Blink Book Review #1: "The Art of Calm" by Roger Hutchison

Reba Campbell

Posted 6/1/23

By Reba Campbell

Roger Hutchison’s recently released book “The Art of Calm” is the perfect mix of thought-provoking, immensely readable, practical and insightful helping bring new awareness to our daily lives.

The book is structured around Roger’s journey following a mental health crisis in 2017 that left him unsure of how to navigate a world that included this diagnosis. “The Art of Calm” shares many of the tools Roger developed on his path to the peace he’s found. As he began his journey to reshape his life around the mental illness diagnosis, Roger says in the book’s introduction that he “began to pay attention to the world in a new and more intimate way.” And this book is an instruction manual on how to do that.

Roger is a former Columbia resident who was on the staff at Trinity Cathedral for 17 years. He and his family now live in Houston where he is an author and artist and serves at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church. This is Roger’s ninth book published shortly after the release of his most recent children’s book, “Sparrow’s Prayer.”

Through 31 short and very readable chapters, Roger offers up his own story overlaid with life lessons helpful to both those struggling with mental health issues and those seeking to be more present in their daily lives. Each chapter – with titles like “hunger,” “rescue,” “hope,” “awe,” and “truth” – includes questions for reflection, an invitation to explore the world in a new way, and a beautiful prayer.

There’s a dash of creativity thrown into every chapter’s invitation section, which I particularly loved. And even if you don’t consider yourself a “creative” soul, think again. These gentle invitations include activities like gardening, touching base with old friends, walking and even just sitting in silence.

The title of this book is particularly appropriate focusing on the word “calm.” Every chapter in the book exudes calm. There’s no finger pointing or accusations about people needing to be fixed. The book lays out calm, purposeful pathways acknowledging everyone’s narrative is unique while, at the same time, exploring universal practices of healing.

Roger will be in Columbia for a reading and conversation about his book on June 10 at 6 p.m. at All Good Books in Five Points.

In 2022, Reba Campbell set out to get off the screens and back to books for the summer. She set a goal of reading a book a week. Her accountability was writing short (so short you can read them in a blink) Blink Book Reviews. This review is the first of the 2023 summer series. Follow along at Reba’s Random Connect Points blog or join her Blink Book Review Facebook group.

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