Saturday, February 11, 2006

Joy Writing by Kenn Amdahl

A little like reading Elements of Style on amphetamines, Joy Writing by Kenn Amdahl, cascades over its pages with enthusiasm for writing. I wanted to take up my pen and buy a box of yellow tablets before I finished reading it. Yellow highlights throughout my copy remind me that there are other writers that I want to read. The examples he chooses are engaging and witty. Much of his advice is common sense: “Revising means making choices.” Some of his advice is surprising, “Let yourself write badly when you create first drafts…” And some of his advice is phrased in a silly way, “…the poet must distract the Colonel Klink/editor within himself. Simply telling him to wait in the closet isn’t enough, we need him in a different time zone.” Most of it is practical; join a writing group. And all of it is written in an intimate, conversational tone as if Kenn were talking directly to the reader. Joy Writing is 160 pages of inspiration for budding writers.

Alice O’Grady, English Teacher, Wilson HS, Long Beach, CA