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Youngstown OhioA Dangerous Profession: A Book About the Writing Life
Published: 02 November, 1999
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Author: Frederick Busch
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I hate to say it, but i struggled through this book. I was looking for a book with more advice; more substance---a book I could sink my teeth into. "A Dangerous Profession" was NOT the one.

For us [brave enough to ADMIT it] wannabe 'writers', there are better books than this:.....There are too many books about creative writing to mention. But if I had the chance to 'do-it-over', I would NOT buy this book.

Youngstown Ohio Busch gets inside the writer's mind

The very title is a challenge. "A Dangerous Profession." About writing? What's so dangerous? Suffocation by towers of manuscripts? Rejection of your work by editors? Paper cuts? Who does Frederick Busch think he is; Richard Branson?

No, what this university author's talking about in this collection of pieces are those writers who take risks with their works. Not to write the next potboiling, page-turning best-seller, but something more lasting and more personal. These are writers who live out their lives according to a sort of literary DNA, doing what they must at whatever cost to themselves.

There's Herman Melville, who felt himself finished at age 33 because the book he believed in, "Moby Dick," had earned him "the scorn of reviewers -- they questioned his sanity as well as his skill -- and, by the end of his life, a total of $157." There's Graham Greene's exquisite career writing about how we betray love, loyalty, ourselves. Or, as Busch puts it: "follies were his subject matter, finally -- how, in love, we betray the beloved; how, worshiping God, or a god, or a hope of one, we betray that hope or wish; how, striving to do good, we cause damage."

There's Charles Dickens, whose "David Copperfield" is nothing less than a novel about writing and the power of the written and spoken word can hold over its audience. The novel is also a reflection of the man himself, who carried on stage readings of his works that would leave him exhausted and probably hastened his end. That's writing capable of killing.

But Busch doesn't sustain the promise implied by the title, so the book's not a dirge. He leavens it by including essays on bad popular writing and bad literary criticism, memoirs recalling his early literary career, and a short humorous look at the writer's life from the point of view of the (usually) long-suffering wife.

It's tough to explain to someone who doesn't write why putting words on paper can be so difficult, why writers can turn into divas in their self-absorption and why those who work so hard to become so good seem capable of sacrificing so much. Busch's look at the writing life reminds us why it is so.

Youngstown Ohio very informative

You should read this book if you are a beginning writer who wants assurance that others too have written and been rejected over and over again. IF you think you would like to be a novelist to have glamour, fame, and fortune, than read on so that you can persuade yourself to go into another line of work.

Frederick Busch knows about the dangers of writing, he is a best selling author of more than twenty works of fiction and non- fiction, but you do not see him on nightly TV. Busch examines what makes him and the writers that he admires including Charles Dickens, Herman Melville and Ernest Hemingway continue to write in the darkest hours. The reason is simply to share stories. Busch is the writer of the sixteen essays that are in the book. If a writer is honest with himself, he hopes that what he writes will be interesting to the readers.

Called a Notable book of 1998 by the New York Times, A Dangerous Profession will captivate writers and readers alike, inspiring them to pick up books that they would not normally want to read, which has been the case with me. I would recommend this book to any one who likes to read.

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