Lauren Winner is one of my dashboard saints. She is in the list of writers and spiritual seekers who influence my own journey. When I was in college I voraciously read her two books “Girl Meets God,” and “Mudhouse Sabbath.” I loved them. Simply loved them. I tried out her “Real Sex” book, and found it less-than-applicable, so I put it down halfway. It’s been years since I’ve thought of her, but finding myself in this confusing spiritual place I decided to pull out a few of my saints and see what they were up to. Anne Lamott’s book isn’t out until November, and I’ve been making do with simply her facebook updates, so seeing that Lauren had published a new book, entitled “Still: Notes on a Mid Faith Crisis,” I knew that I HAD to read it.
I so identified with Lauren’s “character” in her first memoir, as I, too, was wrestling with my own shocking conversion story and jump into a spiritual practice and life that had energy and passion and wasn’t quite as conservative as the faith I grew up with (though there were PLENTY of fundamentalist tendencies I would later see). A mid Faith Crisis? Perhaps a good description of where I am, as it relates to my actions and feelings about church/God/religion/Christianity, etc.
Sadly, with a bursts of shiny quotes I can hang on to, my love of this book stopped at the preface. And in that, the most powerful part of the preface is a quote she uses by some other author:
When the Lord came into me,” Buddy tells her, “it was such a good feeling. I thought, well I can do anything because of this feeling, but then there was all this stuff to do and to think about, and I don’t remember the feeling all that well.”
Yeah, that sums me up pretty well.
The rest of the book read like random thoughts, mixed with metaphor and some prose/poetry combination. While I resonated with the overall feeling of questions and stuckness of “staring against a blank wall.”
But the magic I felt during her first memoir was gone. The breathless reading and relating was gone. Perhaps its more of a testament to where we both feel we are, but I did leave, feeling rather disappointed.