I recently read an article by Thomas Larson titled, “Leo Tolstoy and the Origins of Spiritual Memoir.” In the piece, Larson discusses Tolstoy’s A Confession, a book published in 1882 that chronicles Tolstoy’s “retrospective analysis of the previous five years in which his midlife crisis of faith unbalanced his literary and philosophical bearing. It is among the oddest of Christian tell-alls, a treatise searching for its own focal truth.”

In other words, Tolstoy wrote about his spiritual journey, questioning his life choices and beliefs.

Tolstoy, a literary master, found value in writing about the personal moments of his life. Despite already having published great novels such as War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Tolstoy focused on writing his own experiences. Tolstoy told his story and changed the manner in which inspirational and religious works were written. In other words, he created one of the first ever spiritual memoirs.

Larson explains further, “The critical point here is that ‘the dogmas of [our] own making’ come to writers because personal writing is testimony.”

Articles such as this reaffirm my passion for helping others write their own inspirational stories. While some spiritual memoirs are religious in nature, many are not. What makes spiritual memoir such a unique genre is that each person brings his/her own version of spirituality to the writing table, and by doing so, we share our beliefs and heartfelt experiences with one another. Tolstoy understood this fact.

The article itself is rather dense; Tolstoy’s book probably is as well. I recommend reading Larson’s review in sections to allow yourself time to ponder what he helps us understand about A Confession.

What I want you to know is this: Even one of the most accomplished and revered writers wrote his story. You are not alone in your desire to write yours. I am here to help.

You still have time to register for one or both Spiritual Memoir workshops I am offering this month. Click here to sign up today for the Orlando workshop or contact Diane at oldbooksaver@gmail.com or call 352-396-4069 to learn more about the one near The Villages. Let’s explore the beauty of writing spiritual memoir together, but don’t delay in reserving your spot because space is limited.

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