[BOOKS] ✯ Adorning the Dark ✹ Andrew Peterson – Writerscompany.co.uk
I can t recall the first time I heard the name Andrew Peterson I m pretty sure it was from my friends Rusty and Sara Osborne who were already huge fans of his music and fantasy books It was some time later before I ever listened to one of his songs I didn t like it Sorry Andrew, if I ever get the honor of meeting you, please don t hold that moment against me It was a while before I listened to Andrew Peterson again, and it was an altogether different experience His voice became inviting, sincere, pleasant with every verse, with each new song I found, over, that his lyrics were some of the most thoughtful, most poetic, and most beautiful words I had heard in my life After a lengthy repeat cycle of his Resurrection Letters Prologue, Resurrection Letters Vol 1, and Resurrection Letters Vol 2 this spring, I finally started moving on to some of his other music, and I m hooked I bought the Wingfeather Saga for my children and am preparing to read it soon And last Friday I received his newest book, Adorning the Dark I finished it on Saturday because I simply didn t want to stop reading it Much like Peterson s music, I wasn t really sure what to expect from this book The subtitle, Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making, seemed an awfully big goal for a short book Likewise, the summary had a significant emphasis on the writing process, which although fitting under the category of the Mystery of Making, nevertheless increased both my interest and my skepticism that someone could pull off so much in such a short span of pages I was wrong Again Perhaps I should have expected this success from one who can pack so much truth, goodness, and beauty into a three minute song Moreover, when I began reading the book, I found that Peterson also tells a lot of personal stories as a way of elucidating his points I found his transparent, sincere, and humble approach both helpful and inspiring My short review is that writers of all kinds not just songwriters and Christians with all kinds of gifts not just writers should read this book, as it brings valuable insight into the Christian life, the human condition, the value of community, and the beauty and power of words My long review, well, I don t really want to write that one It couldn t do this book justice anyway So instead, here s my medium length review, and in the style of Peterson s book, it s personal than it is academic hence my intentional use of contractions, which I normally loathe Peterson s book was the exact book I needed at the exact time in my life that I needed it God often does these kinds of things With my ever growing reading list, I often really don t know why I pick up a certain book and not another to read Sometimes it s perhaps coincidence, but I have no doubt that this time it was Providence God knew I needed this book at this time Of the many valuable insights in this book, a couple stand out as most notable, primarily because the margin of my book reads, Wow I needed to hear this and I needed to hear this, too First, Peterson writes Wrench your heart away from all the things you think you need for your supposed financial security, your social status Set fire to your expectations, your rights, and even your dreams When all that is gone, it will be clear that the only thing you ever really had was this wild and Holy Spirit that whirls about inside you, urging you to follow where his wind blows 2 3 I find myself in a difficult stage of life, and my wife and I have been deeply, frequently, and fervently praying for the Lord s guidance My own fear is that He has answered time and again, but my own fear of financial security has deafened my ears to His voice As I read Peterson s word, tears filled my eyes as I asked God again to speak, and I m starting to hear whispers Second, Peterson writes You can t blame your equipment You can t blame your lack of time You can t blame your upbringing Either you re willing to steward the gift God gave you by stepping into the ring and fighting for it, or you spend your life in training, cashing in excuse after excuse until there s no time left, no fight left, no song, no story 125 Conviction isn t a strong enough word for my feelings in this respect My lack of time has been a constant excuse to hide the gifts God has given me under a basket and shove it under a bed I won t do it any longer I m ready to fight I ready to get out of training and into the game I ready for the story to get out of my head and onto the page And I have Andrew Peterson to thank for that So thank you, Andrew To the rest of my readers, go buy and read his book, then please share your thoughts in the comments section or on The Classical Thistle Facebook page website I run where I first published this review I would love to dialogue about his book. This book was a pure pleasure to read It s a casual stroll through Peterson s life, exploring the why and the how of creativity along the way The underlying premise of the book is that creativity is an act of worship Since we were made to glorify God, worship happens when someone is doing exactly what he or she was made to do In other words, our creative work is a doorway through which an audience walks and encounters whatever or whomever we worship Peterson is a humble guide which makes his wisdom all the easier to swallow I ve underlined far too much in this book, but I m convinced that it will encourage and direct young artists while reminding veterans of their first love Like all of his music, this book will resonate with those who feel an ache for home that this life can never satisfy We carry with us a quiet hollow in the heart, an unsung bell that waits to sound with the final note of the reappearing of the Lamb of God. An interesting, honest exploration of the journey and processes of one of the most revered song story writers of our time. A delightful and deeply personal book from an artist I ve long appreciated. Reads like an autobiography of Andrew Peterson, but with an emphasis on content creation As a preacher the application is very practical. Rarely does a book serve as beautiful writing as well as a practical guide to accessing the creative person God has intended you to be Andrew Peterson has done it This has been an impactful book to help me in my times of being stuck creatively It is helping me to let go and allow God to work through the ideas He has given me For those who read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, this books picks up on where and what this Resistance is in our lives and helps us practically in how to tackle it It is not