Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg
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“This is a very interesting little book about writing. Modest. Learned. Good-natured. Direct and sympathetic to its readers. You don’t even have to read it front to back (probably you couldn’t, anyway). You can just open it anywhere—as I did—and take away something useful.” —Richard Ford
A widely admired writer and teacher of writing for more than twenty-five years, Verlyn Klinkenborg now gives us a distillation of that experience in an indispensable and distinctive book that will help anyone who wants to write, write better, or have a clearer understanding of what it means for them to be writing.
Klinkenborg believes that most of our received wisdom about how writing works is not only wrong but an obstacle to our ability to write. In Several Short Sentences About Writing he sets out to help us unlearn that “wisdom”–about genius, about creativity, about writer’s block, topic sentences, and outline–and understand that writing is just as much about thinking, noticing, and learning what it means to be involved in the act of writing. There is no gospel, no orthodoxy, no dogma in this book. Instead, it is a gathering of starting points (“You may have no idea what way you write,” for example) in a journey toward lively, lucid, satisfying self-expression.
Verlyn Klinkenborg is a member of the editorial board of The New York Times, to which he also contributes meditations about the rural farm, pieces that were collected in The Rural Life. His other books include Making Hay, The Last Fine Time, and Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile.