Kindred Authors

It is my experience that some authors write as if only to you, that their words speak directly into you in a way that other writers have never done. I don’t mean that their content speaks to you, because even the worst of writers can find a topic that resonates with a reader. I mean that specific writers have a way of touching your soul.

It may be that the author has a worldview or set of beliefs so similar to yours that you find yourself nodding in agreement with every new paragraph, but more often I find that it is the perspective of the author to which I find myself drawn. I appreciate the way in which certain authors teach me to see the world, the way in which they speak of even the most commonplace of items or experiences. I like the way they bring fresh eyes to a subject.

I first came across the term “kindred spirits” in L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables’ stories, which my mother and sister loved when I was younger. The idea spoke of people who were such close friends as to be united nearly as close as kin.

That same idea fits what I mean about certain authors, that you find them to have like minds, to have similar spirits. For me, I have seen that with a number of writers, but the ones who come most quickly to mind are C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Elisabeth Elliot, Carolyn Weber, and most recently, Henri Nouwen.

For each of those authors, I pick up their books with a different emotion and a different expectation than I bring to the works of other authors. I know that whether I agree or disagree with specific assertions, I will enjoy the book as a whole. Even if I disagree with the entire thesis of a book, I will appreciate the author for putting their thoughts into words. Something about their way of writing draws me in and leads me to new thoughts. And I appreciate them for it.

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