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Life is Unexpected
And sometimes you’d rather be in another room, but this is the room we’ve got
I hope this finds you well, and also experiencing some level of acceptance as we enter autumn. I used to be a huge fan of fall—I was one of those people who made pumpkin chai (and by that I mean my husband graciously made it for me) and declared it was my favorite season—until I realized that fall is just a gateway drug for winter. Why did it take me roughly 40 years to realize this? Perhaps because winter in the north country is like childbirth: you forget the pain every time.
What I really want to say is that I appreciate your support of The Unlikely Village of Eden: A Memoir, whatever the season. It’s been a powerful, life changing adventure to have this memoir out there in the world. To anyone who is in the middle of a writing project, keep going! To anyone who is doing anything creative when moved by the difficult and/or joyful parts of life: yes!
The Unlikely Village of Eden events coming up:
My interview with Jen Hatmaker on her luminous podcast For the Love aired recently and it is available here or wherever you get your podcasts. I love our vibrant, in-depth conversation about friendship and community when life doesn’t go to plan.
For those who have not yet checked out Big Hill Books, the newest, darling bookstore in Minneapolis—or for those who want to spend more time there—join me and Jennifer Cramer-Miller, author of the forthcoming Incurable Optimist for a conversation on Sunday October 1st from 2-3pm. We are going to talk about the themes of our books, including making a good life when life doesn’t go to plan. And despite uncertainty, how can we harness hope and access joy? Read them both ahead of time or pick up copies at this free event.
Here are three hopeful things for you this month:
What Should I Read Next with Anne Bogel: Insightful and Entertaining Memoirs with R. Eric Thomas
This is an entertaining, engaging podcast episode with real soul. And R. Eric Thomas is hilarious. His bit about the first five minutes of therapy as an opening monologue that he recalls in the interview (from his new book Congratulations, the Best is Over!), is the funniest thing I have heard in a long time. Listen here or anywhere you get your podcasts.
Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman
Do you struggle with the sense that time is so fleeting, and that you are not getting enough done? Do you grapple with how much there is to do every day/week/year and a feeling of pressure to be productive? Then this is the book for you. Burkeman explores our society’s obsession with productivity, the existential and practical concerns with our finite time on earth, and also offers up new perspectives in accepting and adjusting to this reality. Get it here or anywhere you get your books.
On Our Best Behavior: The Seven Deadly Sins and the Price Women Pay to Be Good by Elise Loehnen
This book challenges the cultural norms set by the Seven Deadly Sins, the Christian mores which have deeply influenced our society. This is a book that combines personal disclosure with in-depth social analysis. In short, On Our Best Behavior supports freedom from patriarchal domination for everyone involved. Get it here or anywhere you get your books.
Yesterday I was at the library, one of my all-time favorite places. I strolled through the stacks, savoring this quiet time I had all to myself. It felt magical, in a way, the stillness of the room paired with the thousands of books all around me. I thought, I love this idyllic space, so full of possibilities. And as I scanned the shelves of the memoir section something broke the silence with a booming rip: the loudest toot I have ever witnessed publicly. It was supersonic, it was very, very bold. I looked around, trying to stifle my laughter (and pinpoint the source).
This jarring moment reminded me that everything is layered, imperfect, and often surprising. Life is unexpected, and sometimes you’d rather be in another room, but this is the room we’ve got.
Let it rip (but maybe not in that exact way),