Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

WRITING WITH YOUR EVER-PRESENT MUSE

75 CATALYTIC READS, WISDOM POCKETS, AND LIVING EXPERIMENTS

An original and thoughtful guide for writers.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Friesen offers a journey through the experiential side of writing, led by one’s inner source of inspiration, or “ever-present muse.”

There’s no shortage of books on the writing craft, but many of them focus on its technical aspects while failing to consider the undefinable spark that separates good writers from great ones. Friesen focuses on this spark, or “muse,” in a guide designed to help artists strip away the artifice, doubt, and distraction that may be impeding their writing. Using the analogy of a flower, she presents five petals, or stages, in the growth of a writer: “Opening to Wonder,” “Risking the Heart,” “Following the Energy,” “Freeing the Mind,” and “Expressing With Presence.” To enrich readers’ understanding of each stage, she splits them into 15 topics, such as “Re-enchanting the Familiar” and “Tailored Expression,” intended to deepen writers’ understanding of their muse. Throughout, the author effectively engages readers with reflection as well as writing practice. “Catalytic Reads” begins with an enticement to “Experience This” or envision an environment in which they are one with their craft; “Wisdom Pockets” contains more practical writing advice, and “Living Experiments” encourage readers to try different exercises to employ new lessons. Friesen’s approach can feel a bit esoteric at times, but it also provides tremendous practical insight, shedding new light on common writing challenges, such as distraction, revision, and finding one’s voice. She also encourages writers to confront barriers to their potential, such as self-delusion, and occasionally adds humor to her advice to move writing beyond fear to a more joyous artistic experience.

An original and thoughtful guide for writers.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: June 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • IndieBound Bestseller

A WEALTH OF PIGEONS

A CARTOON COLLECTION

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Awards & Accolades

Likes

  • Readers Vote
  • 12


Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT


  • IndieBound Bestseller

The veteran actor, comedian, and banjo player teams up with the acclaimed illustrator to create a unique book of cartoons that communicates their personalities.

Martin, also a prolific author, has always been intrigued by the cartoons strewn throughout the pages of the New Yorker. So when he was presented with the opportunity to work with Bliss, who has been a staff cartoonist at the magazine since 1997, he seized the moment. “The idea of a one-panel image with or without a caption mystified me,” he writes. “I felt like, yeah, sometimes I’m funny, but there are these other weird freaks who are actually funny.” Once the duo agreed to work together, they established their creative process, which consisted of working forward and backward: “Forwards was me conceiving of several cartoon images and captions, and Harry would select his favorites; backwards was Harry sending me sketched or fully drawn cartoons for dialogue or banners.” Sometimes, he writes, “the perfect joke occurs two seconds before deadline.” There are several cartoons depicting this method, including a humorous multipanel piece highlighting their first meeting called “They Meet,” in which Martin thinks to himself, “He’ll never be able to translate my delicate and finely honed droll notions.” In the next panel, Bliss thinks, “I’m sure he won’t understand that the comic art form is way more subtle than his blunt-force humor.” The team collaborated for a year and created 150 cartoons featuring an array of topics, “from dogs and cats to outer space and art museums.” A witty creation of a bovine family sitting down to a gourmet meal and one of Dumbo getting his comeuppance highlight the duo’s comedic talent. What also makes this project successful is the team’s keen understanding of human behavior as viewed through their unconventional comedic minds.

A virtuoso performance and an ode to an undervalued medium created by two talented artists.

Pub Date: Nov. 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-26289-9

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Celadon Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

MAGIC WORDS

WHAT TO SAY TO GET YOUR WAY

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Want to get ahead in business? Consult a dictionary.

By Wharton School professor Berger’s account, much of the art of persuasion lies in the art of choosing the right word. Want to jump ahead of others waiting in line to use a photocopy machine, even if they’re grizzled New Yorkers? Throw a because into the equation (“Excuse me, I have five pages. May I use the Xerox machine, because I’m in a rush?”), and you’re likely to get your way. Want someone to do your copying for you? Then change your verbs to nouns: not “Can you help me?” but “Can you be a helper?” As Berger notes, there’s a subtle psychological shift at play when a person becomes not a mere instrument in helping but instead acquires an identity as a helper. It’s the little things, one supposes, and the author offers some interesting strategies that eager readers will want to try out. Instead of alienating a listener with the omniscient should, as in “You should do this,” try could instead: “Well, you could…” induces all concerned “to recognize that there might be other possibilities.” Berger’s counsel that one should use abstractions contradicts his admonition to use concrete language, and it doesn’t help matters to say that each is appropriate to a particular situation, while grammarians will wince at his suggestion that a nerve-calming exercise to “try talking to yourself in the third person (‘You can do it!’)” in fact invokes the second person. Still, there are plenty of useful insights, particularly for students of advertising and public speaking. It’s intriguing to note that appeals to God are less effective in securing a loan than a simple affirmative such as “I pay all bills…on time”), and it’s helpful to keep in mind that “the right words used at the right time can have immense power.”

Perhaps not magic but appealing nonetheless.

Pub Date: March 7, 2023

ISBN: 9780063204935

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Harper Business

Review Posted Online: March 23, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

Close Quickview