A colorfully written guide to entering the “Inner Sanctum” of one’s creativity.

A handbook that aims to help readers discover spiritual truth through unconventional poetry composition.

This beautifully produced work from Michaels (Lily of the Valley, 2016, etc.) encourages one to embark on a modern-day, metaphorical version of the medieval alchemists’ quest to turn base metals into gold. One may refine oneself, the author says, to “attain one’s Personal Gold.” She breaks down the mechanics of this “mystical, magical, meditative process” into seven steps, which she says that a reader may unlock with an unexpected method: writing poetry with his or her nondominant hand. Michaels claims that such untutored writing forces one to draw on the intuitive, emotional right side of the brain, using what she refers to as the “Prima Materia” of one’s creativity. In this way, she says, one may achieve a deeper understanding of self and, ultimately, a closer connection to God. In brisk, evocative prose, Michaels systematically lays out the details of each of the steps, such as “Self-Purification,” “Preparation,” and “Distillation,” even down to specifics of location and time of day. She knows that readers will be initially skeptical, especially considering how little success most people have in doing finely controlled work with their nondominant hand: “how can anything of value come from what must surely be indecipherable squiggles?” she imagines such readers asking, but she assures them to trust in the process. Whether or not readers achieve any success with its method, the book’s romantically charged language about poetry and personal investment is extremely contagious and oddly encouraging. Overall, it’s an effective invitation to write and explore one’s creativity: “You are the alchemist of your life,” she writes in a typically upbeat passage, “and your laboratory awaits.” The consistent messages of self-discovery and patience will appeal to many readers, regardless of their alchemical disposition.

A colorfully written guide to entering the “Inner Sanctum” of one’s creativity.

Pub Date: June 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-941067-02-4

Page Count: 140

Publisher: Alcabal Press

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2017



This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996




An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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