‘She is no kook’: Religion writer defends Marianne Williamson

In a surprise twist on the first evening of the second Democratic debate, spiritual writer and presidential candidate Marianne Williamson received some of the night’s largest applause lines. She ably argued for paying financial reparations to black Americans, criticized the panel of her competitors for corporate funding and displaying an out-of-touch “wonkiness,” and accused President Donald Trump of emboldening a “dark psychic force” of “collectivized hatred” among the American people.
Viewers who have been following the news will be excused for not recognizing her. This was not the Williamson who has been caricatured by some in the media as an unqualified hippie healer and who Rolling Stone needled as “the cosmic sorceress this election needs” and who Salon.com said should be elected “Secretary of Crystals.” Nor was this the Williamson who was snubbed by Vogue when they photographed the female Democratic candidates because they didn’t consider her serious enough. No, the Williamson who stood in the second debate more closely resembles the poised woman I know and worked with for several months. And she is no kook.
Williamson and I first met for lunch at the Soho House in New York City on Feb. 2, 2018. She sauntered in with the aura of a reincarnated Judy Garland – classy and charismatic, like a woman stepping out of a bygone era. Wearing a pressed black pantsuit, she used sophisticated words reminiscent of black-and-white films.
I don’t remember the specifics of our lunch discussion, but Williamson phoned me the next day and said she felt compelled to meet again. I agreed, and a few days later, at her Midtown residence, she confessed that she had been experiencing writer’s block with her recent book and needed help getting unstuck.
As a consultant to many authors, I often help writers structure their books before…