Despite dedicating thousands of hours to teaching and generating creative writing, I still wonder whether writing is worthwhile. These days it’s the environmental crisis that makes me doubt. As cities around the world face permanent flooding and species go extinct, I sit in my big red chair writing a story? Does this really help humans accept responsibility for the world’s brokenness, or find faith enough to create a new, sustainable relationship with the planet?

For writers who share these doubts, Karen Hering’s new book is heartening. Writing to Wake the Soul: Opening the Sacred Conversation Within offers a refreshingly socially conscious approach to writing as a spiritual practice. To grapple well with the big challenges of our times, Hering says, we need to reclaim the language of myth, metaphor, and imagination. This language speaks in poetry and parable, memory and imagination. It is...

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