Writing Past Dark: Envy, Fear, Distraction, and Other Dilemmas in the Writer's Life. New York: HarperCollins, 1994.
Writing Past Dark charts the emotional side of the writer's life. It is a writing companion to reach for when you feel lost, and want to regain access to the memories, images, and ideas inside you that are the fuel of strong writing. Friedman looks at the dilemmas a writer faces and shares the clues that can set you free. She explores envy, the ubiquitous writer's disease that turns you against your own work and your own self, and she offers advice on how to overcome it. She questions why we fall silent when we do, what persuades us to quit on a certain story or chapter, and how to regain faith in our work.
Writing Past Dark illuminates other secret, difficult, and very common emotions. Probing our fascination with the taboo, she looks at the urge to write about family and friends — the desire to discover on paper the very things we have never been able to say out loud — even while we are reluctant to hurt loved ones. She describes how our need to be perfect can make us mute. And, looking at writing school, she discusses the search for a mentor, the cult of technique, the realization of how we learn to become artists, and how we learn to become ourselves on the page. Personal, intimate, and thoughtful, Bonnie Friedman is a wise companion, also traveling through the night, sharing insights that can free you to keep writing, take risks, and experience the value of your own work.
"If you think writing is a lonely task and you can afford one book, buy this one."
—Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (Addison Wesley), edited by Janet Burroway
"[A] slim, excellent book on the emotional aspects of the writer's vocation . . . intimate, honest, liberating. "
"Friedman's elegant prose style makes Writing Past Dark a delicious experience for lovers of language."
—Copley News Service
"The caliber of Friedman's craft itself is instructive and invigorating - better than even Annie Dillard's in
The Writing Life."
—The Columbus Dispatch
"Bonnie Friedman's Writing Past Dark is wise, heartfelt, beautifully written. For anyone who has ever sat down
to write a piece of imaginative prose, it will radiate."
—David Leavitt, author of Family Dancing and The Indian Clerk
"Wise, practical, nurturing, and confident, Bonnie Friedman will be a funny, hard-nosed friend for those fretting with the difficulties of trying to be healthy writers. Writing Past Dark is an excellent, necessary, wonderful book."
—Ron Hansen, author of Mariette in Ecstasy
The Thief of Happiness: The Story of an Extraordinary Psychotherapy. Boston: Beacon
Insightful, ecstatic, and achingly honest, The Thief of Happiness is the story of one woman’s seven-year stint in psychotherapy. Bonnie Friedman’s journey begins with writer’s block—which almost magically cured—culminates in an extraordinary portrayal of the sharp paradox at the heart of the therapeutic relationship. The Thief of Happiness is a stunning exploration of the peculiar and passionate attachments that often develop between patient and therapist, and a profound portrait of how personal change actually happens.
—Francine Prose, O: The Oprah Magazine
"[E]xcellent in the way H.D."s [Tribute to Freud] is: it illuminates the intricate, murky relationship between therapy and real life. . . . Friedman is at her best when relaying the delicately nuanced exchanges that occur between the
patient and therapist. . . . The book could, like Anne Lamott"s Bird by Bird, develop a cult following."
"[S]trangely profound. . . . [an author] with a great eye for detail."
—Joshua Wolf Shenk, The Washington Post
The Best of O, The Oprah Magazine, editors of the Oprah Magazine (Oxmoor House, 2007).
The Best Spiritual Writing, edited by Philip Zaleski and Kathleen Norris (Harper San Francisco, 2000).
The Best American Movie Writing 1998, edited by George Plimpton (St. Martin’s Press, 1998).
The Best Writing on Writing, edited by Jack Heffron (Story Press, 1994).
About Face: 22 Women Writers Look in the Mirror and Talk About What They See, edited by Christina Baker Kline and Anne Burt (Seal Press, an imprint of Perseus, May 2008).
Jewish in America, edited by Sara Blair and Jonathan Freedman (The University of Michigan, 2003).
The Movies: Texts, Receptions, Exposures, edited by Laurence Goldstein (The University of Michigan, 1996).
New Readings in Late Medieval Love Poems, edited by David Chamberlain (University of Press America, 1993).
The Practical Stylist, With Readings (8th edition), edited by Sheridan Baker (Addison-Wesley, 1998).
Sister to Sister: Women Write About the Unbreakable Bond, edited by Patricia Foster (Anchor Books, 1997)
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft (4th edition), edited by Janet Burroway (Addison-Wesley, 1999).
Literary Nonfiction Essays
Ploughshares: “Becoming Visible,” Fall 2009.
The New York Times Op-Ed: “Reality Bites,” February 4, 2007.
The Chronicle of Higher Education: “The Fleeting Sweetness of Love and Writing,” May 13, 2005.
“Strange Alchemy: Hearing Past the Professor,” September 10, 2004.
The Michigan Quarterly Review: “My Jewish Perversion,” Winter 2003.
“Relinquishing Oz: Every Girl’s Anti-Adventure Story,” Winter 1996.
The Forward: “Hot Real Estate in the Land of the Dead,” December 29, 2000.
The New York Times Book Review: “Envy, the Writer’s Disease,” November 26, 1989, cover essay.
The New York Times
“Enthralled in Madrid, by Madrid,” November 11, 2002.
“Notes from Offshore,” on a visit to Block Island, October 3, 1999.
“Bits and Pieces of an Alter Ego,” on a visit to Belize, March 14, 1999.
“Travels in Limbo,” on a visit to the Dominican Republic, November 24, 1996.
“Back Home: Neither Here Nor There,” on a visit to Mexico, August 6, 1995.
“Time Out for Two: A Lakeside Reverie,” on a visit to Lake George, September 4, 1994.
“Adrift in the Hazy Beauty of a Bog,” on a visit to Maine, October 21, 1990.
“Sproing! The Unexpected Sensuality of Melded Steel: A Retrospective of the Work of Feminist Sculptor Ann Sperry,” February 21, 2004.
“A Wandering Jew with a Post-Holocaust Sensibility: ‘Underneath the Lintel’ at the Soho Playhouse, July 5, 2002. “Biblical Follies Now Playing at the Folksbiene,” November 23, 2001.
“A Painterly Anne Frank Cries ‘I Believe in Life!’: Charlotte Salomon's Watercolors,” January 19, 2001.
“A Jew in Wharton’s ‘House of Mirth,’” January 5, 2001.
“Ms. Saturday Night: My New Life as Borscht Belt Convert," November 10, 2000.
Essays in National Magazines
Essays published in More, O., the Oprah Magazine, Ladies Home Journal, Redbook, and Self.
Cosmos Press Magazine, “The Eyeglasses,” Winter 1994.
Another Chicago Magazine “The Communist,” Fall 1990.
River Styx, “Seize the Day," Spring 1990.
River Styx, “The Sunday Wife,” Spring 1989.
Playgirl Magazine, “The Pathology of Love,” October 1987.