Month: August 2004
Thanks, everybody, for your comments on Small Graces. I have learned a great deal. It seems that one of the key notions that keeps surfacing is “gratitude.” I never thought “gratitude” was a central theme of the book, but as I reread it I see that there is a constant attitude of thankfulness at its heart. This makes sense, and, more than that, it illuminates something fundamental for me.
I am not, never have been, and never will be a New Age writer. I have no illusions about perfectability of either individual lives or the species itself. I have no belief in infinite abundance, no belief in the self as the only, or even the primary, concern of a life well-examined and a life well-lived. We are, I believe, our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers, and what happens to the least of us happens to us all. We are here to serve — nothing more, nothing less.
But I do brush shoulders with the New Agers at the point of an affirmation of life. I am deeply grateful for the gift of being alive, being able to serve, being able to be part of this crazy, poignant, messy, and miraculous thing called “life.” It is a gift that never ceases to metaphorically, and sometimes physically, put me on my knees at the wonder of it all.
When I asked for help understanding Small Graces, I did not expect that this constant attitude of wonder and gratitude would even be part of the equation. Now I see that it is. It is the place of affirmation in a heart that sees the world in a minor key. It is the place of quietude in a spirit that is otherwise turbulent.
I hope you will all keep writing your thoughts on Small Graces. You are giving me a great gift by reflecting my own work back to me. You may see your thoughts as simple and obvious, but to me they are revelations.
Please keep them coming. I appreciate each and every one of you who writes. We are, after all, a kind of family — kindred hearts trying to articulate our understanding of the world and working in our individual ways to make life better for those around us.
Well, ever so slowly, the whirlwind of this amazing summer is settling down, and life is beginning to return to normal. To have gone from walking the hill towns of Tuscany to walking the hills of Idaho is quite a stretch. The mind and imagination reel from the sights seen and sensations experienced.
But now I have a very real issue that, once again, requires your help. (Well, not all of you, but those of you who are devotees of the book Small Graces, The Quiet Gifts of Everyday Life.)
I need to find out what, exactly, appealed to people about that book. And I’m not talking about specifics of content, I’m talking about the character of the book as a whole. What set it apart from other “inspirational” books in your mind and what touches you about it? Especially those of you who purchase it as gifts or recommend it to others now that you’ve read it: what is it about that book that makes you think it is worthy of sharing with other people?
I won’t give you any leading thoughts here. I have some ideas of my own, but they may be completely off base. This is where you as readers have the chance to complete the circle of understanding about that book. After I get some responses — and, please, give me some responses, as this is very important — we’ll engage in a little dialogue. The webmaster has indicated that he might even be able to put together a real-time discussion where we can spend a few hours together sharing and comparing our thoughts.
But, for now, please do me the favor of responding as fully and forthrightly as you can. Use the Contact form.
I really need you right now, readers. I hope a lot of you will take a little time to help me out on this.