Reviews

Call Yourself a Writer

April Thompson

Reading Resonance: Essays on the Craft and Life of Writing (Anvil Press) felt like snooping around the desks of some of my favorite Canadian writers. What’s in their notebooks? How do they organize their thoughts? What counts as writing? (Staring blankly at your keyboard and folding laundry, says Christina Myers.) Writing can be a lonely endeavour, but reading this book is like having coffee with a friend who is cheering you on. What makes it different from other writing books is that these writers aren’t telling you how you ought to write, but rather sharing ideas, tips and tricks. Instead of assuming authority, they start from a place of believing you’re as good a writer as them. The comforting message across these essays is that none of us writers really knows what we’re doing. In this, there’s immense freedom and plasticity—as Leanne Dunic suggests in her essay on hybrid forms, “Dangerous Territories: On Writing and Risk.” The book, edited by Laura Farina and Andrew Chesham, is a testament to the unique community emanating from The Writer’s Studio continuing studies program at Simon Fraser University, where both editors work. This community owes much to Betsy Warland, who designed and directed the Writer’s Studio from 21 to 212, and her approach to writing—a process that begins with calling yourself a writer and believing it. This is a writing book built on the generosity of artists sharing ideas, methods and process. Because even though writing happens alone, it depends on us relating to each other through frequencies and feedback—indeed, writing is an act of resonance.

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