Practice What You Publish: How to Start a Walking Book Club (and Why You Might Want To)

STEPHANIE DOMET January 9, 2018 2 Comments

This special guest “practice what you publish” edition of the Propriometrics Press blog is written by our publisher and best-selling author, Katy Bowman. Keen on getting us all moving more, here’s one idea to help you #stackyourlife for more movement.

 

A walking book club allows us to address multiple needs—movement, community, idea development, and the exchange of perspectives—all at once (#stackyourlife). If you work as a movement teacher, it’s also an excellent way to connect with more students and expand the types of movement you’re offering. Starting one is simple–there are so many ways to go about creating one!

  1. Choose a book that’s going to be accessible to a wide range of people. Make sure it’s at the local library, for example, and consider checking if it’s available as an audiobook or ebook (giving font size options) too.
  2. Contact the author or publisher and see if you might be able to obtain a discount code for a bulk purchase.
  3. Announce the book to the people you’re inviting to join, giving people about a month of lead time to read it, and include the discount code if you received one.
  4. Choose your route. You want to have about two or three hours of time to properly discuss a book, so choose the route accordingly.

Note: I suggest having your first walking book club route be over quite simple and accessible terrain, so that all bodies feel comfortable joining. Once you have your club established and have an idea of the varied abilities of those involved, you can decide if you want to increase the complexity of your route, with inclines, natural terrain, etc. Ideally you could make the walk a bit harder over the course of the book club (so over six months, for example).

  1. About two weeks before, send out another note about the book club, detailing the route and asking for RSVPs. Also ask those interested to flag sections of the book they’d like to discuss more.
  2. On the day of the walking book club, facilitate the discussion in a way that gives space for all voices. Hearing different perspectives and ideas is the best part of a book club! Our editor Penelope Jackson (who’s participated in tons of book club sessions) suggests: “Make sure to create space for people who hated the book but might be too shy to say so. An easy way to facilitate this is with an ‘I see most of us loved the book! Were there any criticisms? I personally felt that the book was a little X.’ You can formalize the discussion by taking turns, or you can ask everyone to start by giving the book a star rating and a quick explanation.”

 

There are countless books out there—and we want to read most of them! You don’t have to read books about movement for a dynamic book club (I’m currently reading sci-fi in preparation for an upcoming walk and talk), but if you’re trying this idea out because you’re in a movement mindset, a book about movement might be a good choice.

We really love #indiebooks, so below here are some you might not have heard of, as well as some compilations of books on trekking long distances and books that make you feel like being and moving in nature! Do you have a book you’d suggest? Please leave it in the comments below!

10 Great Outdoor Adventure Books for Hikers

National Outdoor Leadership Skills “Favorite Books About Leadership by Women”

Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit

The Body is Not an Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor

Off Trail by Jane Parnell

Yak Girl by Dorje Dolma

Honouring High Places by Junko Tabei

Dawn Again by Doniga Markegard

 

 

 


#practicewhatyoupublish and other tips for holiday season happiness from our authors

For the last several months, I’ve been participating in a challenge to walk a hundred kilometres in a month, alongside two of my siblings, and a bunch of our childhood friends. This month, the online group in which we report our progress and egg each other on, is called “100 km in Crazy December…We Got This!!”—a nod to the way December seems to zip by in a cloud of twinkle lights and shortbread cookies, with one’s best intentions scattered like so much shredded wrapping paper after a gift-exchange frenzy. Without that kind of external motivation and accountability, I know it’s easy for me to forget I live in a body at all. My month is shaping up to include lots of time at my desk (book rewrites are coming my way this week, plus there’s the work I do here at Propriometrics Press and on Katy Says, the bi-weekly podcast from our author Katy Bowman), lots of time at my sewing machine (making Christmas presents for family and friends, and yes, for myself!), and lots of time in the car (my husband and I drive eighteen hours to see my family at Christmas).

All of this, plus the usual hustle and bustle of the season, could set me up for a stressed out, sedentary month. But I’ve been thinking about the hashtag we use on social media: #practicewhatyoupublish, and I’ve asked some of our authors to share with me—and with you—their best tips. We hope you’ll find some inspiration for your own life here!

