Laurel-Rain's Reviews > Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life

Seducing the Demon by Erica Jong
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's review
Aug 10, 2008

really liked it
Read from June 26 to 28, 2011

A writer's life may be a solitary one, but in Erica Jong's testament to how writing saved her life, we learn about how the anecdotes of one's life can fill the pages and "people" the writer's world. In the company of one's characters, then, the writer isn't really alone. Writing can also be a way to assuage the pain of difficult childhoods and "reinvent" those times in our lives that are dreary, depressing, or during which we feel powerless.

There is power in the written word, and using that power to narrate one's life or the lives of those we meet along the way brings us (the writers) a unique perspective of those events. Jong says there is really not much of a distinction between autobiography and fiction, as the two seem interchangeable at times. In other words, we use real-life events in our stories, but we also embellish and fictionalize them.

Through doing so, we alleviate the pain of these real events.

She illustrates this by mentioning how "writing was a way of reinventing my own childhood. I could make it more horrible than it was and heal myself that way. Or I could make it better than it was. Both approaches can be curative. In writing, I had power over the very people who made me feel utterly powerless when I was a child. Even the most horrible childhood can be made tolerable just by writing about it."

Throughout this memoir that feels like a guidebook to understanding what drives writers, I was quite intrigued by how she came to write her various works, and specifically, how "Fear of Flying" came about. As a person who came of age during that time, I applaud the moxie it took for her to tell this story, especially during that particular time in history. The fact that the book is still read and selling tells us something about its appeal and the freedom it represents.

"Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life" earned four stars from me. I recommend it for other writers, especially those who simply enjoy knowing more about an individual writer's voice.
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Laurel-Rain Thanks, Rhonda Rae....

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