Thursday, January 17, 2008

Oh Mary

While reading Mary Pipher's book about writing, I have been trying to consciously underline and comment on the sections that I find most useful/inspiring (I'm usually a pretty awful at this, but I'm working on it). I have to say that in general, I think she makes some insightful and true comments about writing; however, I am not entirely attached to this book. Overall, I sometimes find her distant or somewhat fake (or at least not as genuine as I expected), but I think when she looses herself in a thought and becomes grounded she can make some very good points.
One such point is made right in the introduction. I like how she says that in much earlier times, "The problems that arose often were not solvable. But they were nearby" (9). She goes on to talk about how there are people out there who want to make world problems as important and real as local issues, but they are unsure how. Her answer is to write. Write and create empathy. She says to share people's stories in order to bring out the human aspect of problems, thus bringing them into perspective. I agree with this idea completely, and it is one of my favorite aspects of writing.
Another one of my favorite points (and probably the last I will discuss because this is getting long) is the part of the book where she talks about how hard it is to start writing. I often find myself dreading writing, which I just assumed was some unnatural quark I alone possessed (one that makes me rethink my major at times). However, after reading Pipher's section about diving-in and her own fears when writing, I felt better. My favorite quote this far in the whole book is from Thomas Mann saying, "A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than for others." (76).

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