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Reading Maketh a Full Man...

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Currently reading

The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature (Canto)
C.S. Lewis
Boys and Girls Learn Differently!: A Guide for Teachers and Parents
Michael Gurian, Terry Trueman, Patricia Henley
Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet
Christian Wiman
Deep River: The Life and Music of Robert Shaw
Keith C. Burris
Daring, Trusting Spirit
John De Gruchy
The Vatican Diaries: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Power, Personalities, and Politics at the Heart of the Catholic Church
John Thavis
The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin's Russia
Orlando Figes

Story Craft: Reflections on Faith, Culture, and Writing from the Author of Hank the Cowdog

Story Craft: Reflections on Faith, Culture, and Writing from the Author of Hank the Cowdog - John R. Erickson Reading this book dove-tailed interestingly into several others that I have recently read, Kathleen Norris' books ("Acedia and Me", "Dakota: A Spiritual Geography", "Amazing Grace", etc. ), and the letters of Flannery O'Connor. What these books have in common is an emphasis for storytelling as a craft and as a worthwhile vocation. The prevailing idea regarding poets or writers (or most artists) is that they must suffer for their art before producing it, and then be misunderstood by the non-artistic. This book provides a healthy and focused look at writing as a legitimate and healthy vocation. That this vocation of writing is hard, is work and not play, and must be practiced to improve is something the author emphasizes over and over. But he does not wait to "feel" he should write, he writes as a discipline. His work day for writing begins at 5am. He writes for no more than 4 to 4 1/2 hours per day, then leaves his office to do the work his North Texas ranch requires. As he said in a lecture I was able to attend, the rest of the day he can work "from the neck down", but he needs to give the best of his "neck up" work to his writing first thing in the morning.I found his disciplined approach to his craft in 100% agreement with Flannery O'Connor and her diligent and disciplined approach to writing. Kathleen Norris in her books also discusses writing poetry regularly and in a disciplined way, not just when you "feel" like it.This book is wonderful to read, and brought up many ideas that I am still thinking over and digesting. His chapter on "Stories as Nourishment" is fascinating. Is the art you producing poisoning someone? Or is it nourishing someone? You can sue a plumber who does poor work, but what can you do with a writer who produces toxic waste in the form of a book? I would recommend this book to anyone who needs to understand that all work can be practiced as a disciplined art and should provide in some way for the betterment of others. Nourish in your writing, do not poison. This is counter to the academic emphasis on "write what you feel, no matter what happens to those who read it". But it is a very worthwhile view to take, and I found myself more respectful of those "nourishing" authors that I come across... and now know what to call those who don't nourish.