A Writer’s Story of Finding Her Voice (and a Guide to How You Can Too)
Theo Pauline Nestor
“At its best, writing comes from the wild place,” says Theo Pauline Nestor in her new book, Writing is My Drink.
William Zinsser says that “warmth and humanity” are marks of good writing. Nestor writes with both, but would probably put “honesty” at the top of her list:
“When we tell our own stories in an honest way, we give permission to others to tell their stories honestly as well.”
Writing is My Drink is Nestor’s story of “finding her [own] voice” and learning to write honestly. Honestly, without fear, and without the need for approval. That’s the kind of writing that comes from “the wild place.”
While this is Theo’s memoir and not a how-to book, it’s full of encouragement and tips for aspiring writers, especially fearful aspiring writers. Chapters even end with lists of writing activities that come from the author’s years of experience as a writer and writing teacher. The author (who probably rolls her eyes at being called “the author”) even invites readers to send her their work. If one were to complete all of the activities, including sending their writing to Ms. Nestor, they would get at least a semester’s worth of learning.
Besides inspiring fearless writers, Ms. Nestor also wants to make clear that memoir is a legitimate form of literature. Well written non-fiction is no less an art than poetry. While Nestor says that memoir is “a form that tends to be more compelling to women readers and writers than to their male counterparts,” this male counterpart can enjoy anyone’s story when it is well written–especially when it connects in some way to my own story. And if it’s written with honesty, then it probably does.
When it comes to learning, most of us prefer a story to a rule book. Theo Nestor gives us a story, one that will leave you encouraged and wanting to write.