Books on My Sidebar and The Spirituality of Imperfection

Down at the bottom of my sidebar, I have a large widget under the heading “Storytelling Books.” A few notes about these books… They fall basically into these three categories:

  1. Books about storytelling, primarily applied forms of storytelling, such as storytelling for healing, organizational storytelling/business narrative, and storytelling in career and job search.
  2. Storytelling how-tos, such as how to journal, how to craft your life story, how to do digital storytelling, how to use stories in presentations, and how to use stories in training and communication
  3. Books that are told primarily in stories, including entire books that are a story or fable, such as Peter Weddle’s Recognizing Richard Rabbit and the business novel Edge by Corey Blake et al, as well as collections of true stories on similar themes: how people got their jobs, interesting careers people have, how people escaped from corporate America, stories of marriages, workplace stories, stories of the Great Depression, stories of science, and stories about values.

The other thing I need to say about these books is that most of them are not exactly recommendations because … I confess that I haven’t read most of them. Yes, I’ve read some and can heartily recommend them. The books are on the sidebar because I have come across them while researching entries for A Storied Career. I own many of them.

But I am a slow reader to the point where my deficiency in reading speed is almost a learning disability. I once took a speed-reading class in which I discovered that I didn’t really want to read faster. I will confess, however, that my slow reading has been problematic — in graduate school for example. I have also developed a pattern of reading myself to sleep, so anytime I read, my body starts to think it’s sleepytime.

This summer, I’ve made a commitment to read a good chunk of the books on my sidebar. I just finished the book I was writing (I think I write books faster than I read them), so I have a bit more time.

My first selection was The Spirituality of Imperfection: Storytelling and the Search for Meaning, which I had come across multiple times in research for this blog. I had seen it mentioned in both storytelling circles and addiction-recovery circles. Both are directly relevant to me because I am a 26-years-sober recovering alcoholic.

The Spirituality of Imperfection by Ernest Kurtz and Katherine Ketcham essentially embodies the spirituality of 12-step groups, particularly Alcoholics Anonymous. I did not use AA in my recovery; I quit drinking cold-turkey. But this book made me realize how important storytelling is for recovery and made me long for a 12-step group even after being sober for more than twice as long as the 10-year period during which I was drinking.

It’s a beautiful, gentle, inspiring book. At first I was puzzled about where the storytelling element was even though the book is full of illustrative stories.

At this point, it occurs to me that this entry is getting kind of long. I want to share with you some of the storytelling wisdom of The Spirituality of Imperfection and thus, the sharing continues in the next entry.