 

Galina Denzel, the co-author of Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well, writes about meditation in that book’s chapter “Meditate on This.” But, she notes, “sitting meditation comes easier in those times when I have relative peace, life is in flow and I am not facing huge challenges. But with the holidays, there is more stress, more expenses, more travel, more preparations in our home. On top of it, we have a special holiday program, and our students need our attention, so technically, we put a lot on our plates.” So here’s how Galina embodies #practicewhatyoupublish:

While our life is rich with many amazing holiday experiences, it becomes harder to wake up and pull my cushion, sit and just drop into what’s in my body. And herein lies the paradox: the times when I most need to attend to my inner world is the time when I am least wanting to do it, because…there is stuff to do. Around this time of year I choose to do walking meditations instead of sitting meditations. It’s a way for me to combine two of my favorite ways to stay connected with myself at a time when walking comes easier than sitting. This way my walk to the store can become an opportunity to drop in and be with myself and attend to emotions, thoughts, sensations, connections that are tugging at my heart. I can do it on my way to or from work. I can do it while walking with my partner.

I usually choose one of three anchors for my walks. On some walks, I choose to attend to my breath, as I walk and become aware of certain thoughts, events, sensations, emotions or connections, I keep my awareness on my breath. This way I have a line connecting my attention to my breath and my whole experience organizes around it. A second anchor may be the ground. As I walk, I feel my contact with the ground—right, left, right, left—aware of the textures under my feet. A third anchor may be the colors around me—as my attention drifts I always come back to the colors and notice here is red, here is yellow. You can choose your own way to organize your walking meditations, and make this idea your own.

Practicing walking meditation is all about setting the right intention and can really transform how you feel through the holidays. To make it easier, I am sharing one of the walking meditations from our holiday program. Have a listen. (http://eatmovelive52.com/walking-meditation/)

Joan Virginia Allen is a co-author of Dynamic Aging:

During the holiday season, I am in the car a lot. Great opportunity to practice head ramping as explained in Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility. For more information on head ramping, check out our blog entry “As Long as You Breathe, Change is Possible” at www.dynamicaging4life.com.

 

 

Doniga Markegard is the author of Dawn Again:

Winter brings time to breathe. Winter brings people together to sit around the fire and talk about the season, talk about our dreams, reflect, and imagine the future. I have been thinking a lot about the future. When you have kids it is hard not to. The changing climate, political system, and the rapid pace of tech growth are all subjects to talk about around the fire. There is something about sitting around the fire with other people that brings about a depth of honest conversation that is difficult to achieve in everyday passing.

I recently had the chance to sit around the fire at Wilderness Awareness School while I was on my book tour in Washington. This was the same fire I wrote about in Dawn Again. That was 20 years ago. It has been burning nearly daily since that time. Each year a new group of youth comes to gather around that fire and talk, cry, dance, dream, and imagine the future.

Pictured here, Doniga Markegard and her son Larry teaching Holistic Context-Setting to the Wilderness Awareness School apprentices

Katy Bowman, author of eight books, including Movement Matters:

My books are always about movement—specifically natural movement, transitioning your body to handle more natural movement, and where movement can fit back into your life. When it comes to movement, the holidays can be stressful because with the addition of so many extra “things to do,” the bout of daily exercise is the first to go. For many, it’s the least connected thing to other elements of life and so is the easiest thing to set aside when all the other plans come in.

Katy’s Hiking Advent invitation from 2016

The way I #PracticeWhatYouPublish is to, obviously, keep moving. I choose less convenient methods (read lots of things by hand!) of processing raw or foraged ingredients. I also like to celebrate with movement—to infuse the holiday with movement—so that we can move together (yay Vitamin Community!). I create exercise advents for my social media followers, giving them one exercise each day. I send out a “Week Before Christmas Hiking Countdown” letting our friends know where we’ll be hiking and at what time, and that they (or even just their kids) are invited. We hold a holiday-eve brunch for all our friends, often eating outside and then heading out for long walk down a local trail. In short, I’ve worked to make the holidays ABOUT moving. Movement is not only a great way through which to celebrate, movement should be celebrated. Movement is the gift!

Shelah Wilgus is a co-author of Dynamic Aging:

During the holiday season and any other time, I make sure to calf stretch several times a day. I leave a half foam roller in front of my sink in the bathroom. That way I can do a double calf stretch while brushing my teeth or just washing up. Detailed instruction for doing the calf stretch can be found in Dynamic Aging: Simple Exercises for Whole-Body Mobility.

