Adding to my writing foundation, Sher’s book gave me additional tools for the toolbox that I started with King’s On Writing. I added a place to write, tools to write with, and keeping the writing environment sacred. All these gave stability to my writing. I write in my office at my writing desk, my writing resource books are lined up on the shelves along the wall, literally and figuratively backing me up.
But it was Sher’s attention to the sounds of words, the spirit of them, the power of them that makes me return to this book again and again. I love developing my writer’s ear—listening to words and conversations and using all my senses to build my writing vocabulary. A manager’s terse voice cuts through the din in a restaurant, “Who the hell wrote this up?” then swiftly changes in tone and cadence in answering the phone, “Good evening. Our dining room is open. How may I help you?” Or playing with words to find a favorite— sterling, delicious, gloom-draped. And finding the power of words. As Rabbi Alan Lew said, “We change the words as well when we use them, the way the shoe of a small child begins to express the shape of that child’s foot when it’s well worn.” How might my own words empower a reader?