The Luminous Solution

Charlotte Wood
Allen & Unwin


Along with many others, Charlotte Wood has used the 2020 lockdown to engage in reflection and writing. She sees books as passing through her life like a river of knowledge and feeling. The exceptions to this are those that sit at her back and examine the nature of art and creativity, discussion of the elements of fiction. This collection of essays - most already published in some form - enters this world and explores creativity and the craft of writing.

Wood looks at creativity as a quest for the answers to critical questions. She sees this as an invitation to exploration and discovery that in essence calls for the writer to move into the mine of riches in their beings and to listen to the floating sounds of their answers.

In her chapter titled ‘‘the grumpy struggle, despair and the luminous solution’’ she identifies a sequence of the craft and its process and lays out as a chronology of nine kinds of creative thinking.

Drawing on her own experience and that of others, she proposes that this is likely to be the journey, where the author searches for power or energy coming from their work.

Wood is in no doubt about the value of the writer’s craft and its outcome, she suggests that it contains multitudes, the notion that more than one thing can be true at once, and gives us a place in a somewhat chaotic world to find a level of peace mined from from the writer’s stillness.

While each of these chapters has a discrete identity, their placement as a contributor to a coherent whole enriches and expands their reflections and insights. It is akin to single songs being reissued in a concept album. The Luminous Solution earns its place on the shelves that keep Wood’s back.

Willie Campbell is a Dunedin educator

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