book reviews

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by James Hollis (Part 2)

Aug 14, 2020(edit)

There are two things that one should never talk about: politics and religion. I’m breaking that rule today. As I “follow my bliss,” I’m grudgingly realizing that I need to explore spirituality in my art and writing. I really don’t want to. Because, well, of the first sentence of this article. It was with great trepidation that I kept reading James Hollis’s book, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life (affiliate link). In his view, the two main tasks during the second half of life are recovering a personal authority and discovering a personal spirituality. I already wrote about personal authority in part 1, so this article will focus on spirituality.… View More

Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life by James Hollis (Part 1)

Aug 7, 2020(edit)

A subscriber emailed me this week:

“I really appreciated your insights into Rilke, who is also a favorite of mine. The question about why we want to shut out pain and melancholy without knowing their purpose in our life seems especially apt these days of the pandemic and the political turmoil and for me personally at this point in my journey.”
I thought about this email for days afterward. I thought, “What can really come out if we let pain and melancholy work through us as Rilke suggests?” In this article (part 1 of 2), I attempt to answer that question by referencing James Hollis’ book, Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up.… View More

Life Lessons from Rainer Maria Rilke: Letters to a Young Poet

Jul 31, 2020(edit)

A few weeks ago, I emailed an 85-year-old writer who I greatly admire and asked for career advice. She had started writing at 50 years old, the age I am now. This parallelism inspired me. “If I want to have published books and lecture when I’m 85 (assuming I survive that long), what would I have to do?” I wrote. I wasn’t expecting a reply of course. The pandemic has turned the world upside down, so there are more important things right now. But last week, she graciously replied:

“Hello Jonah, Thank you for your email….Now if at 50, someone had said what will you do to pursue your career, I would have hopefully responded, ‘Listen to the voice within…’ I certainly had no idea that I would be able to bring my writing, teaching, and Jungian studies together in such a way. Then through dreamwork, analysis, reading, journaling, and silent prayer, I found my way. But your way will be different and you will find it.”
The author’s advice immediately transported me to a book I read 17 years ago but had forgotten. This article explores the lessons contained in that book─echoing her life advice.… View More

The Artist’s Journey by Steven Pressfield

Sep 19, 2018(edit)

I love Steven Pressfield. His book, The War of Art, is the best book I’ve found that describes the internal struggle some artists face when creating new work. It certainly describes my struggle. The procrastination, the second-guessing, the indecision… View More

The 5 Components of Myth

May 23, 2018(edit)

I recently came across a book on storytelling entitled, The Myth Gap, What Happens When Evidence and Arguments Aren’t Enough? by Alex Evans. Storytelling is something I’m interested in. I want my images to have a storyäóîwith a beginning, a middle, and an end.… View More

The 4 Tendencies

May 14, 2018(edit)

You know how you set up goals, write down a detailed implementation plan, and thenäó_you don’t do them? That’s me in my studio. At the beginning of 2017, I spelled out goals which I didn’t do. In 2018, I said I was going to focus on habits instead of goals. It’s now May, and I haven’t… View More

Your Hero's Journey Could be Large or Small

May 31, 2017(edit)

We get the wrong message in movies. If you are not saving the world, getting rich, or living happily every after by the end of the story, then it’s not worth telling. I get it. A movie that is quiet and doesn’t have explosions will not have broad appeal. Movies are expensive to make. Studios have… View More

How To Be A Star At Work

Mar 15, 2017(edit)

In my late 20s, I read How To be A Star At Work, 9 Breakthrough Strategies You Need to Succeed by Robert Kelley. I was a tax accountant at an accounting firm and wanted to be a successful. At that time, ultimate success meant becoming a äóìtax partner.” That meant that you became a part owner… View More

In The Can or Out Of The Can?

Mar 9, 2015(edit)

There are books that I come across that stay with me for a long time after reading it. Lynda Barry’s What It Is is one of those books. Part autobiography, comic, self-help book, and journal, it is a guide to becoming a writer. One particular page (as shown above) I still think about four months… View More

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