Book Review: Dancing on the Head of a Pen

Dancing on the Head of a Pen: The Practice of the Writing Life
by Robert Benson

I’m a little embarrassed to confess this, but Robert Benson’s book, Dancing on the Head of a Pen, is perhaps the first time as an author I’ve braved reading a book on writing.  Maybe I was mistaken, thinking surely these books focused on mechanics or practicalities.  Maybe I was fearful, worried that I’d be pushed to write a certain way, with a certain schedule or technique, and I’d end up shoving myself into ill-fitting authorial clothes.dancingontheheadofapen

I was wrong.  This is a beautiful book, straightforward, easy-to-read, but so thoughtful.  I drifted through it slowly.  It felt less like a tutorial or a lecture and more like a chat on a park bench.  He seemed to say, “So, you’re a writer?  This is what I’ve found works for me after all these years and so many books.  What works for you?”

He shares a bit on the life of a writer, the disciplines of a writer, the heart of a writer.  He encourages writers to read–read well and read carefully and shares some of his favorites.  His writing life sounds entirely different than mine.  I’m this young mom with four kids, a noisy home, a noisy life.  My time for writing is dictated by external schedules.  I felt, at times as I read, a little wistful.  Wouldn’t it be nice to take random strolls into the woods or turn over soil in the garden and linger over my favorite books and spend time on the crossword each day?  And yet, I take the principle well.  I can’t ignore the inspiration my soul needs.

I loved this book, loved the practical advice, loved the humor, loved the understanding and kindred connection, loved the inspiration.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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