She’s here. At last. My next book. And that above is her cover.
The book arrives in bookstores August 30 in Australia and New Zealand and in the US and Canada December 8. But you can preorder now and get it a touch earlier.
What’s the book about?
For something different, I asked Meg (who held together my charity projects, my diary and my viscera throughout the writing of the book) to interview me, to ask me the questions you guys might want to be asking.
How long did it take to write this book?
On and off, three years. It’s been full-time for the past nine months.
Ha! Yep, I know! This book is layered upon layered. There’s hiking, philosophy, politics… Can you explain what the book is about in one sentence?
Ahhh, how’s this? I hike around the world in the footsteps of big, fun philosophical and spiritual thinkers to discover a joyful, true (!) path forward through the painful clusterfuck the world is in right now.
I know the answer to this, obvs, but, hey *breezily* is it true you designed the cover in four days?
Yes. It was a very odd “covid casualty” situation and somehow I found myself with no cover a few days before it had to go to print. I sat up until 2am on a Friday night looking for artists and happened upon the supremely clever Karen Lynch, a collage artist from Adelaide, and we spent the next few days creating layers and patterns and details together using an image my mate Rachelle Lawler took of Cradle Mountain in Tasmania (one of the hikes I do in the book) and layers of mountainscapes from old National Geographic magazines, coupled with a big beaming, hopeful sun. I’m very grateful to Karen, Rachelle, my mate Patty and also Trish Garner for their care and hard work in such…unprecedented circumstances.
PS. You might not be able to see it in the image above, but there is also a “sprinkling rain”, or pollen, or fairy dust, that runs across the whole cover. Just because.
What’s the symbolism of all the “bits” on the cover?
Ah yeah…I wanted the cover to represent the idea of a nature journey where we’re all aiming for something supremely hopeful. A climb up a a series of mountains to an oversized egg-yolk sun fitted.
I wanted to bring in a few elements from first, we make the beast beautiful, too. Mostly the bubbles/circles (the sun, the sprinkling rain/pollen).
All the mountain ranges are ones I’ve hiked and feature in the book.
The “murmuration” of swallows relate to a story I tell in the book. Also, swallows represent hope!
What else? Oh the little humans. I wanted to feature people from an era Pre-This Mess. So, pre-neoliberalism. They are from the 1980s….simpler times. They are dressed to explore, or to just be outdoors, and are aged somewhere in their “youth”. I dedicate the book to young people. So this felt fitting, too.
So why did you write this book?
Because I was feeling an anxious despair that went beyond my own internal anxiety and pain, which is what I had explored in first, we make the beast beautiful. I knew we were all feeling it, particularly around the destruction of our planet and life as we love it, and no one was really talking about it at a spirit/soul/nature level. We were talking carbon emissions and plastic-free July and getting frustrated and devastatingly sad. This was not how life was meant to go! We are better than this! We have become “small humans” when we really want to live a big life!
I knew intuitively there was a better way… a wilder, more connected, #giveashit, more meaningful way. I wanted to find it.
Is this book a follow on from First, We Make The Beast Beautiful?
Yes. With Beast, I went inward to chat about our personal anxiety and angst. But since it came out a few years back, I realised we are feeling anxious at a collective level. Like, all of us. It’s a global fear and despair that stems from our disconnection. I decided it was time to take the journey outwards, into the world so that we can connect to each other and the planet and life as a whole again.
This was an idea that sang to me!
Also… I don’t know how to ask this question without sounding dumb myself… but I want to ask on behalf of others out there, it sounds like from the description on the publisher’s page that it’s an uber intelligent book and perhaps that might put people off because the topics you touch on are so HUGE and overwhelming.
[Meg expected me to reword this question, but I’ve left as is ’cos it makes sense to me] Hmmm, well, yeah I bring in some complex climate stuff and philosophy and the whole book is about, well, everything. I get it. This is why the book took me three years to write because I had to work out a “way” to understand it all without getting overwhelmed myself. There’s a few things I do:
I try to make all the full-on information accessible by discussing it while hiking in beautiful places in the world (Greece, Jordan, Tasmania, Sierra Nevada).
Also, one of the chapters is on becoming a “soul nerd” (how to dive into the cool spiritual information).
Another is about learning to deep read again, as a way to get awake and alive to life.
The whole point of my book is to simplify and provide a fun, joyeous, zero-crap, non-overwhelming path through the clusterfuck. I won’t ruin what the supreme, simple actual key trick is…but everyone I’ve told smiles when I tell them. I hope you like it, too.
Wasn’t it coming out earlier this year?
Um, yes. But the bushfires happened and then Covid-19, then the Black Lives Matter protests. This book speaks to all these events. It also speaks to the idea of sitting with “not knowing”, becoming a “soul nerd”, as I say, and learning before speaking, and learning how to join the flow of where life is at…So I had to do just this. Wait and see where things landed for us all. A very hard process for me because I’m impatient and want to connect and communicate with the community NOW!
When can we expect to see the book in stores?
It lands in stores August 30 in Australian and November in the US and Canada.
Can I preorder now to make sure I get a copy?
Haha, nice sales lead-in! Yes. Click this little button below.