I don’t take a new book lightly.
First off, books are made of trees, which (along with people) are my favorite things on earth, and a tree has to die to make a book. A book takes an incredible chunk of the earth’s flesh—not simply trees but also fossil fuels to move it around, electricity at every turn, and lots of human energy and time. As much as my calling and my art is writing, I feel some shame about that. Sometimes I think we don’t need any new books, no more talking, no more entertainment. We need to get busy doing what we know we have to do.
Yet I know the power of stories to transform a person, having myself been transformed by them repeatedly, and the importance of stories to changing society. Stories can make us into worse people and they can make us better. I’m all about the last half of that sentence.
Wild Spectacle, which came out in October 2021, was my first nonfiction book in almost a decade. I had been writing during that time, of course, but also doing a lot of other important (to me) things. My last book was The Seed Underground in 2012, almost a decade ago, the year we adopted our daughter.
This is a book of essays written over a number of decades, a slow book, and hopefully it has mellowed and ripened enough to earn its keep. If I’m lucky it will comfort you, thrill you, hold you, inspire you, change you.
I don’t take this new book lightly not only because it has been a long time coming, but because it may be my last. I hope not, but there are lots of walls & hoops & clamors & disappearances in the publishing world these days, and they seem ever thicker/higher/noisier/hungrier.
Please know how grateful I am for it.