My mother sent me a book written by the husband of a college friend, Kent Ira Groff. Writing Tides is not a how to book, but rather a book about finding inspiration and using writing to help find grace and growth. It probably has closer kinship with books like Bird by Bird or Twyla Tharp's The Creative Habit.
The book is aimed at anyone who writes -- from professional novelist to someone who simply scribbles a card to a friend. And it aims to help the writer connect more with his/her spirituality and therefore creativity.
Anyway, intrigued, I started to read and there is some interesting insights.
For example, in chapter 4, he discusses fear, depression and writer's block. Depression can be seen as anger turned inwards. He is careful to point out that depression is very different from the Dark Night of the Soul and the difference is in the outcome. The ability to write can sometimes help control depression.
The quote from St Augustine is worth remembering -- Hope has two beautiful daughters, anger and courage, anger at the way things are, and courage to change them.
He also discusses writing into a block, accepting it, and taking a pause in writing. Hard work v surprises. The need to replenish and that reading can also mean learning to read people and situations -- the adaptation of the Lectio Divina to any text and the need to reflect on passages. He is very honest about his own struggles with writing and details exercises that have helped him. And I haveno doubt that the exercises in the book can give people greater insight into their own soul and into their writing.
He also writes of the void of the unknowing becoming the womb for a new creation and how novelists have to empty their own personality in order to enter the character they are writing about -- an interesting way of thinking about things.
There are things to enjoy about this book (not the lest his take on multiple intelilgence and spiritual punctuation), and it is a timely reminder to me that not everyone writes for publication. Most people write for the sheer pleasure of connecting with words, or finding insight. And that is something worth remembering.