Words I Wish I Wrote: A Collection of Writing That Inspired My Ideas

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9780060175603: Words I Wish I Wrote: A Collection of Writing That Inspired My Ideas

Robert Fulghum's books All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It, Uh-Oh, Maybe (Maybe Not) and From Beginning to End have struck a chord with readers everywhere, making him one of the bestselling authors of our time with six New York Times bestsellers in a row. There are currently more than 14 million copies of these books in print in 27 languages and 93 countries.

In Words I Wish I Wrote, Fulghum reveals the works of writers who have inspired him. As he says, "When I look deep beneath my declarations I see the underlying thoughts of others. As hard as I have tried to speak in my own voice, I realize now that nothing I have said is original or unique. My expressions echo and imitate the statements of others. Thought is forever being revived, recycled and renewed. I have found that someone else has always been this way before me. And they have spoken of the way in words I wish I had written, in language I could not improve upon."

The confirming statements, quotes and credos that influenced Fulghum through the years are collected here, organized thematically into such sections as Companions, God, Bene-Dictions, Contra-Dictions, Simplify and Believe. Each section begins with a short introductory essay by Fulghum followed by inspiring passages drawn from a diverse group of sources, from Jerry Garcia to Albert Camus, Dylan Thomas to Franz Kafka, Marcel Proust to Beatrix Potter. In addition, at the end of each section, Fulghum offers readers his own personal commentary on the sources.

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Review:

Robert Fulghum, the part-time Unitarian minister whose gentle and humorous stories have made him a bestselling author many times over (beginning with All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten), pays tribute to the writers who inspired him in Words I Wish I Wrote. He confesses that at one particularly low moment in the late '50s, he was dredged up from the Slough of Despond by reading the works Albert Camus, whose gaze over a deeper abyss gave Fulghum hope. It was that experience that led Fulghum to seek out writings with uplifting messages. The result is this compilation of brief passages from the likes of Wallace Stevens ("After the final no there comes a yes"), Tom Robbins ("Real courage is risking one's clichés"), and Buckminster Fuller ("God is a verb").

From the Inside Flap:

In Words I Wish I Wrote, Robert Fulghum reveals the works of writers who have inspired him. During the past four decades he's reviewed and revised the basic principles of his philosophy many times, sometimes as an exercise in personal growth, but more often in response to individual crisis. Then at fifty, seeking a simplicity to counter the complex thinking of his college years, Fulghum wrote a summary essay professing that all he really needed to know he learned in kindergarten. As he approached his sixtieth year, Fulghum became curious about what in his outlook had changed and what had endured.

On review, Fulghum explains, everything he has ever said and thought and written is transparent to him now. As hard as he has tried to speak in his own voice, much of what he's said is neither original nor unique. The best ideas are often old and are continually being revived, recycled, renewed. Wherever his search took him, Fulghum found that someone else has been there before. And more often than not, that person has chosen words Fulghum wishes he had written, using language he can't improve upon. To Fulghum, however, this isn't a discouraging realization. It's a recognition of companionship, which is an affirming consolation.

The confirming statements, quotes, and credos that Fulghum recorded in his journals for years are collected here, representing the most important ideas underlying his living and thinking. They are organized thematically into such chapters as Companions, God, Bene-Dictions, Contra-Dictions, Simplify, and Believe. Each begins with Fulghum's own insightful, introductory words, followed by inspiring passages drawn from a diverse group of sources, from Jerry Garcia toAlbert Camus, Dylan Thomas to Franz Kafka. At the end of each chapter, Fulghum offers readers his own personal commentary on the sources -- where he was introduced to their words, why he returns to them again and again, and how they may change you.

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