official enough: Slowing Time
the manuscript is off in copy editing. and just this week, i discovered a name that i’ve long known, long answered to, has been added to the “authors” roster.
so that must make it official enough.
and there it is, almost like getting a peek at the amniotic-slicked crown of a baby’s head as it wedges through the birth canal.
it’s slowing time, a book with my name on the cover. and pages and pages of my heart inside.
and it will be in bookstores come october. or maybe even september.
and for a girl who long ago sat tucked between her twin beds, splayed upon the braided oval rug, folding blank pages in halves and quarters, drawing pictures, pressing pencil to page to add sentences and paragraphs, it rather makes my heart thump to see that this time someone other than me is doing the work of rolling those pages off the presses, stamping that copyright on the page with the bit about the library of congress.
it’s a book that was born here, at the old banged-up maple table, where for so many mornings now we’ve pooled our wisdoms and our paying attentions. i think the page that made my heart thump the loudest as i was writing it, was perhaps the dedication page. that’s where you dig down deep and pull out the plumpest roots, the ones without which your heart might wither and die. you’ll find the chair sisters nestled there, in that abbreviated roster of literary midwives, the ones who propped me up on days when i might otherwise have wilted. or crumbled. or run away to hide.
what that means is that you and you and you are among the winds that blew me forward, that would not let me fade away and give up hope.
it’s not so easy putting words to the whispers of a heart. but what i found is that the more i typed, the more i believed.
what i love best about slowing time is that it’s a compilation of the quiet art of paying attention. and paying attention, i’ve found, is a silent — yet deeply animated — form of prayer. it’s tiptoeing through the holy hours of the day, of the seasons, and opening your heart wide enough to feel — and shlurp up — the brushstrokes of the Divine.
sometimes that comes in the words of a five-year-old boy who asks, “mama, what will happen when i die?” and follows rat-a-tat with: “will you die? will daddy die?”
sometimes it comes in keeping watch as mama bird builds her nest, as she scans the clumps of rustling grasses, plucks the fattest one and flies it back to the hatching branch. and, all the while, she’s teaching you a thing or two about resilience. and inexhaustibility. and faith, no matter the pounding of the springtime’s downpour.
often, for me, a lifelong churchgoer — one who pedaled her bike six weeks straight to early-morning mass the lent that i was eight and working hard to put shine to my halo — the Divine has skipped across my heart as i tiptoed into synagogue and wrapped myself in prayer at once ancient and timeless.
the undiluted premise of slowing time and the heart behind it is that the Divine is all around, if we slow down and pay close enough attention. it is a life of prayer lived in the thick and the messiness of the everyday.
it’s pure wonder that mary oliver, my poet priestess, graces the book’s first page, and it’s no accident that emily dickinson — “some keep the Sabbath going to church/ i keep it, staying at home” — is my patron saint.
my prayer is not bound by religion, but thrust heavenward by heart and because i’ve learned — stumbling all along the way — that most essential element of every prayer: the unspoken line where we are deeply listening.
here’s a peek at the publisher’s catalog for slowing time.
and bless you every one who pulled up a chair, and shared a wisdom — silent or otherwise — here where we call it holy communion. with a splash of cream.
how do you practice the art of slowing time?