Sydney Avey

Dynamic Woman — Changing Times

Book Review: The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, & Create

Jul 25, 2017 | Book Reviews | 0 comments

The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, & CreateThe Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love, & Create by Allen Arnold
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Story of With: A Better Way to Live, Love & Create Allen Arnold’s simple little book, appeared on my radar at a good time. I have two manuscripts with two different publishers, and a WIP is vying for my attention. The challenge in the foreward, to separate from the ocean of busy and needs of everyone– including the folks who need you to know what they have to say–is a breath of fresh air.

The book’s subject, keeping our creative passions fresh, new, and spiritually focused, is not rarified. It’s just that marketplace, and other pressures pull down from the creative zone where we most want to be.

Employing the art of allegory, Arnold elevates us back to the level of our hopes and dreams. Normally allegory leaves the fun of discovering the meaning to the reader. That Allen pulls us out of the story to explain the meaning was off-putting to me at first. I would suggest using this book as you use a devotional. Take it in daily bites and let the story and the wisdom sink in during the day. The style is not unlike the Biblical method of beginning with a parable and ending with an interpretation.

There is much here I have heard before and need to hear repeatedly but in new and different ways. There are also concepts that are new to me; for example, the difference between having expectations and living with expectancy; “being open to what does happen regardless of what you think should happen.

Arnold verbalizes familiar wisdom with thrilling succinctness. “Are you aware of the things you do each day that either numb or nurture your heart?” he asks.  I know that when I live with that kind of mindfulness, I experience peace and joy. Numb or nurture are words I can remember.

Another jewel: when we pursue our talent with our creative God, we breathe the eternal into existence. What a lovely thought.

Arnold reclaims the meaning of bohemian, a word that has been synonymous with hippie or beatnik, as an artistic way of sensing things others don’t. When I consider these words, I feel called to a community instead of out on some fringe of society.

Because I read this on my Kindle app, I can touch the note function and run through a list of bon mots that remind not to live to other’s expectations but to stay the course of my creative calling.

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The Sheep Walker's Daughter

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