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How the Light Gets In: Writing as a Spiritual Practice based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Review of Pat Schneider’s How the Light Gets In The first summer I taught at a university in China, drained from the heat and the long teaching hours and wondering what was wrong with me, I finally ventured--with a translator and a colleague--across the dusty campus to the doctor’s office. The person I saw sitting behind a big desk there was a fairly stout woman wearing a stethoscope. When she beckoned to me, she looked directly into my face, and I into hers; and in her eyes I saw with a sense of shock a woman of infinite wisdom. You have only to read Pat Schneider’s latest book, How the Light Gets In, to know that she, too, is a woman of infinite wisdom. While in her preface she says that unlike in her poetry books and [in her previous book, Writing Alone and with Others], she is “not after poems this time” and is “not out to teach, either,” in the stories she shares here that delve deeply and with almost brutal honesty into her past searches and painful experiences, she does open the minds and hearts of her readers into her deeply felt truths. Each chapter relates stories of some major aspect of our spiritual and human searches for meaning and the divine Presence who is, above all, love. Also, each chapter contains her exquisite poetry. This, then, is really two books in one—a book of memoirs and their meaning and a book of 33 of her poems, which are like paintings with music. Even her prose is full of strong metaphors. Once, describing a morning out West, she wrote, “California sun heats this semi-desert soil, pulls a blanket of heat up to the chin of the day.” Later, about a deeply painful experience, she wrote, “I have learned that everything we lose opens us to more than we could ever have imagined if we can only open the clenched fists of our fear, to receive what the mystery will offer.” Pat is also widely read as her references throughout her chapters attest, as well as do her “Acknowledgments,” “Permissions,” and “Index.” As enormously gifted as she is as a writer and as Sapphire has described, “one of America’s premier writing instructors,” she does not see herself as a lone voice. Instead, she clearly values all she has received from her wide reading, large and international circle of friends, colleagues, students in her workshops, other writers, teachers, and her family.I often give away the books I buy after I read them. Not this one. This is a book to continue to reread and cherish. This is a keeper.