Writing from the Heart:
Tapping the Power of Your Inner Voice

by Nancy Slonim Aronie

Hyperion, 1998. ISBN 0786882875.
Reviewed by Donna Van Straten Remmert
Posted on 11/15/2004

Nonfiction: Creative Life

Nancy Aronie doesn't mince words as she shares her life experiences and invites her readers to reflect upon theirs. Having used this book as a resource in my Story Circle Network writing circle, I know that it inspires, motivates, and entertains in ways that can seem nothing short of transformational.

The easiest way to demonstrate the whimsical humor in Writing from the Heart is to glance at the chapter titles. My favorites are "Yesterday's Soup"; "To Thine Own Self, Write the Bloody Truth"; "Are you There, Gut? It's Me, Margaret"; and "Just for the Smell of It". These chapters and all the others smack at truth and the human condition in safe, humorous ways that invite introspection and encourage shifts in one's perspective.

Though humor is ever present in her book, Aronie challenges her readers to go deep into themselves to discover their profound truths as well. The book is an excellent guide for learning how to communicate your authentic self in writing. I especially like the way the author presents the writing exercises, sharing her life story to encourage readers to take the risk of sharing theirs.

Writing from the Heart is an outstanding resource for writing memoir, but it is not restricted to that type of writing. Instead, it is a guide for any genre requiring knowledge of oneself and an authentic voice. Is it, therefore, an excellent guide for writers of every genre? I think so. I loved reading and working with this book. You will, too.

You may wonder where you've heard this author's name before. Aronie is a commentator for NPR's "All Things Considered" who founded the Chilmark Writing Workshop on Martha's Vineyard, where she lives. She also has distinguished herself as a notable author and workshop leader. I'll admit to feeling slightly covetous of her successful career as I browsed through my latest catalog from Omega—an esteemed retreat center—and noticed that she is booked for 2005 workshops in Austin, Costa Rica, and Maho Bay in the Caribbean. Nice life, right? For her complete calendar and to read more about this fantastic woman who also has been a stage actress and stand-up comic, go to her website.

Check out our interview with the author of Writing From the Heart.

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