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Review: Dancing on the Head of a Pen, Robert Benson

I chose this book to review for Blogging for Books (which provided me a free copy in exchange for this review) because the blurbs said it is a book on how to write which also touches on the spirituality of writing.  Since I work with some writers who consider writing part of their spiritual vocation, I was intrigued, even though I do not do any creative writing myself  other than sermons.

I enjoyed the book.  It was a quick, easy read, but also gave me some things to chew on.  Most memorable and helpful was the author’s discussion of which literal and metaphorical hat he’s wearing at each major stage of the book-writing process, and how and why he is always working on at least two different pieces at once, wearing different hats.  He also has some good ways of talking about writing as a daily discipline.

The links to spirituality were more implied and subtly referenced than made explicit.  I could immediately see how his advice on writing as a daily discipline is very similar to the practice of the Daily Office, for example, and that his practice of “walking around,” plays a loosely similar function for his writing as intercessory prayer does in my spirituality.  He occasionally alludes to the Bible and once or twice quotes the Book of Common Prayer, but doesn’t really talk about his personal faith. Perhaps he assumes his regular readers know that side of him from his other work.