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thenightwriter has commented on (5) products.

Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy
Everything Beautiful Began After

thenightwriter, July 15, 2011

I fell in love with Everything Beautiful Began After after having just read the Prologue and the rest of the book did not disappoint. Simon Van Booy’s beautiful poetic language is stunning and his descriptions require the reader to pause and take a deep breath to take them in. The characters are so well developed that one cannot help but love and care deeply for them. It is fascinating to watch as they argue over the existence of fate while we quietly witness fate take its toll on each of them. There is a sense of unpredictability, an unknowing that keeps the pages turning. Van Booy’s use of different points of view also adds depth to this novel. It was a genius way to create various space and distance between the reader and the characters. The cover and deckle-edged paper provides the perfect package for such a beautiful and tragic love story.

The ending felt a bit rushed to me and things seemed to be tied up a little too perfectly in the end. This may be that I just didn’t want the book to end. I was invested in these characters and wanted to spend more time with them. However, at over 400 pages, I understand Van Booy had to end the book at some point. Maybe he will write a sequel! If you want to be swept away into a beautiful love story with writing that literally takes you there as a silent witness to the unfolding lives of the characters, this book is definitely for you. I wanted to continue inside the world Van Booy created with this novel so much that I actually got up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep because I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and continued reading until it was finished.
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The Productive Writer: Strategies and Systems for Greater Productivity, Profit and Pleasure by Sage Cohen
The Productive Writer: Strategies and Systems for Greater Productivity, Profit and Pleasure

thenightwriter, June 30, 2011

In all her writing, Cohen has a way of first allaying our fears so we can open our minds to the unlimited possibilities before us. But, she doesn’t stop there! She follows up with great, detailed advice; clear steps for us to take towards success; along with examples from her own writing life. In The Productive Writer, she adds a new dimension with printable worksheets and checklists she’s made available on the web to serve as companions to The Productive Writer. One such worksheet is “Your Platform at a Glance.” After reading through her example, I finally understood what a platform entails. I’ve read so much about platform and how important it is to my writing success, but never have I seen it broken down into the simple steps Cohen presents in this book. I was able to follow the worksheet and develop my platform which gave me a whole new outlook on my writing.

What made the biggest impact on me was Cohen sharing her perfectionist tendencies and how it was hindering her success as a writer. Her solution: Do the best that you can and then send out your work. Let others decide if your writing is worthy of publication. Don’t sabotage yourself by requiring that everything you write be absolutely perfect before you release it to the world. Like what has happened to me, your writing will go nowhere. It will collect dust among the computer archives. Cohen doesn’t just say “Do the best that you can,” she tells you how. She provides editing advice, organizational tips, and suggestions on how to find time to write. She has an entire chapter devoted to “Publishing and Landing Gigs!”

Through her writing, Cohen encourages us to find our own writing rhythm. She tells us that it isn’t absolutely necessary to write first thing in the morning as is often suggested. It is important for us to find our own writing rhythm. Through debunking some of the common myths about writing, she gives us the freedom to become our own unique writer selves. Even as she offers suggestions, tips, and personal experiences, she tells us: “Find what works for you!”

The Productive Writer is structured in short chapters, usually about ten pages in length. The structure helps you find what you’re looking for easily and also makes it a great book to bring with you while waiting at the doctors, or at your kids’ soccer games, or wherever you have a little free time. This is another aspect of the book I love. It shows Cohen’s attention to detail and consideration for today’s busy writer.

Cohen provides information for writers of all levels. The Productive Writer will become your permanent writing companion. If you’re a beginner, Cohen provides the inspiration and knowledge you need to begin your journey as a writer. It is a book that will grow with you and you will return to again and again as you progress. If you are experienced, Cohen provides excellent suggestions on topics such as organization, social media, and the collection and storage of your random thoughts as well as the edited out portions of your writing so you can easily find and use them later. The information and inspiration she provides will be the fresh perspective you need to take your writing to the next level.
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The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy by Priscilla Gilman
The Anti-Romantic Child: A Story of Unexpected Joy

