I’ve gotten quite a few emails asking me about the status of Trails, the new book I’m co-authoring with my husband Scott. I thought it only fair to update you, my loyal readers, on the status of the project.
Needless to say, my getting a severe case of the flu, then the sudden death of my former husband, set us back a bit. We are blessed to have a wonderful and caring managing editor, Kimberlee Williams, at Vanilla Heart Publishing. She has been a rock through all the delays, dealing with a temperamental artist (that would be me) who was sick, then sick and grieving. Delaying the book a few weeks was not a problem for her. She told me, “It’s all good, Smoky. We’re fine.”
So, I’m back in the saddle and working on completing the book. My goal is to have it to Kimberlee at VHP early next week. The electronic versions of the book will probably hit the major book venues a few days before print becomes available, but the book will be available in both eBook and print form.
Because you all have been so patient waiting for Trails, and because most of you are more familiar with my writing than with Scott’s, I thought I’d give you a little teaser today, an excerpt from one of Scott’s pieces.
On the Road to Sustainability
Tongue in cheek, Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “We are what we pretend to be.” Funny, of course. But, typical of Vonnegut, this statement is also profound. A synonymous assertion is the popular ’60’s slogan, “You are what you eat.” So it goes.
What’s meant here? For earth-worshipping hippies, a group to which we happily belong, isn’t this backwards thinking? Aren’t we all working to strip away the veneer, to find our essence, to find the truth?
Yes, of course, we shouldn’t pretend to be anything.
But, when we’re not looking, what we say, the company we keep, how we dress, what we read, the music we enjoy, the movies and television we watch, our hobbies, who we love, our politics, how we relate to the environment, and what we eat, make us who we are. All these things merge together and solidify; our tastes and values become the essence of who we are, or who we pretend to be.
Yes, we study Buddhism, we practice meditation, we know our ego is a trap, an illusion. But while we’re waiting for enlightenment, shouldn’t we at least pretend to be enlightened? Wouldn’t we rather live in a world inhabited by people pretending to be enlightened, rather than the selfish, wasteful insanity that surrounds us? Wouldn’t we rather have a neighbor who’s pretending to be kind, rather than one who’s pretending to be mean?
Some of you are thinking: I’d rather have a neighbor who is kind rather than one who is mean. It’s a matter of semantics. Most of us are neither nice nor mean. We’re definitely not enlightened. We’re students; we’re practicing to become enlightened. And we know this practice will take a very long time, a millennia of lifetimes. We’re human beings, complete packages, containing all the irrational paradoxes of life.
We’re not truly ourselves yet; we’re practicing to be ourselves. In this context, Vonnegut’s brilliant statement morphs into the following: We are what we practice to be. Not as funny, of course, but it nicely serves our purposes, the earth’s purposes.
What does Vonnegut’s statement have to do with sustainability? It’s all a matter of choice, a matter of learning, a matter of practice. We can choose kindness rather than meanness, kindness to all sentient beings, to all creatures; kindness to ourselves, to our bodies; kindness to the earth.
Practice kindness rather than love. Love can be beautiful, but it also can be ugly. Along with love comes, judgment, control, jealousy, anger, hate. We can, for example, be unkind to the people we love, to the world we love.
Here, then, is the our simple message: let’s choose, let’s learn, let’s practice, let’s pretend to be kind; kind to ourselves, kind to our loved ones, kind to our neighbors, kind to the earth.
This is where we begin. We practice sustainability, sustaining the earth, and all that occupies the earth, both animate and inanimate—yes, we want to sustain rocks and dirt.
We aren’t attempting completeness here. We’re not environmental scientists, biologists, botanists, et cetera. We’re artists, that’s all. And here are some of the simple things we’ve chosen to practice kindness. This is our contribution.
* ~ *
Please take the time to check out my books at the link above, as well as further explore my Website. You can read excerpts from my novels and short stories by clicking on the widgets at the bottom of this page.
If you enjoyed this blog, I invite you to subscribe by email via the link on the right. If you’re on Facebook, you can like my author page by clicking that link; if you’re on Twitter, you can follow me by clicking the Twitter link. I follow back. Thank you.