Holy Writ

Paperback | March 15, 2001

byK. D. Miller

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Holy Writ is not `chicken soup for the writer's soul'. It isn't a guide for getting in touch with your inner Nobel prize winner either, or a twelve-step program for recovery from writer's block. Holy Writ is one author's examination of the creative and spiritual sides of her life. Often hilarious, always unorthodox, K.D. Miller's reflections on writing as a form of worship, selfishness as a virtue and church-going as a necessary evil, will delight believer and skeptic alike. In several of the essays, she is joined by colleagues from the writing community -- practising Catholic Philip Marchand, one-time Quaker Elizabeth Hay and atheist Russell Smith among them.

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Holy Writ is not `chicken soup for the writer's soul'. It isn't a guide for getting in touch with your inner Nobel prize winner either, or a twelve-step program for recovery from writer's block. Holy Writ is one author's examination of the creative and spiritual sides of her life. Often hilarious, always unorthodox, K.D. Miller's refle...

K.D. Miller's stories and essays have appeared in numerous magazines and have been nominated for the Journey Prize and the National Magazine Award for fiction (1997). In 1999 she was a runner-up in the PRISM international short fiction contest. Two collections of her stories have been published -- A Litany in Time of Plague (PQL 1994),...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:152 pages, 8.71 × 5.52 × 0.65 inPublished:March 15, 2001Publisher:Porcupine's QuillLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0889842221

ISBN - 13:9780889842229

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According to my diary, I began work on Holy Writ in July of 1998. Since I finished the last essay in July of 2000, it might be fair to say the book was my millennium project. Except I didn't think of it that way. In fact, aside from collecting a few token canned goods and bottles of water, I didn't think much about the millennium at all. On December 31, 1999, I went to bed at my usual (early) time, then woke up at 12:01 to a racket that was nothing compared to what went on in this same Toronto neighbourhood the first year the Blue Jays won the World Series. I noticed my digital clock was still running, turned on a couple of lights to make sure life as I knew it would continue, then went back to sleep.But I don't want to suggest that the dawning of the two-thousandth year since the alleged birth of Jesus had no effect on me whatsoever. The whole millennial decade, in fact, was marked with significant developments for me on both the spiritual and creative fronts.In 1990, I joined a church. In 1994, then again in 1999, I contracted with a publisher to produce a book. However amused (or perhaps alarmed) each of those establishments might be by the suggestion that they have anything in common, in fact they have much. Each has a mission to the world. Each has a carefully refined idea of what constitutes `good'. Each formalizes and brings out into the open what is initially impulsive and private. And each introduces the individual to a community of like-minded souls.I've made good friends through both my church and my publisher. Over the years, my calendar has been dotted more or less equally with parish and PQL events. I have an ongoing relationship with both, and am grateful to both for their care and support.But just as I did not begin to write when the senior editor of the Porcupine's Quill phoned me in 1993, neither did I suddenly acquire a religious faith in 1990 when an Anglican bishop put his hand on my head. In fact, I remember having brunch with a fellow writer in Guelph in the early eighties and confessing to him that I had just realized I was a default Christian. What I meant was, as a child of the fifties, I had been taken to church and subjected to daily Bible readings and the Lord's Prayer at school. As a result, whether I liked it or not, my world-view, my sociological makeup, a lot of my psychological baggage, were essentially Judaeo-Christian. Though it wasn't as fixed a factor as my race or sexual orientation, it was there, and it was bound to affect my writing. I was still an atheist, I hastened to reassure my friend, who had started to recoil. But a Christian atheist. Sort of. Did that make any sense?It didn't, and I'm no longer any kind of atheist. I never really was, truth to tell, though at one time I did take non-belief in God to be a prerequisite for intellectual maturity. As for the Christian part, well, at some point things get particular. I speak a particular language and live in a particular place. By the same token, whenever I've felt the need to give shape and voice to my spiritual leanings, I've fallen back on my own Judaeo-Christian particulars.This is not to say that I regard my religion as better, truer, wiser or inherently more valid than any other. As for those of my baptized brethren who do take the exclusionary view, all I can say is I'd rather be marooned on a desert island with a broad-minded atheist than a Christian fundamentalist any day.So yes, I have been baptized and confirmed and I do have the certificates to prove it. But what I remember about both events is how utterly human they were. After my United Church baptism at age fifteen (which had more to do with a crush on a young minister and an urge to embarrass my Presbyterian parents than anything else) I floated around the house moony-faced for a couple of weeks before having to admit that life, and I, were essentially unchanged. My faith faded like a cut flower after that, and I began the long slouch toward atheism. I was almost there when I had that revelatory brunch in Guelph -- about as close to an epiphany as I ever come. Shortly thereafter I began slouching the other way until, at thirty-nine, I ended up being confirmed on Easter Eve, 1990, in the Anglican Church of Canada.There were about a dozen or so of us spiritual late bloomers that night. We were each given a white placard with our name printed on it, and told to walk, two by two, toward the sanctuary steps where the bishop sat enthroned. Each pair in turn was to kneel on the step right in front of him, holding our placards so he could say our names while placing his hands on our heads and reciting the rite of confirmation from the Book of Common Prayer.It was every bit as simple as it sounds, and that was what worried me. I'm one of those people who can carry out complicated, even terrifying tasks with s080301http://porcupinesquill.ca/admin/../titleimages/kdmiller2.jpgK D Miller

Editorial Reviews

`K.D. Miller's Holy Writ is a sequence of concise, luminous epiphanies that charm and enliven the human spirit. The cumulative effect is surprising: it's as if a representative of our own metaphysical restlessness had charted a passageway through the perilous territory of doubt and insecurity.'