Alison Bernhoft is the author of Entropy Academy: How to Succeed at Homeschooling Even if You Don’t Homeschool:

I have a couple of Entropy-Busting Ideas which helped me keep the chaos at bay, at least as regards Christmas stockings:  early in the year, I hung up plastic grocery bags, one per child, on a rail in my closet kept exclusively for that purpose. (It’s a short rail, and we have six kids, in case you were wondering.)  As the months passed, the bags filled with odd items that I found on sale, with mementos of some of the trips we had made, maybe a CD from a concert we had particularly enjoyed. Then it was a simple matter to add the traditional English piece of silver money, apple and satsuma in the toe, then fill it up chocolates, brain puzzles, and a giant plastic candy cane filled with M&Ms.

Warning! Once wrapped, small presents become impossible to tell apart! THE ONLY WAY TO FILL STOCKINGS AND STAY SANE is to use different paper for each  child, (but the same paper for all that child’s presents.)

And Alison’s daughter Lorna adds:
The distinctive thing we did that comes to mind is extending the season and acknowledging the Magi by exchanging books on January 6, the Epiphany. Strong emphasis on extending the season!

As for me, I’m excited to apply some of these tips to my December, and I hope you are, too! In my family, we called January 6 Little Christmas, and there was always a special meal, and a small gift for everyone around the table. I loved the way it brought forward the warmth of the season into the new year. From everyone here at Propriometrics Press, may that warmth be your companion long after the last gift is unwrapped and the twinkle lights are packed away.

 

 


Happy birthday, Movement Matters!

It’s not often we mark the anniversary of the publication dates of our books, but Movement Matters stands out for me. It feels like more than a book. It’s trite, I guess, to say it’s not just a book, it’s a way of life…but then, it kind of is a way of life, isn’t it?

From the launch party last fall (entirely unlike any book launch party I’ve ever been to—and as a writer/editor/journalist/publishing person, I’ve been to lots) at which humans and cows hung out together on a beautiful, holistically managed ranch, pitching it to help prepare locally grown and foraged foods and sharing a meal around long tables in a field as the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, to the feedback we’ve heard from readers about the changes they’ve made to render their lives a little less convenient and a little more movement-rich, Movement Matters is the kind of book that easily invites you to take what’s between its covers out for a spin in the world. And that spin has a way of changing the world. Again, it feels like we are creeping dangerously close to the kind of breezy inspirational talk you might find on a motivational poster featuring a couple of unlikely animals cuddled up together, say, a fox and a duck. But really, in order for the world to change, all that has to change is one person. Or the way one person approaches one aspect of their life. Like using a hand-grinder to grind coffee beans. Or doing the back to school shopping at a second hand store. Or walking to the post office instead of driving. Game changers, all three. And absolutely achievable by just about anyone—if not those specific acts, then others just like them.

So, yeah, here I am wishing a book Happy Birthday. If you haven’t had a chance to acquaint yourself with Movement Matters, there is no time like the present. It’s available in three formats—paperback, ebook, and audiobook. And Katy Bowman and I have had a number of chats about it on the Katy Says podcast series called Between the Lines, in which we discussed in detail all the books she’s written, so if you learn better by listening to a couple of nerds talk about books, you should check them out. You can get a look at the launch party here—it’s the next best thing to being there! And we’d love to hear what you think of the book—which, by the way, is a gold medal winner of Best Essays of the Year at the Foreword Indies, how could I have neglected to mention that till now! How have you changed the world in the last year? Drop us a line in the comments and let us know!


Dawn Again in the wild

With Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild successfully launched into the world (get some details on the launch party in Half Moon Bay right here  and see some more photos here and here), author Doniga Markegard is getting ready to hit the road, returning to the Pacific Northwest, where her story began.

With a nice mix of bookstore events and public workshops, you’ll have lots of opportunity to meet Doniga and hear about the experiences she brings to the page in Dawn Again.

November 15, 6:30pm Trackers Earth, Portland, OR

November 16, 7pm at Barnes and Noble Lloyd Center, Portland, OR

November 17 6pm Wilderness Awareness School, Duvall, WA 

November 19, 3pm Eagle Harbor Books, Bainbridge Island WA

We’re also really pleased by the reception this book is receiving already. It was a featured review in the November issue of Foreword Reviews

And Doniga has had some great chats with podcast hosts Daniel Vitalis, Diana Rodgers, James Broderick, and Roland and Galina Denzel!

