I’d heard about Pat Schneider from friends who had attended her workshops in Canada. Pat is American, and known as a sensitive writing instructor.
I read her latest book How the Light Gets In. Unlike some books on writing, Pat’s approach, termed Writing as a Spiritual Practice, reveals much of her troubled early life and how to write memoir based on a long life of contemplation.
A few quotes that appealed to me:
I feel my own smallness, but I feel that I too belong. If I am open to the possibility, I sense that I am seen; I am known: I am held in the attention of the mystery.
I hold suffering and secrets as sources of what may be our deepest and greatest potential, both as writers and as human beings just trying to make sense of our lives.
Darkness and light are inextricably bound together.
Writing is often a struggle between the personal and the universal …
What we mean is usually a mix of memory, knowledge and imagination. Myth is woven of those three.
Secrets more than anything else, are the stones that make up writer’s block.
That first voice, the voice of home, is the one that writers must protect from the contempt, disdain or disregard of any critic.
Hurt hangs on and you can’t pry its fingers loose.
Story can be the clothing that makes the mystery visible. Story kept us alive when food failed, when water dried up, when the body itself began to fail.
To be here now near the end of life, here with love or the memory of love – along with the memory of stars and galaxies and the intimate roads of home – is to know how transient, how precious, the now is. And that knowing becomes more intense, more infused with joy every day.
Blue Heron Books in Uxbridge hosted Pat’s Canadian launch of her book in October 2013. See a review and what people say about this remarkable woman who has devoted her life work to helping writers.