Woody Allen once joked that 95% of the work is in turning-up. This book is about that 95% and what stops us from ‘turning up’ as writers — things like feeling we don’t have enough time, or isolation.
This is well and good, and Laraine Herring is an accomplished writer, who’s particularly adept at personal anecdotes designed to lift our spirits and keep us focused on our task. However, after a few hundred pages, what is meant to be inspiring becomes (for me at least) a little wearying. The essential message seems to be that every problem can be solved if you just make enough effort. She tells us over and over things like:
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Wisdom has long been one of our best publishers of Buddhist books and it is good to see them venture into the field of literature. The twenty stories in this collection — the second in a series — are worthy and wide-ranging, although it may be noted that the Buddhism is mostly tilted towards the Zen and Tibetan traditions.
Yet the thesis proposed in the title is in danger of sinking some of the stories under its weight. Is “Buddhist fiction” written by Buddhists? Or with an explicitly Buddhist subject?
To try and delay these (potential) objections I deliberately read each story before I referred to the biographical notes … Read more »