In this winning collaborative effort, the prolific and multi-talented Rami Shapiro and his son Aaron, a poet, essayist, and literature teacher at Middle State Tennessee University, spell out the lineaments of writing as a sacred art. In the preface, Rami Shapiro states:

"Writing as a spiritual practice is conspiratorial rather than inspirational; it conspires to strip away everything you use to maintain the illusion of certainty, security, and self-identity. Where spiritual writing seeks to bind you all the more tightly to the self you imagine yourself to be, writing as spiritual practice intends to free you from it. And because it is liberating, writing as spiritual practice is essentially play."

This paperback, in the Skylight Paths series "The Art of Spiritual Living," is divided into Five Worlds, a model of life used in many religions with sections on writing to open the body, the heart, the mind, the soul, and the spirit. Throughout the book, the Shapiros offer 50 exercises for aspiring writers to try.

We were especially impressed with the creative ideas about engaging with the world through "thing poems" (see Rainer Maria Rilke) and the brevity of haikus; making the most of sauntering; ways to encounter the heart in various emotional work-outs (including using lines from the Psalms and from Rumi); and an exercise called "My Story, My Sage."