Plus, we hosted our first Facebook Live with Doniga on November 1, publication day for Dawn Again (well, our second live, if you count our trial live, which is linked above, in which Doniga and I discussed the launch party!), so if you can’t make it out to one of Doniga’s in-person events, there are still lots of opportunities to find her in the wild. Speaking of the wild, we do love to see photos of our books being read out in the world, so if you are reading Dawn Again, take a photo and tag us on Instagram!

And California friends, stay tuned, we are putting together some bookstore dates for early 2018! More about those as they firm up.


Nature school rules

As kids and parents everywhere get ready to get back to school—whatever that might mean in households and communities across the continent and beyond—we’re getting ready to publish Dawn Again, by Doniga Markegard. As well as being a memoir of Doniga’s time as a wildlife tracker and regenerative rancher, it is also a love letter to a nature-based education.

 

Doniga was fifteen years old and rebelling hard when she finally found her way to the Wilderness Awareness School near her home in Washington State. Attending high school through WAS changed Doniga’s life for the better (you can read more about that here), and the experience continues to ripple and reverberate through her adult life, and into the lives of her children, all of whom are also students at their local nature school in San Mateo County, California. And Doniga has kept her hand in, too. She’s an instructor at Riekes Center for Human Enhancement, bringing what she learned in nature school to a new generation of students.

Because Doniga is passionate about nature education, she’s looking forward to celebrating the launch of Dawn Again with an interactive Facebook Live event on Wednesday, November 1. We’re inviting nature school administrators and parents to take part, as well as anyone who’s curious about a nature-based education and whether it’s right for their family. The event is called What Comes After Nature School?, and it’s free and open to all who are interested.

The details:

What: An interactive Facebook Live event called What Comes After Nature School?

Who: Doniga Markegard, regenerative rancher, nature school graduate, author of forthcoming memoir Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild

When: Wednesday, November 1 at 4pm-5pm PST 

Where: Online, wherever you are! It’s all happening on our Facebook page

Why: To hear about Doniga’s nature school experience, the ways in which it prepared her for college and her adult life, and why she chooses it for her own children now, and to have your own questions about nature education answered

We look forward to seeing you there!


Shelf expression

Long, hot, summer days such as we are having here on the east coast of North America produce in me the desire to do several things: go to the beach, with a stack of books in tow, lounge in the backyard, with a stack of books in tow, go to a cottage and laze on the dock, with a stack of books in tow, relax by the pool, with a stack of books in tow…yes, there is a theme emerging, you clever reader, you!

 

 

This time of year, my eyes are generally bigger than the space available in my schedule for such prolonged bouts of reading, but I have managed to start a handful of good looking reads, finish one or two, and dip into several others to take what I can from them in the short bursts I have for such pursuits. This summer, I’ve been taking Baseball Life Advice, by Stacey May Fowles, with me everywhere I go (reading an essay on the beach while my brother listened to a Blue Jays game on his transistor radio and my niece and nephew frolicked nearby in the cold north Atlantic was one recent summer highlight), and then coming home to a pair of books by Elizabeth Strout on my bedside table. She is an amazing fiction writer and I am trying to figure out how she does what she does, so these are both re-reads for me. Speaking of re-reads, I’ve been hosting some special episodes of Katy Says, the excellent podcast by our author Katy Bowman. The episodes are focused on each of Katy’s books, so I’ve been re-reading her backlist this summer in preparation. Whole Body Barefoot is on the docket for the August 29 podcast, with Don’t Just Sit There coming up for discussion in September. You can subscribe to the podcast here. I could go on and on about my own stack of books, but of course, we’re a company of book lovers.

Roland Denzel, co-author of Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well, has a list as aspirational as my own:

“Wired to Eat The last five years of so I’ve been interested in the less obvious whys when it comes to why we eat and overeat. I mean, I know why, of course, so I’m just checking Robb’s work. 😉

Sleep Smarter Allowing ourselves to sleep better is one of the hardest things for us to do, so I’m down for the latest info on getting in more (and better) sleep.

Movement Matters I’m a long-time believer in habit-stacking, even when each habit is tiny. Especially when each is tiny! Whether it’s health, the environment, or someone else’s welfare, things add up, and we can all do a little better. Movement Matters introduces us to small ways to make a big difference in all three areas—health, environment, humanity.

Word by Word A gift from Mom, who gives the best books! We (Mom and I) love words, trivia about words, the history of words, wordplay. As a writer, I can always improve, and this book is a fun way to do it.

