Adorning The Dark: Thoughts on Community, Calling, and the Mystery of Making
By: Andrew Peterson
B&H Books (October 15, 2019)
Adorning The Dark is a wonderfully poetic book about being an artist. Peterson weaves his own story into practical advice that all artists can use, particularly songwriters. This book reads like Patti Smith’s books Just Kids and M Train, told from a theological perspective. As I take on little projects myself (even if they are only blog posts of poems, drawings, and random ideas) I see how making art is such a calling and daily struggle. Somehow, maybe, you were made for this. Or you weren’t.
Two of my favorite quotes:
I’m not ashamed to admit that when I go to Barnes & Noble I still visit the fantasy section first. I still run my fingers along the spines and study the cover art. And I still feel that 1987 tingle. Sometimes I even read some of those books. I tell myself it’s just for fun, but I’ll let you in on a secret: I’m on the hunt. Somewhere out there, there’s another Tolkien. Somewhere out there, men and women with redeemed, integrated imaginations are sitting down to spin a tale that awakens, a tale that leaves the reader with a painful longing that points them home, a tale whose fictional beauty begets beauty in the present world and heralds the world to come. Someone out there is building a bridge so we can slip across to elf-land and smuggle back some of its light into this present darkness. I’m always looking for that bridge. I suppose you could call it a quest.
I confess, a mighty fear of irrelevance drove me to this vocation, a pressing anxiety that unless you looked back at me with a smile and a nod and said, “Oh, I see you. You exist. You are real to me and to this world and we’re glad you showed up,” I might just wither away and die. That’s not exactly a noble reason to fling your creations into the world, but it’s a decent place to start.