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Writing About Your Life: A Journey into the Past

Zinsser, William

Marlowe and Company
Published:March 10, 2005

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Description: From Publishers Weekly
Zinsser, author of a classic guide for nonfiction authors, On Writing Well, looks back on his own years of professional writing, glossing selections from his past articles with advice for would-be memoirists. He begins with impressionistic sketches of his WWII experiences as a young army private in North Africa and Italy. Next he details his 13-year career at the New York Herald Tribune, where he wrote drama and movie features. He draws humorously and self-effacingly on his impromptu role as an extra for Woody Allen in Stardust Memories. With quietly witty insights into academic life, Zinsser charts years spent teaching at Yale while writing freelance for magazines such as Look. An account of his service as an editor at the Book-of-the-Month Club includes a history of that venerable institution. Finally Zinsser brings us up-to-date with his recent rebirth as a public pianist. To follow one's heart is Zinsser's most enduring piece of advice. In writing he recommends dwelling on "small, self-contained incidents" and making use of anecdotes and vivid memories. When discussing capturing places in print, he comments usefully on the changing trends of the travel genre (increased political correctness). Zinsser is warmly appreciative of other well-known memoirists and their organizational methods, admiring in particular Thoreau, Frank McCourt, Mary Karr and Annie Dillard. While his frank, affirmative and encouraging style will help anyone embarking on writing their own life story, his book will be especially useful to those of his own generation.
Copyright # Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.--This text refers to the

Hardcover edition.

Product Description:
This highly original book by William Zinsser, author of the classic guide On Writing Well, tells you how to write about the people and places and events in your life that have been important to you-whether you're writing a memoir, a family history or just a recollection of experiences you'd like to preserve or more fully understand. Zinsser's method is to take you on a memoir of his own: 13 chapters in which he recalls dramatic, amusing and often inspiring moments in his long and unusually varied life as a writer, editor, teacher and traveler.

Along the way in these memoirs William Zinsser pauses to explain the technical decisions he made as he wrote them. They are the same decisions you'll have to make as you write about your own life: matters of selection, condensation, focus, attitude, voice and tone. Written with elegance, warmth and humor, Writing About Your Life gives you the tools to organize and recover your past and the confidence to believe in your life narrative. It also gives you permission-through the example of a life enriched by change and risk-to make bold life choices of your own.

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