thenightwriter, June 30, 2011

I began this book, as a mother of a child with Asperger’s syndrome, not quite sure what to expect. However, I quickly fell in love with how Priscilla Gilman related so much of her experiences to her most beloved poetry. As a reader, you can literally feel the perception shift in Gilman as she comes to terms with the special needs of her son by the way her interpretations of poetry shift. I could relate so well to Gilman’s experiences with her son. I was shocked, though, when I came across the page where Gilman describes hyperlexia because she was describing my son perfectly. It was because she chose to share her story that I was finally able to identify a mysterious piece of my son’s early development and could provide information on hyperlexia to his therapists and doctors. Through sharing her experiences, Gilman provided me with a new understanding of my son and new ways to relate to him. She opens up the discussion on how we come to terms with having children that do not “fit” others’ and even possibly our own definition of “normal.” Gilman shows the power of love to not necessarily overcome adversity, but to accept it as it is, embrace it, and even welcome it. She shows us that through the shedding of who we thought we were supposed to be, who we thought our children were supposed to be, a new way of thinking, a new way of life, a new self emerges. What was once considered anti-romantic becomes most romantic and beautiful through the acceptance of what is and a fierce determination to no longer allow others to define who we are or who we should be. Gilman not only becomes an advocate for her son but also for herself. She grows alongside Benj and finds strength and courage through his experiences and uses them to ultimately find her true self.

I believe everyone should read and will learn so much from The Anti-Romantic Child. We are at a point where excavating our authentic self is more important than ever, and it may just be that the children we’ve labeled as “special” are indeed so, as they are emerging as our greatest and most powerful teachers yet.
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Like the Heart, the World by Sage Cohen
Like the Heart, the World

thenightwriter, August 13, 2009

As I read through Like the Heart, the World, I was intrigued by the uniqueness and depth of Cohen's words. She has created surprising word combinations such as "the metal taste of alone" that made me stop and contemplate their meanings. I love that her poems are like a maze of language; fresh and thought-provoking. The book is separated into three sections according to places that Cohen has lived and reflects her experiences in those cities. Through these sections, she intertwines the sensory world around us with the deep emotions that we feel inside. As the sections progress we see Cohen open up, giving us more of her, allowing us a bigger glimpse into the depths of her mind. Her poetry becomes more relaxed and longer signifying her growth as she moves through the different phases of her life. In the end, we see that she is comfortable where she is now, that she can sit within the pain, loss, and triumph of life and convey it all to us magnificently.
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Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry by Sage Cohen
Writing the Life Poetic: An Invitation to Read and Write Poetry

thenightwriter, August 13, 2009

The first thing I noticed about Writing the Life Poetic when I opened up my package was the beautiful cover. Already, before even opening the book up to the first page, my senses were heightened by the brilliant designs and colors. When I ran my fingers over the cover of the book I was pleasantly surprised by the raised designs (especially on the back cover) and the raised text. Just holding the book was a poetic experience. Then I opened it – Wow! I was struck by the contrast between the bright white paper, the text, the colors, and the illustrations. Without reading a word my creative mind had already been given a jumpstart.

I was a closet poet for nearly twenty years and when I finally had the courage to submit some poetry for critique I realized how much I did not know about poetry. I was discouraged and even considered not writing poetry anymore because it all seemed too complicated and then I saw an advertisement in Writer’s Digest for this book. I thought I would give it a try and I am so glad that I did. My reading of Writing the Life Poetic coincided with a 30-day poetry writing regimen that I participated in and I had the chance to incorporate much of Sage Cohen’s advice with great results.

Her instructions are clear and concise and so easy to understand even for a beginner like me. The chapters are short but provide a wealth of information and encouragement. I read one chapter per day and this easily fit into my hectic schedule. Eighty days later I was not only writing more poetically, I was living more poetically. What Cohen has taught me through these beautiful pages has helped me in all of my writing: poetry, personal essays, and memoir. She has taught me that there is poetry to be found in even the most minute and mundane of things; in the things that might be overlooked even discarded otherwise. She has taught me that it is the awareness of the world around me and the writing of that awareness that is so important even if at first glance I do not consider what I write to be “top quality”.

I recommend this book to beginner and experienced poets and writers alike. Beginners will get a guide book on how to embrace the poetry within and around them. Those with experience will get a fresh perspective on reading and writing poetry and expand their creative minds to higher levels. I also recommend Cohen’s book of poetry, Like the Heart, the World, which will, after reading, unequivocally convince you that she knows of what she writes.

Sage Cohen also has a Writing the Life Poetic blog that you can subscribe to and it is a must read for all the fans of her book. It will provide you with a continuation of the same fresh poetic view of life that is seen within the pages of this book.
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