Grain of Truth

Grain of Truth: The Ancient Lessons of Craft

Grain of Truth is a book about the creative process; its flavors and shades and peculiar demands. The narrative follows the meandering track of my creative process through the course of just over a year, as I explore the work of my own hands as a guide in the unfolding of my awareness. Combining ancient Taoist philosophy with reflections on family, culture and nature, Grain of Truth offers a view of the diverse rewards of creative endeavor — which can be both nurturing and relentless.

Grain of Truth, shortlisted for the Governor General’s award (the highest literary award in Canada), is an exploration of creative work as devotion, as revelation, as a rough opening polished by the shapes of beauty. Through the experience of rebuilding a childhood sailing dinghy, crafting a garden lantern, making a musical instrument, or simply stacking lumber, I search for the essence of creativity. I show how the work of hands can fill each moment with new breath, new forms, so that the self becomes gossamer-light, a kite held aloft by unfathomable strings. This simple alchemy begins in the hand as it opens the palm and reaches, with supple fingers, outward.

Grain of Truth was published in 2001 to critical acclaim. Described as "gorgeous...teeming with insight and inspiration" by The Globe and Mail and "a polished, finished artifact" by The Calgary Herald, Grain of Truth was lauded for its lyricism and thoughtfulness. The Hamilton Spectator urged readers to “give yourself an evening in a quiet place and read this little book with attention. It could change your life.”

Looking for more?

You can read the reviews in full here, and an excerpt here.

The ideas and topics explored in Grain of Truth are also explored in the university courses I teach. You can find out more about these here.