I wrote the following post two years ago to answer a “challenge.” I intended to post it at the end of September 2009. I got all tangled up in words and couldn’t write a thing. I intended to post it at the end of October. I still couldn’t write it. I think I managed to write it after the October deadline.
In the middle of the “process,” I considered posting the following review: “I like Nancy Peacock’s A Broom of One’s Own very very very very very much.”
But the challenge specified a four-sentence review, and I had hardly one, and I didn’t want to repeat it three times.
So there’s the background.
I must also add this disclaimer: I bought my copy of A Broom of One’s Own myself, with my own money. No one told, asked, or paid me to write this review. No one told, asked, or paid me to say I like the book. No one told, asked, or paid me to like it. No one offered me tickets to Rio or a week’s lodging in Venice, more’s the pity. I decided to read the book, to like it, and to write this review all by myself, at the invitation of Story Circle Book Review Challenge. Nobody paid them either. Amen.
I like Nancy Peacock’s A Broom of One’s Own: Words About Writing, Housecleaning & Life so much that it’s taken me over two months and two missed deadlines to untangle my thoughts and write this four-sentence review, an irony Peacock, author of two critically acclaimed novels, would no doubt address were I in one of her writing classes.
She would probably tell me that there is no perfect writing life; that her job as a part-time house cleaner, begun when full-time writing wouldn’t pay the bills, afforded time, solitude, and the “foundation of regular work” she needed; that engaging in physical labor allowed her unconscious mind to “kick into gear,” so she became not the writer but the “receiver” of her stories.
She’d probably say that writing is hard; that sitting at a desk doesn’t automatically bring brilliance; that writers have to work with what they have; that “if I don’t have the pages I hate I will never have the pages I love”; that there are a million “saner” things to do and a “million good reasons to quit” and that the only good reason to continue is, “This is what I want.”
So, having composed at least two dozen subordinated, coordinated, appositived, participial-phrase-stuffed first sentences and discarded them before completion; having practically memorized the text searching for the perfect quotation to end with; and having once again stayed awake into the night, racing another deadline well past the due date, I am completing this review—because I value Nancy Peacock’s advice; and because I love A Broom of One’s Own; and because I consider it the equal of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird; and because I want other readers to know about it; and because this is what I want.
4 thoughts on “Review (again): A Broom of One’s Own”
Well; four beautifully constructed, perfectly flowing sentences: and I like Nancy Peacock already as a result of them.
I would have got my sentences tied up in a pile of swarthy sailor’s maritime knots if I had tried this.
Those sentences came after of months of false starts. I could not say what I meant, no doubt because I had no idea what I wanted to say. I was desperate. I just told myself I had to write something. I hate it when I get tangled up in words.
Funny, I never managed to make that deadline either. I don’t think I could review a book I like in four sentences if my life depended on it. Actually there’s not much I can say in four sentences about anything. (Can we say verbose?)
That being said, I ordered the book based on your review, even though I was never going to order another book on writing. You had me at “I consider it the equal of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird”, my all-time fave and one of the few in my collection I re-read.
Everything I write gets cut by half. Or should. One of these days I’ll write a piece about a couple of reviews I did for Story Circle. They were published anyway. Really quite embarrassing when I realized what I’d done and why I’d done it.
I hope you enjoy/enjoyed Broom. It’s different from Bird, but I gained some insights and had others reinforced. I respect Peacock’s concern about ethics and morality with respect to writing. She made me feel better about what I’m trying to do, which is all I really want from a book about writing. (I’m always never going to buy another book on writing.)
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