Writers and Their Notebooks
by Diana M. Raab
The University of South Carolina Press

"For the most part, the words on the pages of a journal are the music and voice of one's true emotions."

Writers and Their Notebooks is a reading treat for writers and non-writers alike. Diana M. Raab, an essayist, memoirist, poet and instructor in the UCLA Extension Writers' Program, has edited a compilation of essays written by published writers, in regard to their use of notebooks, also referred to as journals.

Writers use their notebooks in different ways. In the first essay, James Brown says, "For me the journal is a tool—a stepping stone to a larger, more refined work... ." Sue Grafton agrees: "This notebook (usually four times longer than the novel itself) is like a letter to myself, detailing every idea that occurs to me as I proceed." Kathryn Wilkens states: "My journal gives me freedom to write without restrictions." Although diaries have been published, such as Virginia Woolf, May Sarton, Anne Frank and John Cheever, most of today' authors prefer the safe private haven a writing notebook provides.

Writing notebooks come in all sizes. Small ones are carried by writers in order to capture the illusive perfect word or phrase. Although many writers prefer to write in longhand, others type their entries into the computer. Kim Stafford suggests that, "The pocket notebook is for the hint, the computer for the deluge."

Writers and Their Notebooks  is a collection of honest, thoughtful essays. Writers will be able to relate to the different perspectives, and non-writers will find the essays interesting and informative. At book signings, people often question the writing process of the author. Raab's book provides answers for those readers through these well-crafted essays.

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