After beginning the novel Still Writing by Dani Shapiro, we discussed as a class the fundamental take aways from each vignette. It was very intriguing to learn that as a well known writer, she did not have any direction when writing. She did not know where she was going, and she couldn’t, if she wanted to write well. She compared her writing to driving… How when you are driving you can only see as far as your headlights go, which is similar to writing because you may have an idea in your mind, but you can only take it one step at a time if you do not want to lose yourself in the process. Shapiro mentions the values of having a routine, and the slow and steady process of writing. She also discussed the importance of having a place. A room of one’s own, as Virginia Woolf might have called it. I think this is sage advice, everyone needs to have their own place if they want to write, but at the same time they should change scenery every once in a while. A different venue causes a stimulation of senses. Such as writing at the edge of a brook, listening to the rustling water, and hearing the song birds from the trees above. You can feel the warmth of sun beams dancing on your cheek, take your sandals off, roll up your pant legs, and stick your toes in the refreshingly cool rippling water. Maybe you happen to be chewing a peanut butter filled granola bar. But that place is your own for the moment, and can allow your mind to think freely. Free of distraction from electronics or the hustle and bustle of a city. You can spend hours by the stream, and be in a blissful state. Who said you have to be miserable to write? Shapiro said her motive to write was brought forth by her parents. But, she grew up, she survived her childhood and moved in with her friends. Who acted as a surrogate family, and allowed her to be happy and she continued to write. Write for your past, present, and future and you may discover yourself in the process. Your spirit that shines through in your words. After all we are still writing, and rewriting our lives, each word, sentence, paragraph… Editing, reviewing, critiquing, and embracing. We are in a vulnerable state when we write, but that is because we are putting our inner thoughts to life on the page.