If you need some light reading this week, this book should probably not top your list.

However, if you want to think deeply about beauty and our relationship to culture as artists and writers, then you might take a look at my nonfiction book choice for writers this week:

Culture Care: Reconnecting with Beauty for our Common Life by Makoto Fujimura, IVP Books, 2017.

Mr. Fujimura is an artist and now director of the Brehm Center for Worship at Fuller Theological Seminary. What I loved to hear was that he took the job with the understanding that he would continue to spend a portion of his time as an artist. See examples of his paintings here.

I don’t paint (although I have a now-not-secret wish to do so). I write for kids. You may write for adults. What can this book teach us both as writers?

Here’s a very short list of my notes that I found relevant and revelatory.

  • Two themes of Culture Care are 1) beauty is a gift we discover, receive, and steward, and 2) culture care restores beauty to the ecosystem of culture. (Somehow beauty has become quaint in our culture, yet I know that I need it. I also see the need that others have for it in what they place around themselves in order to work, to play, and at home, to rest. This is one reason I and so many parents love a good picture or board book. They’re beautiful in words and illustrations. They are, quite literally, a thing of beauty.)
  • Beauty may not be necessary to our daily survival, but it is necessary to our flourishing. (For writers, this means good books with good writing enable us to help others flourish.)
  • “…some or all of our work should aim to surprise our jaded culture with delight and remind others of what we humans truly long for.” p.56  (Didn’t you learn to love reading with books that did just this? Either they made us laugh, showed us we weren’t alone in our thoughts, or fell under the heading of “I wish this story didn’t have to end.”)
  • Like Emily Dickinson, who used a 17½ inch desk to write her poems, we only need a small, dedicated space to work. (It’s so easy to keep buying the next book or class or gadget that we tell ourselves will really help us get to writing, instead of writing.)
  • “When art is simply what we must do to stay true to ourselves, it is a calling.” p.82 (I’ve said it many times – if I don’t write, I get cranky. It’s really as simple as that. I must write in order to feel like myself. Is that how you feel about writing?)

This list is necessarily brief compared to what you may glean from the book.

Find it here on Amazon.

How do you see beauty in your writing? In your life? What can you do to bring it closer? Or offer it to others as a writer?

Writers, there is always hope,


Coming Up!

Tomorrow is the next in the series of interviews of published and yet-to-be-published writers. Meet Shauna Pilgreen and her heart and words for those in urban areas.