Not Eden represents a challenging new appraisal of the methods, purpose and practice of spiritual life writing.
Part 1 examines some of the traditions that have governed spiritual life writing in the past. A dominant assumption, displayed in many confessional texts, has been that spiritual autobiographies chart a journey away from the concerns of this world towards a deeper understanding of the divine.
However, alternative forms of spiritual life writing have always existed alongside these authoritative traditions. In these, spirituality appears as deeply interwoven with the fabric of everyday life. It is embodied, contingent and involves deep connections with others.
Part 2 consists of a work of spiritual life writing in which the claims made in part one are explored and tested. It constitutes a fully worked example of the way in which spiritual life writing can enable us to face the deepest challenges of this world.
"In writing about the self ..., stitching things together from the ragbag of a life ..., you become the author of your own life', Heather Walton inspiringly tells us. She gives her own spiritual life-writing story as example, showing how, 'if we take moral control of our narratives', including 'employing fiction to tell the truth', we can gain not only insight, but also authority." -- Gillie Bolton, Author of The Writers' Key: Creative Solutions for Life
"Our life on earth is not heaven, 'not Eden'. Yet, as Walton’s beautiful prose reveals, we are here to till the garden, and even though there maybe blight and bindweed, there are also hidden rootbuds and blood-red roses. In many ways, this book is an exercise in memory and asks, along with Augustine, 'In which part of my memory are you present?' Walton shows that God is in every part of our memory, in every part of our life, and she does so, rarely needing to even mention the word, 'God'. This is spiritual life writing at its best from a leading practitioner" -- Terry A. Veling, Australian Catholic University