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Holy Writ

by K.D. Miller

Canada hasn’t produced many homegrown Annie Dillards or Anne Lamotts – “literary” authors whose spiritual writing enjoys both popular and critical acclaim. So Holy Writ is a daring book of sorts. K.D. Miller, author of Give Me Your Answer, risks accusations of flakiness for writing about God outside the approved bounds of literary satire, and she knows it. “Even now,” she writes, “I would only call myself a Christian after all kinds of politically correct throat-clearing.”

In this collection of essays, Miller asks herself, and a number of other authors, what role faith plays in their creative endeavours. Authors like Russell Smith, whose views fall well within the normal range among urbane artists, who says: “I am hostile not just to organized religion, but to any form of spiritual belief … to any talk of spirit or chakras or life-force or gods or fairies or elves.” Of the 18 authors Miller interviewed, Russell is the most passionately atheistic. The responses of Robyn Sarah, Elizabeth Hay, and others are equally revealing about such intimate subjects as writerly rituals and the origin of inspiration (whose root word, after all, is “spirit.”)

Many of the essays in Holy Writ, however, are written by Miller herself. A reluctant, default Christian – for years she considered non-belief in God “a prerequisite for intellectual maturity” – she’s thought a lot about the connection between creativity and spirituality: “Each has a carefully refined idea of what constitutes ‘good.’ Each formalizes and brings out into the open what is invisible, impulsive and private.”

Miller’s candid, witty style resembles Anne Lamott’s, without the self-conscious quirkiness. She looks at such Biblical figures as Martha and Pontius Pilate with a novelist’s discerning eye for character – and with enlightening results. Who knows: since Miller come out of the spiritual closet, perhaps other authors will follow. Holy Writ will no doubt inspire and affirm those who wrestle (in secret) with angels rather than devils.


Reviewer: Kathy Shaidle

Publisher: Porcupine’s Quill


Price: $17.95

Page Count: 176 pp

Format: Paper

ISBN: 0-88984-222-1

Released: Mar.

Issue Date: 2001-1

Categories: Children and YA Non-fiction, Sports, Health & Self-help

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