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Danielle Polgar, M.A.


What I'm Reading

I'm a writer.

There, I said it.

Whether I'm good or not is of no consequence. I write. It feels as natural as breathing. 

When I was in the 6th grade I began writing my memoir with a pencil in a spiral bound notebook. I changed the names of the characters in my family so no one would know, but the plot was a dead giveaway.

I threw that notebook out in high school. I went on to write in journals and eventually threw some of those away when I got married. These dumb acts were done out of fear of being found out, of people knowing the pain of my story. I even stopped journaling on paper for a few years while I was married, and instead wrote emails to myself because it felt safer there. I took up writing again shortly after my divorce as a way of processing my new reality. I recorded my thoughts and experiences as if in preparation for an upcoming movie script.

Then in 2011 I started a blog,, which was my attempt at slowly coming out of the closet as a writer. The blog has morphed into a collection of images that inspire me and speak to how I experience the world.

Last September, I turned in my graduate thesis titled "Cultivating Self-Compassion Through Therapeutic Writing". This idea emerged after taking a workshop with the Amherst Writers and Artists. This workshop blew my creative socks off and sent me soaring into my past, collecting moments with my pen and paper. I brought back the dead of my past through my writing, a revisitation that served as healing balm to my aged wounds.

Of the many books I read while writing my thesis (1 of 3 thesis papers I wrote), were Stephen King's On Writing, Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones, and Pat Schneider's, How the Light Gets In. Now I have a new book to add to my list of writing reference books: Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. It's real, it's raw. It's snarky and yet profound. It's writing is aesthetically beautiful and easy on the eyes, much like music to your ears, but more like food for your mind and spirit.

If you enjoy reading, read all of these books. If you enjoy writing, consider them necessary to honing your craft. 

I went bonkers underlining phrases and shaking my head in agreement, even at times laughing out loud at her commentary and truth. Of my favorite bits, this one stands out most at the moment:

So go ahead and make big scrawls and mistakes. Use up lots of paper. Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend.

Now that this book is a coveted member of my growing collection, I am excited to explore her other writing.