Vinita Hampton Wright guides the reader through the dazzling and frightening journey into creativity in The Soul Tells a Story. Based on her workshops, Wright combines the philosophical and practical aspects of creativity. Because she is a writer of both fiction and nonfiction, she draws most of her teaching from writing, but it can apply to other creative endeavors also.
Wright has two goals in the book. "One is to help you identify your own creative process and learn how to participate with it more fully....The second purpose is to help make the connection between your spiritual life and your creative work." (19)
She divides the book into nine chapters and includes a section on using the book with a group. She has also compiled a three-page list of resources. The chapters cover expectations, combining faith and creativity, creative practices, searching for inspiration and material, developing craft, support, facing yourself, the beauty and danger of creativity, and thriving. Each chapter begins with quotations on creativity and ends with exercises for the reader.
At times her writing rings with a near lyric intensity. The first few chapters of the book tend toward the more philosophical but necessary discussions. The last few chapters offer more practical helps.
The book contains valuable thought-provoking sections. Wright discusses the advantages of the creative process, the interaction of spirituality and creativity, the differences between practices and craft, how to work with emotions, and the importance of self-censorship. She makes wise observations on the value of criticism and offers pointers on choosing mentors. Unlike some creative people, she recognizes the importance of people and the realistic nature of imbalance within a balanced life. She gives good warnings about avoiding burn out.
One element of Wright's style that occasionally disconcerts is her bringing up something, such as how hard it is to be creative in these times or the tendency for creative people to be immoral, then dealing with it in a different section. She occasionally mentions things that grate on me, such as her concerns about the "sexual police," "the collective conscience," or "delv(ing) into that character's sexual identity." She expresses some anger about her fundamentalist background. However, the positives much outweigh the negatives. -- Debbie W. Wilson, Christian Book Previews.com
There is a reason artists tend to feel a sense of the sacred in their work. It's the same reason those on the path of spiritual formation find that creative exercises lead them into a deeper, more authentic experience of God. Creative work is soul work, and soul work is always creative work. Feeding one while neglecting the other will leave you restless and unsatisfied. Nurturing them both will lead you to new places of self-discovery and God-discovery.
"I believe that spirituality and creativity are intricately connected, yet they are rarely nurtured and talked about that way," contends Vinita Hampton Wright. In these pages she leads you through the process and practice of integrating the worlds of Christian spirituality and creativity.
You will find both inspiration and practical help for
The Soul Tells a Story helps you to turn frustrated longings into satisfying growth.