By Laraine Herring
Shambhala Publications, $16.95, 224 pages

Like the Kenny Chesney song ‘You had Me From Hello’ Laraine Herring’s book Writing Begins With the Breath had me from Page 1. Her story begins with the good fortune of getting to spend several weeks along the Oregon coast for a winter writer’s retreat. Along came Mother Nature and a rare snowfall, even as the locals kept repeating to her “it never snows here.” It wasn’t just her undying determination to make it from her quaint cabin to her hunger 72 miles away, the largest  used bookstore in America, Powell’s. It was her journey along that mountain pass, tail spins and all, which put the book in perspective for this reviewer. She was, in effect, living what she teaches us in that our breath, like nature, is not to be fought against and that good things will come forth, like an abundance of writing. The struggles come from our resistance to embrace our craft and all of the discomforts that come with it. Reach deep within yourself for that childlike quality that makes you uniquely you and put it all down on paper. Take help from fellow writers; not unlike Laraine when she was pulled from the snow bank by a group of friendly Oregonians. Alas, she did not make it her destination that wintry day.  But she sure has made up for it in the writing and publishing world.  She shines in this book. Guess it doesn’t hurt to have the publisher of Natalie Goldberg either.

Kathleen Godwin