A reader’s thoughts on Dancing with the Gods

Yesterday I received a note from a woman who had just read Dancing with the Gods.  Not only did she “get it,” she is exactly the type of reader I hope to reach — literate, thoughtful, creators who think and care deeply about their art.  Here is what she wrote.  She also posted her comments on Amazon, for which I am, as always, very grateful.  Perhaps the book would speak to you or someone you know. as well.

I read Dancing With The Gods at a time when crushing disappointment over my art was upon me. Lost in confusion and regret, Mr. Nerburn’s words acknowledged  my fears yet challenged them by affirming my own experience as an aspiring, hesitant creative.  

It is a book that speaks from a place of truth and also tenderness. 

“You will live in a world of uncertainty, never knowing if your creations are good enough, always fearing financial cataclysm, unsure if your dreams are more than self-delusion….But you will also live in a world of joy, with its magical moments when the act of creation lifts you and propels you with a power that seems to come from beyond yourself. …. And know the miraculous experience of having intimate conversations with people long dead and far away through your personal dialogue with their art. You will know what it is to work with love.”

Beyond words, this work redeemed my spirit as it pushed me forward, onward in my art.  I highly recommend it as a reading constant to all of us who, on a daily basis, wrestle with fear and doubt about our work and passions, yet experience subtle, genuine moments of grace and providence in our pursuits.  

6 thoughts on “A reader’s thoughts on Dancing with the Gods”

  1. I haven’t read Dancing with the Gods. I must rectify this immediately. I love all your works especially the “Dan” stories. I cried quite a few times when reading. I live in the UK and had no idea of the lives and traumas the Native American led. Still shameful in this day and age.

  2. Thank you, Anne. Dancing with the Gods is a different animal, but it shares the same heart as the “Dan” stories. Let me know what you think.

  3. Dear Mr Nerburn,
    The lady who wrote to you is a very dear friend of mine. She shared her comments on your book in her blog.

    I can’t tell you how thrilled and honoured she is to correspond with you, someone who has influenced and inspired her to pursue her art through your writings. Your books are not just inspiration, but are real – “and know the miraculous experience of having intimate conversations with people long dead and far away through your personal dialogue with their art.” – – I’ve seen this happen many times in her journey as a painter.

    Thank you for sharing your gift to inspire many to pursue their dreams and believe in their passion.

  4. Thank you for writing. What we all try to do is to help each other on life’s journey. Sometimes we get it right; sometimes we do it poorly. I’m so grateful to have touched someone with my words about art. As I said in the book, my artistic journey was deeply influenced by a letter I got from Norman Mailer many years ago. If Dancing with the Gods can play a part in influencing another’s journey, credit is due to Mr. Mailer, as well. Someday Stephanie will touch yet another person in the same way, and so the shared journey continues.

  5. Darren Matias

    Hello Mr. Nerburn, I wanted to express my sincerest gratitude to you for writing Dancing With the Gods. Each chapter enveloped me with love and understanding. Your words were like spiritual gold mine to a misunderstood artist like me. Your work found me and my life is grateful to have met your work in this lifetime of mine. Not enough thank you’s can express my gratitude.

  6. Thank you, Darren. This book has had a hard time finding its place in the world, but I truly believe it has a great deal to offer artists. It is the fruit of more than 40 years of listening to artists and reflecting on the artist’s task. I wrote it as a gift to other artists, especially those who are early in their journey. That you have found it and embraced it makes me both happy and proud. You mention thank you’s: there is a thank you that I would love to have — a review by you on Amazon.com. Would you consider going to the book’s page on Amazon and submitting your thoughts in a review? You could submit just what you have written here. It would help other artists find the book because readers are the surest and most honest guide for other readers. Thanks again.

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