Notes from a blue bike
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I still remember where I was sitting and where Kyle was standing. We were in the living room of our long-term temporary home in Austin, where we were transitioning between our life in Turkey and who-knows-what’s-next. My first book released about three months ago, so we were enjoying the first bit of calm in quite awhile.
Kyle stopped at the bottom of the stairs, and I was lounging on our red couch. And he announced, “Hey, I have the topic for your next book.”
I glared at him incredulously. Next book? Was he smoking something? Writing a book is like birthing a baby, so I was in that post-newborn letdown of exhaustion and hormonal craziness. And here he was, talking about getting pregnant again.
“Um…. okay. What?” I had my doubts.
And he proceeded to describe what I had to admit would be a pretty gorgeous book. A book that would take a lot of work, one that couldn’t be finished for years, but a beautiful storyline. I let it swirl around in my head for a few minutes, and then I said, “Um… Yes. I agree. I think. At least, you’re on to something.”
Oh, what a powerful start to my next artistic contribution.
Not long after that, my (now) agent sent me an email asking if I had representation, not knowing that I was in search of some. (Neither of us also knew that just a few months later, we’d be moving an hour away from each other and would become actual friends.) Together, we worked on an idea that resonated so deeply in both our lives, on the production of a book that we both wanted to read.
Because if you want to read your own book, I figure that’s a good start, right?
So it’s with trembling hands and a bit of relief that I can finally tell you something that I’ve been working on for a long, long time. Goodness. I feel like I’m asking you out on a date or something. Sweaty palms.
My next book is officially announced to the world and is already available for pre-order. Crazytown, I tell you.
It’s called Notes from a Blue Bike: The Art of Living Intentionally in a Chaotic World, and it’ll be in your hands on February 4, 2014.
Yes, ages from now. It’s amazing how detailed the book production process is; there’s a veritable surgical team working on this baby to prepare for its upcoming birth. it’s been an honor to work with Thomas Nelson to produce these words I’ve grown to love so much already. (We changed its name, but it’s still the same chubby rugrat with ten fingers and toes.)
This book has been percolating in my brain for years, even though it only became an official plan last fall. There were so many avenues to take on this one; it was admittedly hard to nail down the right path and just walk on it. At some point, I just had to strap on my backpack and go already.
And the writing became a cathartic process for me, healing wounds I didn’t know were still there, scabbed over and begging for balm. I wrote this book for you, yes, all of you—but I really wrote it for me. I needed to work through the process of reading and researching, long days at the public library and late nights screaming for sleep from the exhaustion of it all.
It’s not like anything I’ve ever published before, and I couldn’t be more thrilled about that.
Notes from a Blue Bike is part memoir, part travelogue, part practical guide, where I journey through my past and essentially ask the question, “Is it possible to live slowly in a fast-paced culture?” It’s a lot of stories—stories from my time in places like Kosovo, Russia, Wales, and Turkey, where I’ve experienced the slow, rhythmic daily process of sucking the marrow out of line-drying my laundry and spending six hours with a neighbor.
I explore the notion of whether it’s even possible to live as though I’m part of a relationship-oriented culture, while actually living smack-dab in a productivity-obsessed one.
And I invite you to climb aboard your own bike, ask yourself these same questions, and explore your own ideas for slowing down. From the conversations I’ve had with many of you, it sounds like you’re dying to veer over in to the slow lane as well. Less chaos, more freedom, fewer events on the calendar, deeper relationships. Many, many cultures around the world aren’t running the treadmill of efficiency. So what does it look like to live like this in the Western, post-modern world?
I cover the topics of food, work, education, travel, and entertainment, for a grand total of 48 chapters and an epilogue, along with a collection of discussion questions in the end for personal journaling or for a book club gathering. (Don’t panic; the chapters are short. I’m a parent with a lot of balls to juggle, too.)
If you’re aching for more slow in your life, this book was written for you. If you’d like to make some risky—but ohsoworthit—changes in your family’s daily life, this book was written for you, too. And if you’re merely curious about my own family’s quirkiness and enjoy a collection of short stories on the nighstand, this book might be for you, too.
If you’re looking for a step-by-step handbook on how you should specifically live, you might want to look elsewhere.
But if you’d like a friend on your journey to finding a life that’s slower, more intentional, and soaked with more meaning, then put on your helmet and bike with me. It’s a bumpy ride, but that only makes it fun.
If you’re reading this post, you’re part of the reason this book is on its way to the world. And if you’re a regular blog reader here, you’re a big reason I could endure the labor pains and work of making this thing a reality. I’m so unbelievably honored that you’d invite me to be part of your life. Thank you, more than I could ever adequately express. I love writing and I love what I do, and I owe so much of that to you.
I’ll share more about Blue Bike again, when it’s time… but now’s not that time. Right now is the time for reading, taking my kids out for ice cream, packing my suitcase to see friends, and chasing the summer. Pretty much the stuff I love doing when my life is slower.
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Phew… I can breathe now. You’re all awesome.
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