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Diana Raab

Writer, Teacher, Journalist, Poet

Diana Raab was born in New York and has lived in Montreal and Florida and now lives in Santa Barbara. She has three grown children and has been writing since the age of ten when she was given her first Kahlil Gibran journal. She teaches at UCLA Writers' Studio and at the Santa Barbara Writers Conference. She also volunteers her time and teaches journaling to high-risk teens and women's groups in the community.

Her recent memoir, Regina's Closet: Finding My Grandmother's Secret Journal (Beaufort Books, 2007) is winner of the 2008 National Indie Excellence Award for Memoir (NIEA). It is also a finalist for the 2007 ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year.

She's also the recipient of The Benjamin Franklin Book Award for the best Health and Wellness Book for her self-help book, Getting Pregnant and Staying Pregnant: Overcoming Infertility and Difficult Pregnancies which in 2009 is being updated and revised for the 20th anniversary edition. She has two poetry collections, Dear Anais: My Life in Poems for You (Plain View Press, Fall 2008) and My Muse Undresses Me (Pudding House Publications ( 2007).

She's editor of an original collection, Writers and Their Notebooks (an anthology) forthcoming by the University of South Carolina Press, Spring/Summer 2009.

Her award-winning essays and poems have appeared in numerous national publications. Her essay, "Use Journaling to Spark Your Writing," was featured in the October 2007 issue of The Writer.

For more information, please visit Diana's website,

Articles by Diana Raab

The Importance of Making Book Cover Decisions December 7, 2009 (Diana M. Raab) The truth is, most of us do judge a book by its cover and this fact was magnified during the production of my latest poetry collection, The Guilt Gene. My publisher is a small press and typically with small and independent presses the author has some input in terms of book cover design. Not only does this stroke the author's ego, but it also assists the publisher in what can sometimes be a time-consuming and tenuous decision. (complete article...)

You Don't Have to Be A Poet to Write Poetry July 30, 2008 (Diana M. Raab) Really. You don't. And I will tell you why. The first poem I wrote as an adult was about ten years ago. I was living in Orlando and getting ready to meet a friend for coffee to discuss a writing project. We were to meet on Park Avenue in Winter Park which is situated in the suburbs of Orlando and a good place to be seen and heard. It's a fun four-block stretch of shops and eateries. Somewhere in the middle of the strip is a popular chain coffee shop called 'Barnie's'. My writing studio was located on the floor above, so this was a convenient place to meet, as I tried to use my studio only for writing. Barnie's prepared fabulous coffee and their major competition up the street was Starbucks who they claimed over-roasted their coffee creating a strong aroma to lure in patrons. (complete article...)

What Story Should You Tell? June 10, 2008 (Diana M. Raab) Whether your chosen genre is fiction, nonfiction or poetry, you probably have a unique story to tell. The act of reliving and retelling childhood stories are common platforms for writers. We go back to those times either because they were filled with pains, joys or laden with unanswered questions. (complete article...)

Taking Rejection Constructively February 11, 2008 (Diana M. Raab) I embrace rejections and don't get down on myself when they arrive in my mailbox. I've learned to accept them as part of the literary life that I have chosen for myself. Since I've moved to a house where I have to walk down the hill to get my mail, I've found that my days revolve around the mail delivery. I make sure to run my errands just after the mail arrives. (complete article...)

Coffeehouse Euphoria December 19, 2007 (Diana M. Raab) I write this essay in my journal as I sit in my favorite Santa Barbara coffeehouse. My best work is born in places like this where, under the influence of a strong cup of coffee, my creative energy flows. The ink and tangible pages of my journal compliment the organic, hearty aroma and flavor of fresh roasted coffee. (complete article...)

Memoir: Where Memory Meets Imagination October 18, 2007 (Diana M. Raab) My fascination with the issues of memory and imagination in memoir-writing stretches back to my graduate school days. To fulfill the requirements for my MFA in Nonfiction Writing I had to teach a class and the catalyst and inspiration for my study was Patricia Hampl's essay, "Memory and Imagination." (complete article...)

Searching for Stories Down Memory Lane July 20, 2007 (Diana M. Raab) "As I turned fifty, the world and my place in it looked much different than I had imagined they would. I have come to place tremendous value on the intensity and power of the moment, since I could never be sure a moment would last in memory. It must be savored..."
-- Floyd Skloot in The Shadow of Memory (complete article...)

Book Expo of America in New York June 16, 2007 (Diana M. Raab) Last week I had the distinct pleasure of being invited by my publisher to the annual BEA (Book Expo of America) held this year in New York's Jacob Javitt's Center from May 30th until June 3rd. (complete article...)

