With the publication of The Business of Being: Soul Purpose In and Out of the Workplace just two weeks away, I’ve used the month of June to enjoy a much slower version of life before I hit the ground running:
July 11, San Diego, The Book Catapult
July 27, Boise, Rediscovered Books
Aug 12, Crystal Lake, IL, Veteran Acres Park
When I was in Joshua Tree, CA I saw this “hammock roundup” that five people can enjoy simultaneously.
On Eleuthera Island, the neighbors across the way enjoy a solo version of quietude.
And while we don’t have a hammock where we live, there’s a multitude of gentle choices. My three favorites are reading (dive headfirst into a book and don’t surface for a good, long while), restorative yoga, and walking the Boise River Greenbelt. We’re also just a stone’s throw from an arboretum, nature center, and park.
While on sabbatical in Darby, Montana to complete The Business of Being, I wrote like a fiend during the day, and read until I couldn’t hold my eyes open any longer at night.
During a walk with Willa near the river, we happened upon a skeleton—most likely that of a mule deer. It immediately brought to mind Natalie Goldberg’s book “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within.”
In her book, Goldberg addresses the importance of reading. Writers read for the sheer joy of it, but also to ignite our imaginations. We read to gain insight on storytelling; to ponder concepts, ideas, and issues outside our sphere of knowledge; to learn new approaches and techniques for narration, plots, and scenes—each necessary for “writing down the bones.”
Goldberg said, “Writing practice is no different from other forms of Zen practice.” I would add that—for me, at least—reading is the same. It’s a practice; one I adhere to daily.
I enjoy writing nonfiction, but I also have fun writing fiction. I currently have a murder mystery simmering on the back burner that I’ll jump back into—with gusto!—once The Business of Being is complete.
The game of Clue offers several options as murder weapons—wrench, rope, candlestick, revolver, lead pipe, and knife.
Hint #7 — A portion of the state where I’m enjoying my sabbatical is considered a paradise for geologists.
Now that I’ve been in my sabbatical location for a while, and my mind’s had ample opportunity to wander, I think death by icicle would make a good way in a murder mystery to eliminate someone (picture me rubbing my hands together with a diabolical glint in my eyes). Unlike a knife used to stab someone, once a spike of ice has melted, there’d be no murder weapon as evidence.
Who is your favorite mystery writer?
Reminder, the caveat of the Looking for Laurie game stipulates: “The first person to type the accurate city and state of my sabbatical location into the comments section of the Mar 28 post will receive a personalized copy of Note to Self: A Seven-Step Path to Gratitude and Growth for themselves or as a gift to someone else.”
When my friend, Shirley Hershey Showalter, wrote about When Breath Becomes Air in her blog post, When Time Shall Be No More: Kalanithi and Kairos, on February 10, 2016, I read it immediately following the book I was currently reading. Shirley’s wisdom and track record are such that when she recommends something, you don’t hesitate.
It’s rare that I use my blog to share about books that I’ve read. An avid reader and reviewer, I use Goodreads and Amazon for that purpose. However, I feel so strongly about When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi that I’m sharing it here.
After reading devouring the book, this is the review I posted on Goodreads and Amazon:
For over two decades a particular book held the highly coveted all-time-favorite-book place in my heart. In one fell swoop, WHEN BREATH BECOMES AIR single-handedly took its place. Each word chosen with tremendous care, the writing is exquisite. A call to action, the reader can’t help but sit down and carefully examine the nooks and crannies of their essence to discover what it is—exactly—that gives their individual life meaning. A call to action, this book is going to change your life!
With the death of my hard drive (yes, she’s still with the Geek Squad), I’ve had the unexpected opportunity to fall back in love with Mrs. K. — my Kindle. I don’t have one of the new fancy-schmancy Kindles. No, not me. I have the original model. And I’m smitten with her.
Now before any potential naysayers jump in, please let me say that I adore printed books. As do so many of us. But that very love has a negative impact on my first-and-foremost favorite things on this planet—trees.
As of September 6, 2008 the figure of 20 million trees was the common estimate for the number of trees cut down annually for the production of books sold in the United States alone. That figure doesn’t include the production of newspapers or magazines — just books.
No trees — none — are harmed when you read books on a Kindle or any other type of eReader.
The cost of a book on Kindle is at least half (if not less) than the price of a printed book. Because most of the classics have been in the public domain for so long, many of them are available for free, and there are a multitude of website that give away free books for the Kindle.
My Kindle weighs the same or less than a regular book and takes up the same amount of space, or less, all the while, carrying about a hundred books (depending on their length). Once it’s full I simply move them over to the “shelves” in my private Kindle “library.”
If I ever lose my Kindle, all of the books I’ve ever purchased are still mine (even if I haven’t moved them to my library yet).
If it’s ever stolen, with one quick phone call, my Kindle quickly becomes nothing more than a paperweight to the person who took it.
And yes, I can still lose myself in the “pages” of a Kindle, just like a real book, only better because I can adjust the font size bigger or smaller — depending on my need. The screen looks just like the pages in a print book. There’s no back light or glare. I can even “dog ear” a page if I want, but the Kindle automatically remembers my last location so it’s really not necessary.
By the way, I’m currently reading The Genie in Your Genes: Epigenetic Medicine and the New Biology of Intention by Dawson Church — I highly recommend it.