The Luminous Solution
By Charlotte Wood
Allen & Unwin 2021
Charlotte Wood is an Australian writer with a succession of fiction and non-fiction novels. Her work includes The Writer’s room and The natural way of things. She has also had success with articles featured in The New York Times and The Guardian, among others. The Luminous Solution is a book that draws from Wood’s doctoral studies in creativity, experience with her own writing journey and her many interviews with other creative writers. It is a series of essays that discuss creativity, resilience and the inner life. On top of that, there is an underlying theme of gender equity and political progress. Looking through a writer’s lens, Wood explores ideas around mentorship, despair and creative thinking, and uses her honed skill of metaphor to explain hers and those she admires’ approach to solving creative puzzles.
Intuition Vs Pragmatism, a resonating piece, describes two approaches to writing: “There’s the dreamer, the mystery seeker… and there’s the pragmatist who trusts in hard work and grit.” Pg 99 Further to this, Wood confesses to abandonment of a piece when the struggle becomes impossible: “perseverance wasn’t helping me,” pg 102. She describes her conflict with ‘giving up’ versus the need to give herself space. Eventually the “melancholy ache” brings her back and she returns to the work in “pure pragmatist mode.” Pg 103.
Further in the book, Wood’s articles turn to rage as she discusses issues of feminism. She describes the rage as ultimately exhausting. She then finishes her collection by posing questions such as “How should we think about growing old?” and discussing her thoughts.
A diverse collection of essays that thread together logically and result in an insightful and thought provoking book.
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As a lover of books and a teacher, I read widely. Here you will find book reviews of many genres including picture story, middle grade fiction, graphic novels, women's fiction, short story anthologies, non-fiction and anything else that takes my fancy.