Author: Ken Kuhlken

Writing and the Spirit is an inspirational book that helps combine the joys of writing with the love for Christ. The abundance of thought provoking material on attitudes, habits and practices are not only inspirational, but helps a writer gain perspective of the spirit as she performs her craft.

Reading about the Holy Spirit, and at the same time being told to relish the uniqueness in even the most sinister of antagonists was quite the paradox. We are quickly directed to what The Old Testament tells us, that beauty resides in all things. A dark and sinister character should be developed in such a way that reminds us to avoid passing judgement on them. Like Dostoyevski, we should strive to truly know and love all our characters. Everyone has a background and uniqueness, and their motives and quirks should be presented in such a way that reminds us to avoid passing judgement on them. Emulate Dostoyevski’s dramatic structure where every scene has a character suffering a setback, reversal, or disaster.

To better express our uniqueness as a writer, and allow ourselves to be open to the spirit that moves us, we should abide by 1 Corinthians 2:16 which tells us, “But we have the mind of Christ.” We should minimize the cliche’s of sentimentality, propagandizing, and pornography, and accept the capabilities Christ gave us to tune in and accept his divine hope. We must realized what Joseph Campbell suggests, that following our bliss and promises without fear, doors that we didn’t know existed will open for us.

If our hearts are open to the spirit, it will deliver us with wisdom, but it is our job to deliver that wisdom. Making writing our top priority, the spirit will seek out those who can help and guide us, Blessing those who have helped guide us. We must allow the spirit to drive us, filling our hearts with the qualities of Christ.

Raymond Carver suggests we write every day without anxiety or ambition, which only takes away from our imagination and the spirit that moves us. Writing requires peace of mind, leaving our thoughts of ambition outside the door from which we write. We need to listen to Alan Ginsberg who suggests, we loosen our minds and accept contradictions without aggressively grasping for answers. Trusting in the magic of chance is accepting the generosity of the spirit that moves us. Nothing drives our attitudes, habits and challenges more than the opportunity to write in peace.

1 John 4:18 says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear.” We mustn’t fear our writing or the results it produces, but write for the love of writing.

We must write like journalists, focusing on painting pictures with words, and clarifying the obscure and simplifying the complex. We must incorporate brevity, taking out every paragraph, sentence and word that does not propel the story forward. While adhering to the rules of writing, it is for our betterment that we realize the reason for the rules.

It was obvious the author was a Dostoyevski fan, as the ending of the book was more of a summary of The Brothers Karamazov, which was difficult to tie in with the major content of the book.

Although a short book, just under seventy pages, it is is not meant to be fast read. There are too many passages that leave one to stop and ponder about ones own perceptions of writing and the Holy Spirit. For me, it was a reminder of how important revision is. Like a story continuously being rewritten and revised, so shall we do with our lives, allowing the spirit to exhibit truth and honesty so we can love, write, and become more of a person in the eyes of Christ.

Writing and the Spirit is a good read, and I recommend it for Christians and people of any Faith.