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?
Congratulations, bam, you “sought-after speaker and writing teacher,” you. Looking forward to it. Cheerfully, o
oh, dear O. marketing departments write those things, and while i turn bright red and slide OFF my chair, i beg you to know that that’s among the parts of this that are so very hard for me……i tremble at such things….xoxo
Yes, I know full well. Tremble not.
Oh Bam…the virtual table has been my “kedge” which means a light anchor for mooring a vessel. Great word, right? Just found it. 🙂 The “table” more often than not leads me to new moments.
I remember when MB introduced me to the table and I gratefully slipped into your harbor and slowed and rocked. I slowed enough to hear my own heart and soul speak up through the choppy, wavy days of momming, nursing, friending, family stuff. It has given me comfort and feeling less alone. The reflections and questions that you pose, along with the heartfelt responses of others has just buoyed me along. I am so looking forward to the hard copy to place on that table next to bed and to gift to others. It will be a gift that keeps on giving. xxoo
lamcal, love “kedge,” and set out to find out if it was on my list of words i love because i know i just found a ship-building word, the wooden slat that joins the ribbed slats, and keeps everything afloat. but now i can’t find the word anywhere on my words i love list, so welcome, kedge, to the collection.
your words above, as always, are poetry, are prayer, to me. i picture that harbor with so many flickering lanterns, as we all light the way under the slow-slapping waters of the safe cove into which we’ve pulled. where would i be if you’d not been flagged in by blessed MB, who has led me to so many of the highest heights of my life? so much love i send, thank you…..
slowing time includes reading books to my daughter at nite. everything else is moved to the side. the cell phone forgotten somewhere, lost in the house, but never in that room.
the story, we read chapter stories now, is interrupted by countless questions, good ones; she follows the story – plot, conflict, clothing – closely, and recalls details that i have forgotten. she is beginning to pick out words, putting letters together.
last night, several rounds of reading were necessary, and at some point I imagined her beginning to write. my thoughts drifted to you, auntie baps, and how, with the grace of email, you would be able to help, perhaps even tutor, her in writing.
sometime after she has learned to string letters into words, then into sentences. oh, sometime beyond that (but maybe not to far off in the future), she will want to give voice to her thoughts, and her’s is the great benediction of being your niece.
and on her bookshelf soon will be your published work. the vista that shall open in her mind.
a young girl, our bright light, beginning to expand horizons, and to peer out into the world beyond her bedroom window. your words, your heart and mind, helping her along that path of discovery. to help her find her voice, and thereby to discover and grow within the power of being heard.
my most beloved david, i’ve not imagined — until now — my bound pages tucked onto a little dreamer’s bookshelf. but i know that that’s the very place where my dreams were born. in opening broadly the pages of my illustrated chapter books, and tasha tudor’s ever-brilliantly-illustrated tome, the one whose pages i long ago memorized (would you like to see thumbelina’s tulip-petal float-boat on page 53?).
by the way, my beautiful brother, you are an honorary and heartfelt member of the chair sisters, for the wisdom and light you’ve poured here. i remember, back in the day, when the mysterious Wm. something or other kept writing the most elegant and poetic comments, and we all wondered who he was, this enchanting visitor who so often graced the meander of the day? writing with you has always been one of my life’s greatest glories….
Congratulations! What an achievement! I picture your heart right now being as clear and blue as a spring time sky. I am so happy that your immense wisdom and poetic phrases will soon be available for so many.
bless you dear and loyal jack! bless you and bless you….
Yay you!!! So incredibly excited!! Already pre-ordered and will be anticipating every day until it skims into the mailbox after it is printed! Being able to gather around your table slows me weekly into remembering to breathe and to notice and to think. I walked out of the workplace last night to a sky blanketed with stars and thought of you as I always do when stargazing. You are a bright star to all of us here at the table and it is SO VERY WONDERFUL that your book will reach so many others. Get ready to expand your table, for there will be many newcomers after the printing. Not enough words to say to express all the joy. HOORAY!!!! Warmest congratulations, big, BIG hugs!
PS, I absolutely love the last paragraph of your brother’s posting. Perfect.
i think i will cry: and i do believe you might be the no. 1 orderer. (won’t they be surprised when they see that, six months out, at least one copy will be sold!!!!!!) it’s rather sweet that we both look up at the sky and think of each other, as we count the twinkling stitches up above. wrapping you in love, always. xoxox
goosebumps back! i’ve missed you so so much. hope all is well. xoxox
Soooo delighted for you, bam! Soooo looking forward to reading Slowing Time! Soooo happy I pulled up a chair to your lovely table many years ago now.
chair sister! loyal and wise and heart-filled as they come….i cannot wait to hand you your very own dedicated copy. xoxo
Joy and blessing on this much wonderful news. Can we attend an author’s signing ?
be still my heart, sweet TB. i’ll bring the book signing to you and the little darlings. xoxox
What a dream come true this is, for you and for your readers. We, your loyal subjects (that being Will, Teddy and me) can’t wait to read these mystical musings and to have you share them with the world.
well, holy goodness, it MUST be official, because mr. kamin himself is not only pulling up a chair, but leaving behind a tracing.
you’ve been through thick and thin on every birthing there’s ever been around here, so bless you a thousand times a thousand for being the wind beneath these wings.
and totally seriously, for walking me into my first synagogue, where this ol’ catholic girl heard ancient whisperings that spoke so stirringly to her heart and soul, and in time turned our dining room table into a gathering place for God, and the year into a carousel of wonder.
