Milestone!

I’ve reached another milestone on my publishing journey!

Four-hundred books! (That felt good to write out.)

Strangely, I have to force myself to celebrate this accomplishment. Part of the problem is that my publishing dreams have been so huge since I was a child, that it is hard for any reality to measure up.

What I’ve been doing is imagining them stacked up in forty piles of ten. Picturing this gives a geometry, a mass to what it means to have this many books out in the public.

This has been followed by, I think, a better visualization: 400 people actually owning and reading my book. That was what the dream was always about, if I strip away fantasies of amazing stardom and best-selling status.

People reading my words. What I have always wanted. What I am finally achieving.

Need a copy? Buy yours here: Tao of Thoreau – just 2.99 Kindle and 4.99 paperback.

I wrote yesterday about the review I received about my book Tao of Thoreau. Here’s a little more from the review:

Voice and Writing Style: The author’s writing here is good, succinct, and sets forward his premise clearly, without fuss. He has produced a simple little volume in good form.  

I like this one because it reflects exactly what I was going for – succinct, clear and readable. I actually take it as a complement that the reviewer uses the word “simple”. A lot of my effort was taking deep and complicated ideas and presenting them in a readable format that is accessible to anyone.  And Thoreau did encourage us to simplify.

The Tao Te Ching was an excellent model. It’s a remarkable book, with transcendent ideas presented simply. Yet, upon reflection, the ideas are incredibly deep, universal and comprehensive. If my book reflects even a small part of this aspect, I was successful.  

Success Hidden in Failure

I entered Tao of Thoreau into a contest for self-published non-fiction. Although it didn’t win, I did receive a review from one of the judges. 

Of course, I was apprehensive, seeing as my book didn’t make the cut. However, the review was very positive, and was yet another boost along this journey.  

Here is a sample:  

Topic Appeal: The author has found a quite unique topic in seeing Thoreau firstly for what he was, a Transcendentalist—therefore, in actuality a Taoist. The BBC says Taoism is deeply rooted in Chinese customs and worldview, whereas Google tells us Transcendentalism comes out of America’s early New England region. The author here shows us that these two philosophies, in reality, share similar views, a useful point of view.  

First, I love that the reviewer is clearly British. This probably means this person has little knowledge of Thoreau, which I actually like because the book has to stand on its own merits and not rely on the reviewer’s knowledge.

My favorite piece of this section is the final five words “a useful point of view.” Though this isn’t exactly high praise, I find it valuable. It is some confirmation that the idea I had to compare these two philosophies is a good one. I mean, I certainly believed it, but it is good to have outside confirmation.

World Philosophy Day

For this day, I thought it would be nice to post one of my favorite passages from my book. The first part is a quote from Henry David Thoreau. The second is the connection I see to Taoism.

Thoreau  

We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us, like the grass which confesses the influence of the slightest dew that falls on it; and did not spend our time in atoning for the neglect of past opportunities.  

We loiter in winter while it is already spring. 

Tao 

Earlier, Thoreau warned not to try to turn spring into summer; here he warns not to obsess on the past. Lao Tzu said: 

Why was it that the ancients prized this Tao so much? Because it could be got by seeking for it, and the guilty could use it to escape the stain of guilt. This is the reason why all 
under heaven consider it the most valuable thing. 

Learn from mistakes and missed opportunities and apply this learning going forward.  Practice forgiving yourself, especially if you have accepted the lessons from your mistakes. Forge forward with this learning, determined to make a new day and a new you. 


If you like this, you may like to read more in my book Tao of Thoreau

Castles in the Air

One of my favorite Thoreau quotes is: “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them.”   

My castle in the air has always been my writing ambitions. Although I’ve done a lot of writing, quite often I replaced working for success with dreaming of it. In my dreams I have been terrifically successful: best-sellers, TV interviews, movie adaptations. 

My reality has been much humbler: a handful of publication credits, 0 TV interviews or movie deals.  

That is until recently. Publishing Tao of Thoreau through Amazon finally attached a tower of my castle to some foundation stones. Still a humble accomplishment, but at least a tangible one. And last month, September 1, 2020 to today, October 1st, I sold 32 books. I don’t know who is buying them; I’m pretty sure all the friends and family bought theirs earlier in the year, so I can only assume that these are people hearing about my book and purchasing it. 

After hardly selling books for months, suddenly Tao of Thoreau took off.

This is after an August where I barely sold any. So maybe something is happening out there. Maybe my book is catching on. 

Strangers. Reading my work. A dream coming true. 

This website is another part of this supporting structure. Again, the numbers are not world-shattering, but I love seeing my statistics. Even one visitor eyeing my work is wonderful. And I’m having fun challenging myself to beat the previous weeks stats.  

My biggest takeaway is this: writing and publishing is making me feel joy. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but now the joy of this process is spreading to all areas of my life. I feel incredibly fortunate to be where I am in my writing journey, and I am so glad that you are reading this right now. Thank you! 

Losing Control

From my book Tao of Thoreau. Order it from the sidebar!

This is good advice for me at the beginning of the school year. Staying calm and remembering that all of these stresses are indeed transient is difficult right now. I am trying to remember that obstacles are also opportunities and frustrations are lessons. I can let them bog me down or believe these challenges will make me grow.