Throne of Glass Guilty pleasure. I’ve had it for a while, but when my friend Lou’s daughter talked it up, I moved it to the top of the pile. Don’t tell anybody, but it’s basically research for my next novel. Shhh….

I don’t know how I’ll get through all these books by the end of summer, since I also have audiobooks for my walks, but I’m going to try!”

Roland’s partner and Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well co-author, Galina Denzel, takes her stack on the go as well:

“Here is my summer list on the go as I travel in Europe 😉 In the background you can see that I took the pictures in our home office in Sofia, where the colorful books on the shelves in the background are the collection of the Art of Real Food recipes, which I authored alongside photographer and designer Diana Shingarova. The home office is where we both work and cook, shoot new recipes and keep a large collection of dishes, silverware and backgrounds for the food sets, hence books and cups are everywhere.

The Hungry Brain I am fascinated by how we make choices and what it is about human behavior that intersects dangerously with the way the food supply has changed. This book is helping me gain a deeper and more compassionate understanding for the many ways in which our ancient brains have to navigate supermarket aisles and restaurant menus.

Character Styles More text-booky, and a classic in the field of human personality research. I have spent the last few years learning how early childhood experiences shape our character and how marvellously humans adapt to difficult circumstances and survive. I am halfway through this amazing resource and can’t wait to read more on my vacation.

It’s Time to Eat Inge Sengelmann tells of her own experience with emotional eating, how autonomic nervous system dysregulation is at the core of our distorted relationship with food and offers incredibly helpful self-inquiry at the end of each chapter. This is my third time through this book as I am also preparing to teach a retreat on the subject of eating and emotions and I keep finding gems of self-discovery and self-activation and empowerment. I think understanding and normalizing how we relate to food and pleasure is the fuel of hope for anyone dealing with emotional eating. It took me many years to heal from emotional eating and there just aren’t enough honest and scientifically valid books on the subject. This is definitely one of them.

Katerina Evro – memoirs and recipes This white and red book you see is a beautiful collection of memories and recipes by one of the most inspiring, gorgeous and feminine Bulgarian actresses. The book is a mix of old black and white family photographs and head shots of the actress, close ups of mouth-watering recipes and many pictures from more recent adventures and trips. My partner in photography and cooking Diana Shingarova was the designer and photographer of the project, and I am so happy to finally see the book here in Bulgaria.

Letting Go I got this book as a gift from the lovely Lucy—a colleague and friend in the Netherlands where we just went to teach a certification week for Nutritious Movement. Lucy knows if anything concerns emotions and unraveling what they are here to tell us, I am all ears—so she got me the perfect gift. I love the work Hawkins has brought in the world and the entry points for working with emotions he offers deserve attention. I didn’t own this one, so it was both serendipitous and plain cool to get it as a gift.

Moroccan The cuisine of Morocco attracts me like a magnet. This time in Bulgaria we are creating and photographing 25 healthy and nourishing recipes from around the world. Reading a book on Moroccan food was my inspiration to make cous cous with young almonds and dried fruit—mouth watering and satisfying in every way. Can you have too many recipe books? 🙂

As you can see, these books are both study, work, and creative inspirations for my six weeks in Europe, and I am happy to carry them along with me. Luckily, audiobooks weigh next to nothing, so I am set for my long drives across the country, too.”

Our designer Zsofi Koller always posts the loveliest shelfies—no surprise when you consider the design-star eye she brings to all her book design work for us. She says: “My favourite reads always involve a combination of cookbooks, humour, fantasy, and self-help—with a little bit of designer know-how tossed in there too. Plus, I really love just having beautiful, inspiring books around—and the winner on this score is definitely Salt Fat Acid Heat, which is a gorgeously put together book.”

Lora Woods is a co-author of Dynamic Aging. Here’s her stack, and a bit about it:

“The Fugitive Gesture allows me to stare at, examine and marvel at the gestures of people like Nijinsky and Gene Kelly.  It’s thrilling to see their invention and clarity.  The photos go back to the 1800s and include Inuit to Martha Graham: photos taken before I was born yet inform me of their feelings and power.

 Joseph Campbell (Thou art That ) transforms religious metaphor and includes the Gospel of Thomas. And like Jung, reconciles the seeming dichotomy of feeling and thinking, sensation and intuition.

 Imagery in Healing unifies and mystifies at the same time; another enigma.

 Sanskrit Keys helps me understand ancient constructs through the meaning of Sanskrit words. Freud was very late to the psychological table compared to the rich meanings of many Sanskrit words.”

