in a special way was by a vietnam vet who after years tells for the first time the tale of surviving the war and coming back to an unwelcoming home country.

i could tell you stories – sojourns in the land of memory, by patricia hampl

one of the things that this book did for me was to show me st. augustine’s confessions, written in 397 C.E., in a totally new way. “he was the first blogger!” i kept thinking. he describes himself as “a man who writes as he progresses and who progresses as he writes”. hampl goes on

not to write was not to think, really not to live.

the confessions are, among other things, the desperature gesture of a writer blocked from his work, seeking again the intimace embraceand healing intelligence of language.

here was a book, most likely written by hand in private, but intended to be read aloud y small groups of educated christians (and open-minded erudite pagans), a book handed around in a kind of samizdat circulation. it was greeted by the intense, if rarefied, buzz we might recogniaze from a coffeehouse poetry reading where aficionados know an original voice if they hear one.

finally three more books i referred to were ones that i had already mentioned here before. they were louise desalvo’s writing as a way of healing and james pennebaker’s opening up – the healing power of expressing emotions, mentioned in the post journaling for healing: 15 tips. james pennebaker is one of the leading psychologists writing on and researching the topic.

and then of course there is kimberley snow, whose book “writing yourself home” inspired the title of the workshop. i had written about the book here.

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