Sally Maria's Reviews > If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

If You Want to Write by Brenda Ueland
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's review
Jun 29, 10

Read in June, 2010

I had to read the book Carl Sandburg said was the best book ever on writing.

The poem that came:

If You Want To Write*
For Brenda Ueland (1891-1985)

I found you in a box,
broken now, mildewed,
packed with the crème,
books read in college
barely recollected,
dog eared pages,
notes in tea-stained
margins, a badge of honor
for any author.

I would have set you aside,
dismissed you as self-help,
thought you antiquated,
Book of the month,
had he not spoken of you
with reverence, perhaps
even awe, this scientist
to whom all things
must be proven.

I ate your words
as if I were starving,
this book, less about writing
than living or God, the real
God, God forgotten.

How I wish you had been
my teacher
who would have emblazoned
TRUTH in the middle of my forehead.
We would have exchanged letters
I couldn’t wait to open,
they would be saved,
tied with white ribbon,
put in a box I would carry
forever, mildewed, sacred.

*If you Want to Write: A book about art, independence and Spirit
by Brenda Ueland, 1938
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