You may wonder about the lack of updates. Here’s the story. My barely two-year-old laptop died in early November. Went black, just like that. And all of my book projects were on it.
After a very long two weeks I retrieved all of my files. Whew! But the stress of it taught me something: I have over-committed myself to too many good things, and need to pull back and focus on the books.
In practice, that means putting much less time on social media analysis/criticism of our times, and discontinuing this Singing Wilderness website.
However, I intend to keep the Facebook page version going, with similar kinds of content but in the simpler format of Facebook posts and without any schedule. So, for example, I’ll post things about Sigurd, put up quotes from his published and unpublished works, and include other photo posts with my own brief reflections that connect to the singing wilderness way.
There also will be occasions for newsy posts. For example, the first of the half dozen books I currently have planned is being looked at by a publisher, and it is entirely related to Sigurd. The last of them also will be strongly connected to him. The other four will have some connections to him but won’t really be about him. All of them, however, relate to the “singing wilderness way.” Therefore at some point I may change the Facebook page’s name either to that, or to my name. The content will be the same either way.
The books are what I need to focus on, and where I can best use my knowledge, experience and passion. I need much more free time than I have given myself to keep creative energy flowing well. That includes, of course, more time outdoors.
Sigurd had to learn this same lesson. His true calling was his books, and yet after Runes of the North in 1963 he went six years until his next book, and then seven more after that until Reflections from the North Country came out in 1976. He had over-committed himself to too many good things. Even his major heart attack at the age of 69 didn’t fully convince him to focus on his books. Had he listened to his inner voice (during the ‘60s and ‘70s he wrote journal entries expressing frustration over busyness), I’m convinced he would have written at least three more books.
Elizabeth told me I was a lot like him. In the context of our conversation, it was clear she meant this as the double-edged sword it truly is. I have that same tendency to over-commit, for one thing. And there is irony in that, because the singing wilderness way is, among other things, about finding balance. I often have joked that I know all about balance; I see exactly where it is as I swing way past it.
So today I am very happy to get my files back, but I also am grateful for the untimely death of my laptop. It took the stress that followed to make me realize that once again I had swung well past the healthy balance needed to do my most important work. I think Sigurd would laugh at this, in part because of his shared tendency, and in part because he used a manual typewriter and never had to worry about backups. A fresh ribbon, blank paper, and he was ready to go.
I am grateful for all of you who have been clicking on the links here. Now you won’t need to click out of Facebook to read the posts, unless they are links to articles and videos made by other people. If you find the Facebook page valuable, please share it with others, and add comments beneath posts whenever you wish. This website will remain online until sometime in March.