- Planet Erstwild - 20160518 - Claire Hoffman-Author Of Greetings From Utopia Park

Join James Moore for a discussion wClaire Hoffmanith Claire Hoffman about her book GREETINGS FROM UTOPIA PARK: Surviving A Transcendent Childhood, her career and perspectives on life this Wednesday, May 18th at 1pm CT on KRUU-LP 100.1. [Rebro THU 7pm & Fri 3pm]

Claire works as a magazine writer living in Los Angeles, writing for national magazines, covering culture, religion, celebrity, business and whatever else seems interesting. She was formerly a staff reporter for the Los Angeles Times and a freelance reporter for the New York Times.

She has a masters degree in religion from the University of Chicago, and a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University. She serves on the board of her family foundation, the Goldhirsh Foundation, as well as the Columbia Journalism School. Claire is a native Iowan and has been meditating since she was three years old.

UTOPIA is a riveting, astonishingly honest, ultimately life-affirming journey through the heartlands of consciousness, spirituality and Fairfield. Claire's gifts as a writer and storyteller are abundant and manifest, her observations manage to be fierce, gentle, discerning, and loving at the same time.

For those of us who grew up inside the bubble diagram, so to speak, committed to the high ideals of creating 'heaven on earth' in the cornfields of Iowa, hopeful of floating into the sunset of the age of enlightenment, there will be uncomfortable moments. Claire's organic magical realism peels the onion all the way back to the unified field and then some. Some passages had me wincing in embarrassed recognition, others made me laugh or shake my head, mostly at myself, others feel proud or sometimes sad in unexpected ways.

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Don't get me wrong. There is nothing mean-spirited or axe-grindy about the book. This spiritual coming of age story is a pure joy to read, impossible to put down, a transcendental feast that reminds me of the book that attracted me to TM as a teenager: Herman Hesse's "Siddhartha". Claire's intimate tale of a wide-eyed innocent growing up under one dogma, split between two worlds, reveals that the universal quest for spirituality is as much about who we are as where we go or what we believe.

Even for the most beautiful of doubting Thomases, it appears that redemption is the provenance of a personal journey of self-love, acceptance and expressed love. And that honest questions, paradoxically, seem to be worth more than All The Answers combined. Claire's story comes full circle, mother to daughter to mother to daughter, like a perfect mandala, but not in a closed way. In a dynamic, living, breathing spiral, with room for doubts and time for TM timeouts.