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Acetylene Torch Songs

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Acetylene Torch Songs: Writing True Stories to Ignite the Soul

At times, writers—from the unpublished to jaded lifers—need a fire lit under them to pursue the complex work of self-exploration. Acetylene Torch Songs: Writing True Stories to Ignite the Soul (University of Nebraska Press, Jan. 2024) provides that spark for memoirists and essayists seeking mentor-based instruction and inspiration. Acetylene Torch Songs stresses practice over theory, encourages craftiness as well as craft, and urges writers to embark upon emotional odysseys in pursuit of their art. “Acetylene” uniquely illustrates how the writer’s imaginative spirit comes alive on the page through metaphor, literary masks, sensory memories, voice, obsessions, and more. This holistic approach to writing emphasizes how the creative process brings together the heart, the mind, the soul, and the senses. Because most writers learn through example, every chapter features an original essay written to illustrate a specific approach: Oh, so that’s how you do it! By mentoring and modelling, rather than simply lecturing, “Acetylene” helps all writers of creative nonfiction fan their creative sparks until they burn. The book’s guided prompts, worksheets, checklists, publishing advice, and strategies guide writers from hazy conception to finished, blazing product.

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