2015 TBR Challenge – BRAVE ON THE PAGE Review

2015tbrbuttonMy third review for the Official 2015 TBR Pile Challenge is BRAVE ON THE PAGE; Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life edited by Laura Stanfill.

The goal of this challenge is “to finally read 12 books from your ‘to be read’ pile within twelve months”. To qualify for the challenge, books must be read and reviewed before the year is over, and all selections must have publishing dates from the year 2013 or older. (Here are the books I’ll be reading this year.)

I met the editor, Laura, through mutual blog admiration a few years ago. When she decided to take the plunge into creating her own small press, I applauded her efforts and followed her progress with great interest. This book is the first book her imprint, Forest Avenue Press, ever produced, but it is far from the last. They’ve actually opened their submissions nationally for the first time this past January. Based in Portland, Oregon, this imprint definitely has a Northwest flair and all the more reason for me to love it.

On to the review!

Brave on the PageBRAVE ON THE PAGE; Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life edited by Laura Stanfill

Published by: Forest Avenue Press

Release Date: October 2012

Genres: Writing Reference

Plot Summary:

Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life is a homegrown writers’ resource featuring interviews and essays by forty-two authors, including Scott Sparling, Yuvi Zalkow, Bart King, Gina Ochsner, Kristy Athens, Joanna Rose and Jon Bell.

“If one was not aware of the vibrant literary community that exists within the state of Oregon, then Brave on the Page would be the perfect introduction to the varied literary voices from the state’s working writers,” said the Los Angeles Review’s Renee K. Nicholson. “Separated into three sections, the first and third consisting of interviews and the second made up of flash essays, this book offers interesting advice and inspiration from journalists, novelists, middle-grade authors, poets, nonfiction writers, writer-activists, short story writers, and all kind of writers in-between.”

“For any aspiring writer who feels lonely at the keyboard, Brave on the Page is a treasure trove of inspiration and advice on the writing life that will without a doubt encourage,” said Portland Book Review reviewer Kristen Leigh. “In an artfully curated collection of interviews and flash essays written by Oregon writers and edited by Laura Stanfill, authors speak candidly with equal parts depth and grace about their craft.” (Plot summary from Goodreads.)

This book not only made me long to move back to Portland, it let me know that when I arrived, I would find a welcoming and supportive writing community. (ALMOST as fantastic as the one I have here in Oklahoma.)

Through many of the writer interviews, you learn that these artists believe in paying things forward, in giving back to their creative community and helping the newer writers along their own journey. I just love that sense of support and encouragement. Writing is HARD! You need mentors to guide you and encourage you.

Through the essays you find inspiration and kindred spirits. Here’s an excerpt from the eponymous essay, “Brave on the Page” by Kristen Forbes:

My writing comes from a place of terror and inadequacy. A few of the fears and insecurities that rattle in my brain on a regular basis: I’m afraid of death (and sometimes life). I’m afraid of failure (and also success). I’m afraid of pushing myself forward (but stagnation, too). I’m afraid of the idea that I may never fully know someone. I’m afraid that no one may ever fully know me. I’m afraid of silly things: technology and gossip. I’m afraid of bigger things: aging and loneliness. I’m frequently afraid of the world. I’m often afraid of myself.

On the page I don’t just write my own endings – I write my own beginnings and middles, too. I’m not at the mercy of things beyond my control; I’m allowed to tell whatever story I want to tell, unconfined by the paralyzing thoughts that plague me in real life.My fictional characters are braver than I’ll ever be.

Then there is the practical writing advice that is unique and interesting. When asked how he captured such intense physical scenes so well in his writing, author of WIRE TO WIRE Scott Sparling said, “I remember Robert Stone saying that the description of a fight is always more of a poem than prose, and that was useful to me.” How fascinating.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great job, Laura!

Learn more about Laura Stanfill here.

Follow Laura on Twitter here.


I am a little behind in posting my reviews, as you can see with this March TBR book post. April’s TBR Challenge book is already finished and waiting to be posted. I shall do this very soon! Dying to crack open May’s book – SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater.

How are your yearly reading challenges going? Read any good books, lately?

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