The Prydain Project

Thirty years after first devouring Lloyd Alexander's Prydain books, I'm rereading them to see if the magic is still there. If you've arrived at this blog because you loved Prydain as a kid, I hope you’ll enjoy the chance to revisit it along with me. To read the recaps in order, start here: "The Book of Three," Chapter 1

Sunday, April 30, 2017

What I’m Reading: Let It Bleed

I’ve been a huge fan of Pamela Des Barres since I read “I’m With the Band” at age 15, and in recent years, I’ve had the good fortune to meet her in person and participate in her writing workshops. So I was excited when I heard that she was putting out a “how-to” book based on her workshops. My pre-ordered copy of “Let It Bleed: How to Write a Rockin' Memoir” arrived April 18, and it’s classic Pamela, written in her typically effervescent, to-the-point, girl-to-girl-talk style. She uses juicy snippets from her own memoirs to illustrate, for example, how to write a passage that recalls all five senses and engages the reader’s imagination. She also includes pieces from many of her students from past classes – such as Jessi, who sat next to me at the first workshop I attended in Nashville – so a variety of voices are represented. (I’m not in the book, alas… maybe next time!)

It’s a fun read even if you’ve never thought of writing a memoir, but it also contains dozens of writing prompts to help you start creating one. Pamela’s method of writing practice is pretty straightforward – given a prompt, you set a timer for 12 minutes, then write with no restrictions, no crossing out, no self-editing. It’s like writing in a journal, but more focused. The result is wonderfully freeing, even if you’re like me and need several rounds of editing before you’re close to happy with a piece. (And if you don’t want to write a memoir, the exercises are still a great way to break through writer’s block, get the creative juices flowing and get in touch with your true self!) If the divine Miss Pamela comes to a city near you, I highly recommend signing up for her workshop, but if you don’t have that opportunity, then reading “Let It Bleed” is the next best thing.

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