Schneider, Pat. How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice. Oxford Univ. Apr. 2013. 288p. notes. ISBN 9780199933983. $18.95. REL
Schneider (Writing Alone and with Others) is a versatile writer across several genres including poetry, nonfiction, drama, and libretti, and leader of creative writing workshops. She addresses readers here from many such angles, as she considers the act of writing as spiritual practice, for psychological and spiritual growth, and for its own sake, all fruitfully developed in these 17 chapters, including “There Is a Spirit,” “Tradition: Religion,” and “Tradition: Writing.” She admirably fulfills her goal of making her book address current struggles involving writing and growth, rather than reporting on her own past growth, and confronts many paradoxes, e.g., the need to share personal experience countered with the need to be self-protective, and the encompassing of both light and dark in one’s writing.
VERDICT Her book will have wide appeal to both amateur and seasoned writers and spiritual seekers whether or not tied to any tradition. The book is also useful as a tool for growth through reflection and writing. Highly recommended.—Carolyn Craft, formerly with Longwood Univ. Lib., Farmville, VA