I’m on the road with Richard in California, and wasn’t going to blog this week. But I want to share my excitement. When we got to our hotel in San Francisco, we found a package waiting from University of Texas Press. Richard ripped it open when I was checking in, and there it was: Walking Nature Home, A Life’s Journey, my memoir, the first copy of the book. I’ve been working on figuring out how to write this story for nearly three decades, since the event that knocked my comfortable life and career off the path I was walking. To finally hold the actual book in my hands inspired a rush of emotions: joy, pride, terror. (If you’re wondering about the terror, imagine this: Stand up in front of a whole world of strangers. Hold your heart outstretched in your hands and offer them the story of your most personal beliefs and the events that have made you who you are…. If that’s not terrifying, well, you’re more courageous than I am!)
I showed the book to the desk clerk, and then floated up the elevator with Richard to our room, my suitcase and briefcase in one hand, Walking Nature Home held tightly in the other. The book of my heart, in my hands at last! I sat down at the table in our room in front of my computer, knowing I needed to work, but wanting a few minutes first to just be with my book. I put it on my chest and just leaned back, holding my memoir like a sleeping infant, comforting this child of my creative life with the beating of my heart. For a few minutes, we just sat there, the book and me, with Richard smiling proudly at us from across the table.
Physically, this is a beautiful book. The type design is quietly inviting, and the chapter breaks are illuminated by watercolor illustrations of the constellations by Sherrie York. Then there’s the breathtaking cover photo of our own Sangre de Cristo Range in the last rosy light of a winter sunset as the full moon rises. I let Richard look through it, but other than that, I’ve had a hard time letting it out of my hands. Okay, I did show it to Tony, the owner of Caffe Roma here in North Beach where we start our days over fresh pastries, hot and black coffee (Richard) and fresh-squeezed orange juice (me). I took it to Book Passages, one of the best bookstores in the Bay Area to schmooze the book buyer there. And joy of joys, I’ve gotten my first few fan mails, including one from a reader who said she ripped the package open as soon as the book arrived and read the book right through right away. She paid me the compliment of saying that it inspired her. Wonderful words to hear.
So join me in dancing a happy dance! (Imagine me as Snoopy, feet wildly tapping, ears flapping in the breeze….)
You can read the first chapter of Walking Nature Home at the University of Texas Press web site. They’re offering the book at a 33 percent discount, a great deal. Starting on March 23rd, I’ll be headed off on both a bit of a road tour and simultaneously, on a virtual tour, visiting a baker’s dozen of blogs and being interviewed on a free national teleseminar on writing memoir. Details on the blog tour next week, after I get home.