Notes from A Poet's Spirit: In honor of National Poetry Month April 14, 2007 (Diana M. Raab) As a relatively new poet, I find myself taking this National Poetry Month quite seriously. I want to avail myself of every opportunity to infuse my life with the joy of the poetic realm. It's not that there won't be a chance during other times of the year, but this is a good excuse to be submerged in my latest literary venture. (complete article...)

How to Reread and Use Journal Entries In Your Writing March 9, 2007 (Diana M. Raab) Rereading old journal entries can be an interesting and useful exercise for writers, non-writers and wannabe writers. There's much to be learned from examining earlier writings -- everything from studying writing habits, detecting patterns of speech and identifying obsessions and subjects which we repeatedly address in our journals. There are, however, some strong dos and don'ts about the practice of rereading journal entries. (complete article...)

The Challenges of Recalling The Past February 7, 2007 (Diana M. Raab) Memory is fallible, but is one of the strongest frustrations and the most poignant tool of the memoir writer. (complete article...)

Striding for Inspiration January 3, 2007 (Diana M. Raab) I've heard people say that many writers enjoy walking. My curiosity about this phenomena was ignited by my recent reading of Joan Anderson's biography, "A Walk on the Beach," a gem of a book and also a wonderful gift item for that middle-aged woman on your list who has everything, but seeks a deeper meaning in her life through growth and exploration. (complete article...)

Creative Non-Fiction is Alive and Well November 24, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) My fiction-writing friends probably won't like to hear this -- but the memoir is still alive and well. Many people thought The James Frey issue would send the memoir to the back burner and bring fiction the forefront. But if you've read any recent Sunday New York Times Book Reviews, you'll see that for at least the past year there's been a serious imbalance between fiction and non-fiction books -- more than two-thirds being reviewed are non-fiction. (complete article...)

The Clique of Eclectics: Writers of Multiple Genres October 15, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) Why some writers choose to write in multiple genres has always been a fascinating subject for me, which is why I chose to moderate a panel called, "The Clique of Eclectics: Writers of Multiple Genres," at The 8th Annual Santa Barbara Book and Author Festival held on September 30th at the downtown Public Library. (complete article...)

The Delicate Art of Critiquing September 7, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) At some point in your writing life you will be called upon to read a colleague, family or friend's work. This is a delicate process, because some people accept comments and criticism more easily than others. (complete article...)

Why We Write August 1, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) "The role of a writer is not to say what we can all say, but what we are unable to say." -- Anais Nin.
There are many reasons why writers are compelled to the page, including having a story to tell and wanting to bridge the gap of loneliness. (complete article...)

Entering Poetry: Stepping Outside of Our Boxes June 22, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) Ever since I was a little girl, poetry seemed daunting. I didn't enjoy reading it and I certainly would not tackle writing it. I suppose the turn-off had to do with how poetry was taught to me in school. All I remember was "Beowolf" and I never understood what all the excitement was about. In later years, the English teachers introduced us to Shakespeare, which for a young adult, was equally boring. (complete article...)

Writing For the Health of It May 19, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) When life takes an unexpected turn, writing can become your best friend. Whether you choose journaling, poetry, fiction or nonfiction, you can reap the benefits of your predicament. Many published authors have used writing as a catalyst for survival during difficult times. Some of them include: Anais Nin, Joan Didion, Reeve Lindbergh, Tobias Wolff, D.H. Lawrence, Isabel Allende, Vivian Gornick, Kathryn Harrison, Sue William Silverman, and May Sarton. For these writers and many others, writing has given a purpose and meaning to their lives. It has given them a reason to wake up in the morning and continue on with their day. (complete article...)

AWP Conference in a Nutshell April 7, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) For the past four years, I've attended AWP's (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) National Conference, the largest writing conference in the country. This year's enrollment surpassed 4,500 registrants. Each year, the conference is held in a different city, and this year's city of choice was Austin, Texas. (complete article...)

The Joy of Letter Writing February 27, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) The fourth installment of Diana's excellent series on getting comfortable with your muse, and getting work done. (complete article...)

Nourishing Your Muse January 23, 2006 (Diana M. Raab) The third installment of Diana's excellent series on getting comfortable with your muse, and getting work done. (complete article...)

Organizing Your Journal December 20, 2005 (Diana M. Raab) The thought of organizing your journal may seem like a daunting task or something which might diminish the joy and spontaneity of the journaling process, but it's worth it. There's a good reason why writers, in particular, should keep a fairly organized journal to access the information when we need it. (complete article...)

The Journal: A Place for Writers' Musings December 6, 2005 (Diana M. Raab) The journal can be a very powerful tool for the writer. It's a place where we can intimately express our feelings and emotions, a place to collaborate with ourselves on possible writing projects or to discover the stories lurking inside of us. Sometimes a thought or a line can lie dormant in the journal, waiting for the novel or piece of nonfiction germinating in it. (complete article...)