Babsy, this is amazing because it’s so big, but not amazing at all because it’s you who wrote it and not at all unexpected. It’s so utterly and totally cool that your lovely book will be published. It’s exciting that your work and your heart will be bound into a book, one of your favorite things in the world.
because i love you so much, and because you’ve always been the one to whom i turn when i got the wobbles, this makes me cry. you know the ups and downs and sideways more than just about anyone. big squeeze. xoxo
CAN YOU HEAR ME SQUEALING WITH EXCITEMENT??!! I have waited for this moment from the very first word of the very first sentence I’ve ever had the joy of experiencing in your beautiful writing. My dear, you are SO deserving and now the world can see what we have known all along. YIPPEE and CONGRATULATIONS, MY DEAREST BAM!! xoxoxoxo
sending big fat giant love from here in the middle lands to out there in your gorgeous mountain lands. you’re right there at the heart of it, sister sister. PURE love. xoxox
Forever linked to you, not by blood, but by love. xoxox
what an incredibly gorgeous sight: a bound book, with feathery delicate jacket art and your very name smack dab on the cover! i cannot wait to unwrap my (signed, of course) copy and slow time down to the deep, rich beat of your very heart and soul as i read along and learn. always learning from you. so grateful that more people will stumble upon these pages and your way of connecting with the wold. brava! xo
love you my laura! i was JUST thinking up a storm about you last night. overdue for check-in. xoxo
I am just LOVING all the beautiful comments you have inspired Bam…they feel all springy and wonderful. You have sown such a great garden!
chair people, (i hope you scroll down far enough to find this; it might be worth the scroll…i think so….) among the wisdoms, dropped in my lap this morning, here’s one to ponder for a good long while. it was sent to me by my old compatriot at the chicago tribune, bruce buursma, once the religion writer. he sends along this. its essence is very much of the table…..
“Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery it is. In the boredom and pain of it, no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it, because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.”
― Frederick Buechner, Now and Then: A Memoir of Vocation
thank you, dear bruce….
Buechner has one of my favorite quotes ever: “Doubt is the ants in the pants of faith.”
Barbara, you lover of small things both quiet and beautiful, I am very excited for you and cannot wait to attend your books signings and readings.
bless your beautiful heart, dear dear michael.
Marilyn and I just read this news together and are both jumping up and down! So happy for you! There is a mailbox in 02421 that can’t wait to receive a brand new copy of Slowing Time…counting the days…
you tell dear dear miss marilyn that i will walk one from here to there, just for her, my sweet sweet friend. xoxoxo
Why did I not know about your wonderful book until now?! How wonderfully wonderful it will be to hold this in my hands and read it each night before bed. Congratulations and mazel tov!
you are so sweet. inspired by you….
Bruce Buursma’s offering is beautiful!
truly is. i am headed to the library tomorrow to bring back a buechner stack…..
So, so happy for you! I had heard the wonderful rumor that this coming, and I am absolutely thrilled at the thought of having a little piece of bam in hardcover at my bedside. It’s almost as good as seeing you more often than every…..too many……years.
Sending hugs and warm wishes to you and your band of family, friends and followers.
xoxox – ms
dear sweet msm, cannot tell you how sweet it is to have all these layers of my life come circling round. to be among the bedside stack…no sweeter touchpoint. thank you. xoxo
Can’t wait to purchase this beautiful tome and rest by my bedside next to my Anne Morrow Lindbergh ‘Gifts from the Sea’ my “go to” heart whispering words! Best of luck Barbie, wishing great success on your work!!!
bless your heart. as i just told mary sue, to be among the bedside stack — oh, be still my heart. to be tucked ANYwhere in the vicinity of AML, well that would knock me to my knees. praying mightily that the words touch a deep, deep place in your heart.
Barbara, I cannot wait to read this and can already think of innumerable people that I will be “gifting” this to next fall. Just even reading your title was my moment of meditation for the day and got me oriented. Thank you for doing this! xo Anne
i love that you love the title. and i pray that what’s inside brings just what the moment begs….
i think those of us with children on the cusp of soaring on their own are particularly acute observers of the miracle of slowing time….
just yesterday we were barely able to keep up with the hour-upon-hour frames of little ones under foot, and now in our mind’s old kodak reel, we loop back and forth in time all the time. and that’s only one form of the savoring that is synonymous with slowing time…
I am so happy for you and just astonished at your accomplishment. Honored to know you and will be honored and so delighted to read!
Bless you, sweet jean. I often think of you when I am writing of the Jewish-catholic journey…
So happy for you, Miss B, and so excited to soon have a beautiful volume of your thoughts in my hands. I think I most practice slowing time when I am able to wake up slowly, start about my day gingerly, approach myself as I would in making a good batch of bone broth: It just can’t be hurried. So why, for all those years, did I let someone else’s opinion of time be MY practice of time? And is there any way I can change that for my grown daughter and her generation, expected to be available a good 20 hours a day in their work world? Is it only when we are older that we can see how mislead we were?
oh, polly, this is sooo beautiful, “…approach myself as i would in making a good batch of bone broth: it just can’t be hurried….”
oh, honey, i am going to commit myself to living as if bone broth in the making (actually, that would do me well on multiple levels).
i love the questions you ask, and will be pondering them and the broth approach for a long slow while here. thanks for coming to the table.