Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson is my “book of the month” for every writer.
Andrew Peterson is a well-known musician, songwriter, and author. He’s won the Christy Award for best YA novel and WORLD magazine’s Children’s Book of the Year. Over ten years ago, he founded a ministry called The Rabbit Room which encourages and cultivates a vibrant Christian arts community in Nashville, Tennessee. They publish articles, books, and musicians. In addition, they have an annual conference called Hutchmoot which was just held two weekends ago. (Past speakers have included Walter Wangerin Jr., Sally Lloyd Jones, Phil Vischer, Leif Enger, and Luci Shaw.)
What makes Andrew’s new book fascinating is his wonderful background as a mixture of one who creates in two seemingly distinct areas of the arts: music and writing. To you writers who are also musicians, you understand the connection. To you writers who are not, this exploration can open up your soul to new methods of creativity.
There is a genuine humility in the musings of this volume. He cuts to the heart of every author’s anxiety and the need to face the reality of the creative process. Read this excerpt from page 79:
How do you know if you’re on the right track? You share it with someone. … But not just anyone. Share it with a better writer than you. Share it with someone who’ll be careful with you, who will tell you the truth in love. Sometimes you’ll thank them kindly and ignore them completely because what do they know, anyway? Other times they’ll confirm your worst suspicions, because you knew all along that something wasn’t working, but, let’s face it again, you were being lazy. You just wanted to be done. That’s the cancer. That’s the nest of roaches you have to exterminate from your story. Roll up your sleeves and kill them dead, because the world has enough bad stories. Nobody said it would be easy.
And this excerpt from pages 44-45:
Art shouldn’t be about self-expression or self-indulgence. Art shouldn’t be about self. The paradox is that art is necessarily created by a Self, and will necessarily draw some measure of attention or consideration to the artist. But the aim ought to be for the thing to draw attention, ultimately to something other than the Self. For a Christian, that means accepting this paradox in the knowledge, or at least in the hope, that my expression, even if it is of the most intimate chambers of my heart, can lead the audience beyond me and to the Ultimate Self, the Word that made the world. In that grand chamber alone will art find its best end, as an avenue to lead the audience Home.
Read that paragraph again. Out loud this time. Does it resonate?
This book, Adorning the Dark by Andrew Peterson, is full of thoughtful words on the life and soul of an artist/author. I highly recommend it to every reader of this post.
You owe it to yourself to get a copy and read it with a pen and highlighter.
[I did not receive a copy for free. I bought it within minutes of hearing about its release.]