Writers on Writing

               I was helping my wife prepare a lesson for a college writing class that she’s teaching this semester, when I realized I could also share what we found with this reading audience. Unlike other writing resources that I’ve shared on this blog in the past, most of these sites are videos featuring writers discussing writing. It sounds a little boring and it probably is, unless you keep an open mind and listen to what these thoughtful people are saying.

               Even though we live in a culture that seems to be dominated by the visual image, the truth is that writing continues to be the backbone of our forms of communications. Every movie, play, television show, radio program, song and video game that we know of has a script behind it … at least the good ones do. Thus, writing continues to be a driving force and a valuable skill, and most of all difficult to do well.

               Of course, most of us don’t aspire to be professional writers or best selling novelists (except for young English teachers and old librarians), so we might think we’ve got nothing to learn from writers talking about writing. You might be surprised. Many of the videos that I recommend come from YouTube, so you won’t be able to view them from school (unfortunately), so I hope you take time to check them out from home.

  • From the NY Times on the web: 62 columns of writers discussing some aspect of their work as writers. The authors included are Alice Walker, Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow, Jamaica Kincaid, Amy Tan, John Updike and many others. When I tried to link directly to the list, I was asked to register to NY Times to access the goods. But when I typed “writers on writing” in Google, it was the first link on the list and I was able to get to all of the articles.
  • Charlie Rose Interviews with Writers: PBS host Charlie Rose speaks with a number of writers including Salman Rushdie (on fantasy and pain), John Grisham (on preparing to write and developing plot), Margaret Atwood (on her early writing), Ian McEwan (on the pleasure of writing), and David Foster Wallace (on essays). I provide you links to a few short, very low key (it is PBS) but interesting clips. You can also find a link on the host’s page that allows you to see all of the interviews he’s done. Charlie Rose has been around for a long time, so he’s got 138 pages with 40 guests on each page.
  • Jonathan Kozol gives advice to young writers: (7:57) The author of Death At An Early Age and many other powerful sociology books, Kozol still lives and works in Boston, MA. His advice is that you have to go out and live and learn something worth writing about.
  • Lakshmi Pratury on the Lost Art of Letter Writing: (4:09) A short video with a slight twist on the power and loss of letter writing. 
  • Richard St. John on The Secrets of Success: (3:33) Not about writing, but about success. Boiled down to 8 words. Passion. Work. Be Good. Focus. Push. Serve. Ideas. Persist. 

Hope you find something worthwhile, and thank you for reading.

Copyright © henry toromoreno, 2009. All rights reserved

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About htwilson

born in brooklyn, raised in queens, massachusetts, that's where I be.
This entry was posted in Favorite Sites, LMC announcements, recommendations and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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