cover image The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life

The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation Into the Writing Life

Julia Cameron. Putnam Publishing Group, $19.95 (236pp) ISBN 978-0-87477-937-0

In a flowing sequence of personal essays and exercises (many of them reprises from her bestselling The Artist's Way), Cameron seeks to help readers enjoy writing as a natural, joyful process. ""All of us have a sex drive. All of us have a drive to write."" She offers advice on how to get over the stiffness or outright paralysis that creeps in when people make writing a ""Big Deal."" Wholeheartedly believing in writing as a process that connects us to the divine, whether we experience that finer source as internal or external, Cameron is refreshingly real. She invites readers to make use of the interruptions and torments as well as the sensual pleasures of their lives (for example, through the creation of a real or imaginary ""Wall of Infamy,"" using memories of people who have hurt them) as a source of energy that can be focused to write their way ""clear of rage, frustration, and negativity."" Acknowledging that she is ""a sort of creative nurse practitioner,"" Cameron, telling the stories behind some of her own stories and poems, shows how writing can lead us down into the most vibrant parts of ourselves, to the very source of health. Although she covers much of the same territory she explored in The Artist's Way, Cameron's prose and anecdotes sparkle with fresh, lived experience, demonstrating that when the subject is creativity, a writer really can't enter the same stream twice. (Jan.)