Curé: Remedies & Resources for Writers & Other Creative Minds
No matter the medium or the genre, every writer and creative person across fields has a trusted collection of resources they rely on to conceive and create their art. Sometimes the anchors change, and the coveted items that once defined your imaginative world can shift further down the shelves. For me, nomad that I am, I have had to cull and re-cull that collection again and again, depending on the project and on where I was geographically at the time. Research for writing, readings, teaching, and editing projects can transport you across the globe, and you never know what you may need to carry along.
Note to self: heavy Oxford-sized dictionaries don’t travel very well.
And despite the age of Kindles and Nooks, I am still an old school, hands on writer and reader. I like the weight of books in my hand, love the feel of paper across my palms and fingertips. Few things can rival the scent of old books or the comfort in reading the printed word on the page. Reading is a gift I am ever grateful to have. I know all too well that it is not one that my own ancestors have always had, nor one that is bestowed on everyone in our world.
Some of the books and resources I have relied on over my writing journey I no longer have, but the following is a list of those that I can recommend as being not only comforting in my research and writing, but also very helpful no matter what project I’m completing.
The Dictionary of American Regional English (multiple volumes) – my initial collection ended prematurely, as the publisher’s funding had run out before they completed the series, a great investment over the years (and of course, the prices weren’t so dear then!)
Rhyming Dictionary – essential for those who enjoy exploring sestinas, pantoums, and ghazals
Various Dictionaries of Superstitions and folklore, as well as several handbooks on poisonous plants (don’t ask!)
Collections of old maps of my hometown and of other settings in my work
Diaries and Dictionaries from colonialists who lived and worked in Africa – some of the earliest language guides came from the traders who needed to be relatively fluent in multiple tongues
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King as well as other books published by editors and anthologists in my field.
I highly recommend Samuel R. Delany’s About Writing: Seven Essays, Four Letters, & Five Interviews, Ursula K. Le Guin’s Steering the Craft: Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing for the Lone Navigator or the Mutinous Crew, Stephen King’s On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, Jeff VanderMeer’s Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction, and any essays by Alice Walker. Reading the latter is instruction in a category of its own.
What other great resources do you recommend?