I Need to Write a Book
People have bee n telling me for a long time that I need to write a book. Don’t get me wrong. I have often thought it myself. But about what? My interests are bizarrely varied. Shopping at a normal bookstore puts me all over the map: physics, psychology, recovery, self-help, social sciences, poetry, biographies, etc.
Many years ago, when I was a new Protestant, I “discovered” Protestant bookstores. I was thrilled. I was not raised with a religion. I did not know such things existed. My thrill did not last long. Many of the books were, frankly, terrible. Bad punctuation, poor spelling, atrocious grammar. Even just going to the local community college, my thought was, “Damn. These Christian publishers can’t afford proofreaders?! I can write better than this.” The quality was so low that it was no mystery why they could not convert educated people. And, back then, I was devout. I was a true believer.
But write about what? It seemed that every time I thought about a subject, I would find the perfect book already written. There is truly nothing new under the sun.
But, over the years, I learned that that is not the point. When I started business school, everyone was assigned to do a presentation on Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. There is nothing new in that book. What is phenomenal about it is its simplicity and accessibility. There are the three internal habits, the three external habits, and “sharpening the saw”, another term for self-care. It has great examples and is not written at too high of a grade level. It is not the content that is remarkable; it is the presentation. Any idiot can take a simple topic and attempt to make it look falsely complex. True genius can take a complex topic and make it look simple.
Now I am in my fifties and not a few people are pushing me to write a book. I never had a topic, but I think I do now.
It hit me a few nights ago that the goal of everything is integration. First, everything has to be made conscious. Then, all the different parts need to be informed of what is going on with all the other parts. This is called “healing”. Communication is involved. “Integration”, “communication”, and “healing” are other terms for “love”. I am talking about beginning with the individual level and moving outward on to the societal level. Self-love is the beginning. It is tough to be loving towards others while filled with self-hatred. And who wants to be loved by someone who can’t even stand themselves?
What I am talking about is bigger than a lifetime can address, but brevity is our friend. On page 104 of Jon Kabat-Zin’s Meditation is Not What You Think is the absolute best explanation I have ever seen of how a lack of awareness leads to disease. Every step of the process is shown. It is succinct, brilliant, and scarily obvious. Other authors cannot accomplish in a lifetime of written work what Zin elucidated in one unbelievable paragraph.
I do not know what direction I am headed, but I know this is right because it does not feel like I am making it up. It is more recognition than invention.
You take Gabor Mate, Jon Kabat-Zin, all the Zen masters, Gary Zukav, Pete Walker, the Crappy Childhood Fairy, M. Scott Peck, Melody Beattie, John Bradshaw, John Bowlby, and authors that don’t spring immediately to mind, and you get the idea. They are all experts of their own niches, any of which could take many lifetimes to master.
I have a lot of refining to do, but I know I have to do this.