Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper

Three Rivers Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-307-34170-9.
Reviewed by Sharon Lippincott
Posted on 08/13/2008

Nonfiction: Life Lessons; Nonfiction: Creative Life

SARK, poster child for Coloring Outside the Lines and succulence, has scored another hit, and this time she squirts her juiciness directly into the souls of life story writers. The lengthy subtitle of her fifteenth volume, Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper, is Gifting the world with your words and stories, and creating the time and energy to actually do it. In her inimitable style, words flow in every color of the rainbow, enhanced with her trademark doodles and fillips.

Throughout the book, words tumble forth like frolicking children. That's how SARK is: bubbly, exuberant, colorful and juicy. She makes readers believe they can achieve their dreams because she has done the seemingly impossible herself. Like her other books, this one sounds like it's written by the nicest, most lovable cheerleader you could ever hope to meet. I felt like I was standing at a kindergarten painting easel as I read, and although I've already written stacks of stories, she inspires me to write more, to keep "moving my tools," and trying new ways of writing.

Beneath the exuberant veneer, the book contains solid, useful advice, helping the timid get those tools moving through first drafts. She gives instructions for teaching friends and family how to be helpful to budding writers. She explains how to fit writing into over-crowded schedules. She convinces us we do dare write about That! She explores ways of making our writing real and going deeper. She includes project management tips and oodles of writing prompts.

Although this is not specifically a workbook, she includes space to do some of the exercises she recommends, and peppers the pages with inspirational quotes. At the end of the book, she includes interviews with five other writers, each with a uniquely visual style of writing. She tells how she produces her own books and fills eight pages with resources for writers, including self-publishing sites, writing tips, inspiration, and supplies. She also lists writers' organizations, retreats, music for writers, and thirty-three recommended books.

I will use her book as an example of Extreme Colorful Writing in workshops and classes I teach.

It is worth noting that while SARK's wildly colorful, handwritten pages excite and inspire most people, some find their busyness overstimulating, even hard to read.

SARK (Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy) is the bestselling author and artist of fifteen books, including the national best-sellers Succulent Wild Woman, Bodacious Book of Succulence, Eat Mangoes Naked, and more. She is an acclaimed speaker and teacher, and is the CEO and founder of Planet SARK, a thriving business that promotes empowered living. Visit her website.

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