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Voice of Her Own: Women and the Journal Writing Journey [Paperback]

Marlene A. Schiwy , Marion Woodman
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
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From Library Journal

Part how-to, part historical account, literary scholar Schiwy's work validates women's need to keep a journal and, as such, their need to express emotions. "Journal writing is a way of paying close attention to our lives," she writes. From preteen diaries to unsent letters and invented dialogs, women record their lives, and Schiwy allows the voyeuristic pleasure of reading the results, from Anais Nin's deep introspection to a mother coping with life. For women who want to keep a journal but don't know how to start, Schiwy's appendixes are leaps into self-actualization. In the tradition of Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones (Shambhala, 1986), Schiwy gives writers the ever-needed boost of self-confidence: her goal is to encourage "women to take themselves and other women seriously in their own right." Read better in pieces, her work is a keeper. Recommended for public libraries.?Penny L. Piva, Univ. of Massachusetts, Dartmouth
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Why do women keep journals? Both diarists and women puzzled by an urge to begin journal writing will benefit from reading Schiwy's lively overview of an increasingly popular, often transforming habit. A diarist herself for nearly three decades and a journal workshop innovator, Schiwy considers every aspect of journal keeping, from how and why keeping a journal can make life more meaningful to various types of journals and writing styles. She offers advice about choosing blank books, keeping a journal private, and deciding when to reread old journals. Schiwy also delves into the history of women diarists and discusses the many reasons women keep diaries at different stages of life. Just the act of setting aside a block of time, however brief, to focus on and freely express thoughts and feelings is psychically healthy, but journals also "affirm the value of lives," preserve memories and dreams, and help women perceive emotional and physiological patterns in their lives, work out problems, and, frankly, record observations that are too sharp to share. Donna Seaman

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Across the continent, countless women are writing diaries and journals. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
This is such a lovely read, I enjoyed it thoroughly and always looked forward to getting back to it. Schiwy has a psychoanalytic approach and an accessible writing style that bond together beautifully. She mixes techniques, encouragement, and deep thinking about why and how women can keep journals. The excerpts from various journals merge seamlessly with her own text, and I am now enjoying researching some of the journals to which she has introduced me. An appendix gives a long list of journal-writing topics, corresponding to the chapter themes, and the endnotes and bibliography are similarly extensive.
Schiwy demonstrates such respect and love for the women's journals into which she has either peeked or delved, she sidesteps the voyeuristic aspect of reading someone else's most private words. Perhaps to narrow her theme, Schiwy focuses on women's journals, but using a journal to break free of patriarchic strangleholds is not limited to women only, and I found some of the feminism to come dangerously near to male-bashing, so gents, approach with caution. Some of these journals are from famous women; some are the you and me of the secret society of diarists. Still, women's journals should not be of interest only to women, so gents, take the plunge along with us! This is both a practical and a theoretical handbook, one of the best overviews of journal writing I've had the pleasure to read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but overly psychoanalytical in tone July 13 1998
By A Customer
Interesting history of womens' journal writing, with a few (mildly) interesting journal exercises thrown in. I felt the book got overly philosophical, psychoanalytical, and "deep" at times. I also did not care for the author passing on advice as to what kind of journal to buy, when to reread old ones, etc. as that, in my opinion, makes the whole idea of keeping a journal too "woo-woo", or ritualistic. (I have kept a journal before, don't have any rituals about it, and don't feel that it makes me spiritually superior to everyone else!)The best part of this book, in my opinion, was the snippets from other published women's diaries, and the excellent bibliography!! That alone is worth the price of the book.
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By A Customer
I felt as though I were guided by a caring friend throughout the ins and outs of journal keeping. That Ms.Schiwy illuminates the many different ways to keep a journal and, as well, the different reasons why someone would benefit emotionally as well as spiritually, is a plus. Perhaps we all could just pick up any old book and take pen in hand, and nothing would be wrong with that , be she makes the adventure of recording one's thoughts much more interesting and potentially more creative by her suggestions. Added highlights are excerpts from other women's journals, as well as her own. A must have book for anyone looking to undwerstand themselves better through the art of journal writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Work! April 6 2001
By H. Rose
This is not a "how-to" book AT ALL. (It could be used that way if you want it to be that sort of book - and it would probably be among the best!) It's a book about all that it means to be a woman and to keep a journal while living a life. Absolutely wonderful work - great thinking and great writing. If you've kept a journal, or have possesion of a family members journal, if you've ever wanted to keep a journal, or if you wonder what journal keeping is all about - this is a first rate book.
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