Michael Curran does all the indexing for our books, so it’s no surprise to see Dawn Again in his stack.

He notes: “I read at the pace of one book every two months, so I have to make them count. The Man Who Quit Money is going to be one of those books that, as Liz Gilbert blurbs on the cover, I’m going to be thinking about every day of my life. And I’m indexing Dawn Again, but this book is exactly what I needed now, as a person who wants to learn more about permaculture. But also one is a set up for the other: Suelo’s book is a non-angry expose on why a money society needs to be quit. If you’re not willing to quit a money society, Doniga’s book is a prescription for how to see all that is unsustainable and yet positively move forward versus moving toward despair. To me this is huge, as I haven’t seen this in other books before.”

 

Penelope Jackson is our editor-in-chief, so she is awash in books pretty much all the time. She says: “I’m always working on four or five books, and I’m always reading at least that many for pleasure. These are just a few of the books I’m spending time with this summer. Elizabeth Peirce’s Grow Organic is my gardening bible—a fantastically useful, encouraging, award-winning resource I had the pleasure of working on. Ocean by Sue Goyette is my constant companion, as are her other collections of poetry, and she lent me Son of a Trickster, which, up to page 47, at least, is gorgeous and funny and rich. We take Be a Beach Detective to the ocean with us to help my 6-year-old decipher the nature clues around us, and my 9-year-old and I both love Brandon Sanderson’s ridiculously funny fantasy series Alcatraz Vs. the Evil Librarians. Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass changed my life; Gathering Moss would have if I’d read it first (and I got to do a moss workshop and walk with her recently; pinch me). Romeo and/or Juliet, a choose-your-own-adventure-style approach to the classic, is whip-smart and RIOTOUSLY FUNNY and creative and deep; I dip in and out of it and I still don’t think I’ve read every page. Alice Munro and Lawrence Hill are perennial favourites. Nature Anatomy is both beautiful and very useful to have around the house, and it taught me about stinkhorns, which is a very funny mushroom I accidentally grew in my garden, which was the highlight of my very excellent summer so far and which I wouldn’t have otherwise identified. Building With Earth feeds my daydreams. As do all books, I suppose.

Stephanie asked me for just a few lines about this stack, but honestly all I want to do is talk about books while I swim in the ocean. And lakes. Rivers, too. Let’s go for a book swim! Don’t actually bring any books; that’s a terrible idea.”

You can tell Penelope and I have similar approaches to summer living.

And finally, author and publisher Katy Bowman writes: “I read a lot during the summer, often outside (see some of the positions I frequent here).

These are what’s on my plate for the next eight weeks: A Woman’s Guide to the Wild (I’ve skimmed it and it seems like it’d be good for someone without ANY experience camping as a way to ease them into the great outdoors), Brian’s Winter (This is part two of Hatchet), Ill Nature (I used a snippet of this book in Movement Matters), Naked (I’ve read this book of essays so. many. times. Favorite essay: Island of the Damned), Dawn Again (sorry, this is an Advanced Reading Copy—it’s not available yet, but soon!), The Natural Navigator (I have the other book in this series and it’s a fun and easy one to skim and feel like you’re getting little tidbits of knowledge), On Trails. ”

Speaking of Dawn Again, by Doniga Markegard, its publication date draws ever closer! Check out this gorgeous cover:

We’ll be sending it off to press this week, and we’re making lots of plans for launching it into the world November 1. Meantime, it is available for pre-order through our website. As a thank-you for ordering this title in advance, we’ll give you access to an exclusive audio file called Tracking for Beginners, in which Doniga Markegard guides you through some of the first steps in tracking wildlife, guaranteed to help strengthen your relationship with nature, no matter whether you are in the middle of a big city, in small town, or in the wilderness. Order your copy of Dawn Again here—pre-sale closes September 22.

Meanwhile, if you need me, I’ll be on the beach, or the dock, or the poolside, or in the woods, with a stack of books in tow. Hope your own summer days are similarly stacked!


Golden days

I’ve written before about how we celebrate good news, here at Propriometrics Press. Well, the emoji strings were flying thick and fast Saturday night, as news broke that we had won not one but TWO gold medals at the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards.

Three of our books were nominated for Health Book of the Year: Diastasis Recti and Movement Matters, both by Katy Bowman, and Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well, by Galina Denzel and Roland Denzel. Movement Matters was also nominated in the Essays category. Much to our delight, Movement Matters won the gold medal for Essays, and Eat Well, Move Well, Live Well picked up gold for Health.

