The Book is Finished!

Our gorgeous cover, designed by Meradith at The Troy Book Makers, based on a photo by Carole Fults

Relief. Oh my gosh, the relief. Along with growing excitement.

An actual book. It’s here. Giggle, wiggle and woo hoo! 

For long time readers at this site, some of the essays and photos will be familiar. The growth of the nature essays into meditations on friendship will be new, along with the poems and photos by my co-author and delightful hiking partner Carole Fults. 

It has been months and months (I hate to say but yes, years) of striving to finish edits, hire a formatter and choose publication routes, stumble along, play avoid-don’t avoid, and return repeatedly to this very challenging work of creating and putting out a book. 

To unfurl, to birth a new thing into the world, happy Spring! (Ferns at Sage College, Troy NY)

I pet the silky cover of the locally printed copies from The Troy Book Makers. 

I touch the glossy cover of the print-on-demand version. 

I take in the saturated color of the photographs.

It is a sensual experience, this physical book, in a time when I have mostly been reading ebooks from the library on a tablet. Blue-lit screens during the day and brown-lit screens at night (so as not to disturb my sleep), thoughts of battery usage and news articles too easily accessed often distract me from the act of reading. 

Words on a page, I have heard, are more memorable than on a screen. I agree.

Squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis), in the same family, very similar, but not quite the same as Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra cucullaria) below—
—somewhat like an e-book versus a printed book. (Both images from Robert H. Treman State Park in Ithaca NY)

Of course, A Walking Friendship: The First 500 Miles is available to view and preorder as an ebook as well as a softcover (love that descriptor!), at the national online stores here and here and independent bookstores (several here and here, or even for my dear friends in Chicago here but really at all of them!), and on our author page at Book Baby, where our print on demand and ebook versions originate. Every view, every pre-order, every Goodreads mention and Wish List addition, every request for a library to purchase, helps our book.

However our audience prefers to purchase, we want it to get out there. The release is June 11.

All these informational phrases are starting to flow trippingly off my tongue, as I earnestly learn “the elevator speech” to describe our book in a single sentence, and as I let go of Ego and self judgment based on what people might think of the project. 

***

I am better with perfectionism these days and recognize it more quickly. The weight of almost a year of mandated day-job overtime and completely different work duties added an extra layer to the challenge. I am just glad I can fall finally back in love with this manuscript—now book—all over again.

For right now I am doing the Happy Dance as I print promotional postcards and plan Zoom readings and interviews.

Go! Fly! Be Free! (More giggles.)

***

This book is imperfectly perfect. It is a creation that is done being created. It has taken flight, out into the world. What it will grow into, we will see.

Mostly my coauthor and I wish for the richness we found walking in the woods to be experienced by as many people as possible, since it was such a gift to us.

A tiny elm seed that made its way into my kitchen: metaphor for sending creative work out into the world.

Thanks to everyone who has helped and encouraged us, chided and applauded and assisted us–and most of all, took our work as seriously as we do.

We are so small in the hugeness of nature. What a wondrous feeling. (Hiker at the bottom of the 115 drop of Lucifer Falls, Robert H. Treman State Park, Ithaca NY)

April is Poetry Month!

IMG_2705 copyright Of-the-Essence Blog

Yes, we do get snow in April! Along the Vlomankill at Five Rivers Environmental Education Center, a few weeks ago.

I chose this photo because poetry is about reflections.

Many of us are doing quite a bit of reflecting these days–when not gnashing our teeth or crying or taking care of the loved people and/or creatures in our living space or learning new skills or finally, finally doing long-put-off projects–or for essential workers, spending exhausted hours doing what we need to do.

Today I have a poem up on the Rensselaerville NY Public Library Poem-A-Day page. In spite of its topical nature, the poem was written under different circumstances and because of other challenges in my life back then; funny how it speaks to Right Now.

Then again, that’s poetry.

You can find the poem here (and comment there if you like) and information about the Rensselaerville Library and the history of their Poetry Month celebration here .

More photos to come soon, as I figure out how to juggle the day job overtime hours and the things that feed me best.