Thursday, December 20, 2012
Katrina Kenison's name is, I'm sure, well known to you all. As an editor she brought important books into the world and spent many years binding together each year's most essential works of short fiction in Best American Short Stories. As a writer she has been inspired by her children, her neighbors, her urgent dreams of peaceful, meaningful living to craft books that have found countless readers—immediately upon publication and consistently throughout the years. As a blogger she inspires and makes whole legions of seekers. As a force for good she has been interviewed in the New York Times or written for the Huffington Post and other major news outlets. As my long-time friend, she has listened, coaxed, assured, read, remembered, and, even while under all manner of personal pressure, written words that help me understand my own books better. She is a letter writer and a prose poemer. A practitioner of yoga and a cook. She has a really adorable dog. And when the world shatters, as the world has lately shattered, Katrina is the companion and friend you turn to for binding wisdom.
While the rest of us wish we knew how to make book trailers that were far bigger and better than book trailers, Katrina has gone ahead and blazed a significantly different kind of path by making videos about books that also stand alone as life lessons. Just look at this trailer for The Gift of an Ordinary Day. More than 1.6 million other people already have.
This morning I am proud and happy to share Katrina's newest work of video art, which, among other things, introduces her new book, due out in January, Magical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment.
"Love," Katrina writes in its pages, "is the answer to your most urgent question: What am I really" here to do?"
"You have work to do," she urges. "Begin it."
Katrina worked intently on her new book. She thought a lot about how to tell its story with audio and film. She conceived of and posed for the book's cover. I'm not the only one who believes Magical Journey will soar. Here, for example, is Publishers Weekly:
In this intensely moving tribute to the importance of enjoying every moment of life, Kenison (The Gift of An Ordinary Day), former longtime series editor of The Best American Short Stories, tells a tale inspired by loss and confides what can be gained from it. After a dear friend dies from cancer and her two sons head off to boarding school and college, Kenison is forced to question what remains relevant in her life and how such an introspective examination might portend a change in priorities. Identifying a common and paralyzing fear (“I am so used to doubting my worthiness that the minute I decide to do something, I start convincing myself I’m not up to the job”), she turns to intensive yoga studies, where she learns that “the best antidote to anxiety about the future is to be present in the here and now,” and that finding contentment in what one is rather than what one thinks one should be is critical. Her journey will inspire tears and determination, and remind readers that anything, “done from the heart, changes the world in some small way for the better.” Agent: Steven Lewers. (Jan.)