Here’s how that news was received in our virtual office on Saturday:

 

Once we’d cleaned up after the confetti cannon, frolicked for a while in nature, and consumed all the virtual champagne and tacos, I had a chance to ask our winning authors what it meant to them to win a Foreword Indie.

“Although I’ve written many books, I still think of myself as a sort of blogger-turned-author,” says Katy Bowman. “Most of what I write is on the internet—in short bursts on social media or in the occasional article. And even though I write about the importance of movement to our physiological, social, and ecological models, my books have always been relegated to FITNESS categories, making it challenging to spread the idea that movement is critical to our bodies, lives, and planet to anyone but exercisers. Movement Matters won Best Essays! In a contest open to essays on all topics, with judges who are into books, and who are not necessarily into movement or exercise or fitness or even health! I’m excited because it means Movement Matters is accessible—interesting, even—to those outside of fitness, which is the most critical step in bringing the idea that movement matters to the world.”

Roland Denzel echoes that sentiment. “We’re honored and thrilled to have been nominated,” he says, “but overjoyed to have won. It’s wonderful to be recognized for our hard work, and when it’s by people outside of the health and fitness industries, it’s even better. This is the audience we’ve always wanted to reach and help, so when they appreciate our work, we know we’ve succeeded.”

And finally, I asked our editor in chief, Penelope Jackson, what went through her mind when she heard the news two of our books had won gold—especially in light of how new this company is, and how small our list is. She resisted the urge to reply in emoji strings and celebratory gifs (for once), and instead told me: “What I thought of first was all of the hours Roland, Galina, and Katy put into writing their magnificent books; all the time I and our other editors spent working with the text; the time Zsofi spent designing and laying them out; all the time you, Steph, have spent managing distribution and sales and printing. So much of the work that goes into a book travelling from an author’s mind to a reader’s hands is invisible, and that’s why these awards are meaningful. They are a recognition of all that uncelebrated labour. We know how special and brilliant our authors are, and we know that every minute of our work has been more than worth it—I’m so glad other people see it too.”

Emoji tacos and champagne for all!


Introducing Doniga Markegard

This fall we’ll publish Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild, by Doniga Markegard. We’re excited about this book (Starhawk is writing the foreword!!), a memoir that traces Doniga’s life from the time she was a teenager seeking direction and meaning, through her time at the Wilderness Awareness School in the Pacific Northwest, from her studies with Lakota elder Gilbert Tatanka Mani, to tracking mountain lions along California’s rugged coast, to falling in love with a rancher named Erik and starting a life and a family with him. Doniga’s understanding of the natural world, and the lessons it holds for all of us make this memoir a must-read for anyone longing for a deeper connection with nature. When you order Dawn Again through our pre-sale, you get access to a thirty-minute long audio file called Tracking for Beginners, in which Doniga offers tips and advice so you can get started right now, no matter where you are. 

We had a chance to ask Doniga some questions about Dawn Again. Here’s our conversation:

When you think back to where you were in your life when you began learning to track, what kind of road might you have followed if tracking and wilderness studies had not presented itself as an option?

That is an interesting question. I discovered tracking when I was searching for meaning in my life and a direction where I could feel part of the solution to some of the destructive things I saw happening around me. As a child I would often ride my horse on logging roads and witness an entire hillside clearcut. When I began traveling the county and seeing crop dusters spraying chemicals on long rows of monocrops I became further disillusioned. I had grown up close to nature and the beauty of rivers and trees. It was not until I began tracking that I connected the pleasures I felt or fully understood that the life I experienced growing up was being threatened by over extraction of resources. I think if I had not discovered tracking I may have followed what the people around me were doing instead of following my heart. It is hard to say where I would have ended up because my life took so many turns, yet I was always led back to nature.

What do you think Gilbert Tatanka Mani saw in you that made him want to work with you?

Gilbert did not just mentor anyone who came along. Some people would visit searching for spirituality and he would remain silent. He had a way of knowing what stories and lessons to share at just the right moment. I think what he first saw in me was a passion for learning everything about nature and he admired that. At first he did not pay too much attention but taught me small things such as how to make prayer ties or a sacred song. When he would share something with me I would immediately take it on in my life and practice it daily. It was this dedication that he saw in me and led him to share more. When I would tell Gilbert what I learned and stories about my time in nature he would share more. This grew to a very deep spiritual relationship, one that I had not expected going in, yet emerged in the most natural way.

