A WALK BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH: A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process by Burghild Nina Holzer

A WALK BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH: A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process

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Informational rather than inspirational, a journal about journal-writing as a spiritual search, by a teacher of creative writing at Foothill College in Los Altos, Calif. From fall 1987 to summer 1988, Holzer kept two journals: one a record of her writing progress, the other a personal chronicle she hoped to keep separate from the first. In the book, however, they overlap; the personal journal creeps into the creative one, which becomes, for her, a mystical journey. She records dreams, her sense of aloneness, winter sorrows; she stops torturing herself about what exactly she is doing by reminding herself ""a journal can be anything!"" Reviewing the ""vision quest"" of her journal, she notes patterns and turns of character. She finds herself preparing for the inevitable end result of her father's lingering mortal illness and grieving for a dead brother, a doctor who was killed by a snow-grooming machine during the Olympic games in Calgary, Canada -- a death prefigured by a dream she recorded in her journal. She visualizes his hands being whole, ""his good hands that had held so many."" Later she refers to another painful memory: ""Perhaps my uterus wants to cry the story of the child I lost, of what wanted to be formed, and what slipped out into darkness before it could be held securely by the arms near the heart....And maybe I need to discover that this big boulder sitting in my throat consists of a huge mass of words, compacted into stone."" Sometimes she takes her students for a walk in the woods or fields and, to expose them to nature writing, reads them haiku by Basho. Although this is more a public record of private thoughts than a how-to book, the use of Latinate words and catch phrases like ""creative process"" and ""learning process"" at times gives it an academic tone somewhat at odds with the personal nature of the material. Creativity ought to be more interesting than this.

Pub Date: June 13th, 1994
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Bell Tower/Harmony