a book merely for the Andrew Peterson fan but it should sit on your shelf accessible at any moment with On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior, On Writing by Stephen King, STORY by Robert McKee, and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. Adorning the Dark is an Andrew Peterson memoir, and is certain to be a hit with fans of Andrew s music and books, especially if they want to know of his story and the events that led him to where he is and helped him become the artist they know and love But this is also a book about creativity, a handbook for singer songwriters, authors, poets, and musicians The author uses his life as the basis for helping his readers understand the joys, challenges, and hard work of creating and sustaining a vocation in the performing arts.Andrew is a devout Christian, and he performs music of faith, usually for Christian audiences and often in churches or at religious events Those readers with a particular interest in the Contemporary Christian Music scene of the last two or three decades will find much here to excite and entertain them, as the author narrates the highs and lows of a musical life lived in the interest of glorifying God in the name of Jesus Christ Included in the narrative are stories and mentions of a lot of well known in Christian circles musicians and writers and how they influenced and interacted with Andrew throughout his career Fans of Christian musician Rich Mullins will be delighted to discover that Andrew Peterson might just be the world s most fervent devotee of the deceased artist s work Mullins influence and artistic output is mentioned in almost every chapter When Andrew claims to have been deeply affected by Mullins body of work, he isn t fooling around, and reminds us every chance he gets Side note I had a friend twenty years ago who was almost as rabid in his adoration of Rich Mullins as Andrew Peterson is My friend never listened to any other singer and talked endlessly about his musical idol I wish my friend and this author could meet As a reader and music fan for whom Mr Mullins appeal was decidedly less pronounced, I came closing to being disappointed with the continual references to him and his work.Andrew tells his own story well He is a gifted writer, a good storyteller, and a talented musician Personally, I was especially pleased to note that he and I had similar misgivings concerning the rise in popularity of worship music in the Christian radio world in the early 2000s, as it displaced so many talented singer songwriters from the airwaves and charts If you are a creative type who is interested in some practical advice from someone who has spent decades honing his craft, there is a lot of good content in this book related to creating music and to writing I was reminded of books like The Writing Life, by Annie Dillard, A Poetry Handbook, by Mary Oliver, and Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott Andrew Peterson has added another title to the long list of creativity handbooks that are worth a look.Thank you to Netgalley and BH Publishing Group for the electronic Advance Reader Copy I used to read this title. Andrew Peterson s book Adorning the Dark is not at all the kind of book that I normally read I found it very enjoyable though Peterson is a talented and transparent writer I first heard of Andrew Peterson through his wonderful song Is He Worthy and have listened to of his music since then I read the book simply because I recognized his name and wanted to hear of his story This book is part loose memoir and part semi organized philosophizing on Christian artistry and creativity I missed a number of the references and connections in this book, and I would probably find it practically helpful if I were a songwriter or author That being said, it s still a fun book to read and I have no regrets that I picked it up.Peterson makes his case that all of us are called to create, that Christian creativity requires large doses of humility, service, and dependence upon God, and that we all create better as part of an encouraging community.If you re interested in Peterson s music, if you enjoy creating content, or if you just want to read an enjoyable, thought provoking book, give this one a shot I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. Making Something Beautiful In A Broken World Can Be Harrowing Work, And It Can T Be Done Alone Over The Last Twenty Years, Andrew Peterson Has Performed Thousands Of Concerts, Published Four Novels, Released Ten Albums, Taught College And Seminary Classes On Writing, Founded A Nonprofit Ministry For Christians In The Arts, And Executive Produced A Film All In A Belief That God Calls Us To Proclaim The Gospel And The Coming Kingdom Using Whatever Gifts Are At Our Disposal He S Stumbled Along The Way, Made Mistake After Mistake, And Yet Has Continually Encountered The Grace Of God Through An Encouraging Family, A Christ Centered Community Of Artists In The Church, And The Power Of Truth, Beauty, And Goodness In Scripture And The Arts While There Are Many Books About Writing, None Deal First Hand With The Intersection Of Songwriting, Storytelling, And Vocation, Along With Nuts And Bolts Exploration Of The Great Mystery Of Creativity In Adorning The Dark, Andrew Describes Six Principles For The Writing Life Serving The Workserving The Audienceselectivitydiscernmentdisciplineand Community Through Stories From His Own Journey, Andrew Shows How These Principles Are Not Merely Helpful For Writers And Artists, But For Anyone Interested In Imitating Way The Creator Interacts With His Creation This Book Is Both A Memoir Of Andrew S Journey And A Handbook For Artists, Written In The Hope That His Story Will Provide Encouragement To Others Stumbling Along In Pursuit Of A Calling To Adorn The Dark With The Light Of Christ This book is an excellent book for any Christian who has a desire to create Andrew is very forthcoming with his own story, and I found his examples of his own struggles encouraging Creation takes work Creation isn t easy But creation is imperative because of whose we are.There were times throughout the book where I felt his prose fairly sang, as when he said, Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor too, by making worlds and works of beauty that blanket the earth like flowers Let your homesickness keep you always from spiritual slumber The grand narrative of this book is that we were all created to create because we have been created in the image of our Creator God, and we each have a true, beautiful and honest story to tell that is unique and needed in a world darkened by Satan and his lies.