You kept extensive tracking journals that you were able to go back to in writing this memoir. What went through your mind as you pored over those?

I loved looking back at my old tracking journals. It was like peering back in time to the first discoveries of the stories that are all around us. The maps I drew immediately brought up vivid memories of the places I frequently tracked. I could almost smell the cottonwood buds and hear the rivers and feel the rocky sand beneath my feet.

What has tracking brought to your life?

Tracking has brought a deeper sense of my own connection to everything around me. It has also brought me a deeper connection to myself. When tracking an animal I put myself in the past, present and future in order to gain clues about the animal, what it was doing, where it was going, when it passed by and why the animal was moving the way it was moving. When I track I ask a lot of questions. These types of questions, who, what, when, where, why and how can be applied to anything in my life. Solving mysteries of tracking can convert to problem solving at my own ranch. Tracking also brought me a very keen sense of observation. While tracking I am constantly looking at the natural cycles around me to take in the bigger picture of the story. Now that I am practicing regenerative agriculture, that keen sense of observation has been key to making good decisions for our family and our land.

What did you learn about your own experiences in tracking, ranching, and raising a family by writing Dawn Again?

Writing Dawn Again provided me with a time to reflect. I think often times people do not take the time to do that in their lives and they may keep moving forward without learning the lessons from the past. Writing the book also gave me an opportunity to be thankful for the gifts I have been given. I felt so grateful for the lessons of nature, the mentors in my life and my family that have all shaped who I am and the outcome of what my life has become. Often when I was writing and thinking very hard about how to approach a chapter or a subject I would do research of things that were already written, but that did not give me the feeling that I was complete about my writing. What helped me to round out my stories of the past was when I walked outside and interacted with nature, or sat down and had a conversation about the subject with my husband, children or friends. One time I was writing a story about a coyote and I walked out my front door and a coyote was standing up on the ridge. When I was writing I was paying very close attention to everything around me, just like tracking I was looking into the past, present and future through all of my senses. What really came out when I was writing was the less tangible sense of instinct. I just got into a zone, like when I trail an animal. My fingers moved and not many thoughts went through my head as the words came on the screen.

See and hear more from Doniga Markegard here on the San Francisco Exploratorium website, where Doniga is part of a permanent exhibit called Listen.

will be published November 1, 2017. Our pre-sale is on now, through the summer. You can follow Doniga Markegard on Instagram to see nature through her eyes, and to glimpse some artifacts of her tracker past.


Come work with us!

Spread the word: Propriometrics Press is seeking a marketing co-ordinator!

We’re looking for a US-based marketing whiz with at least 4 years’ experience in book marketing to work as our in-house marketing co-ordinator.
We’re a small but rapidly growing company and we’re in search of someone who’s excited about our message to create and execute complete marketing plans for our publishing programme.
This will include creating full marketing plans for each title, creating and placing ads, pitching media, booking events, running our social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), and more. You’ll work with our editorial, operations, and design teams, as well as our amazing authors.
We need someone with big-picture strategic capabilities as well as the ability to do the day-to-day work of implementing our plans.

• Work can be remote or in-office in Sequim, Washington. 20 hours a week: 8–12 PST Monday to Thursday, with four more hours when needed (occasionally weekends or evenings). As the company grows, these hours may increase.
• $30/hr

To apply: Please send us a cover letter and CV, as well as a sample full book marketing plan, either one you’ve created in the past, or for a book from our list. Send to info@propriometricspress.com. Deadline is June 5, 2017.


Cover Story: Designing Dawn Again

 

This fall, we’ll publish Dawn Again: Tracking the Wisdom of the Wild, by Doniga Markegard. It’s a riveting memoir of exploration and survival. As a young girl, Doniga Markegard was thrown from her horse and knocked unconscious. She remembers an out-of-body experience that revealed to her the great mystery at the heart of life. In Dawn Again, she writes of the journey that experience sparked.

At a wilderness immersion school, medicine people and wildlife trackers train her in indigenous ways. Her search for an authentic life takes her hitchhiking across the West and to Alaska, where she falls deeply in love with tracking wolves and the rigors of surviving in the wilderness.

 Doniga seeks a vision and discovers her purpose, only to find herself on a cattle ranch, falling in love and starting a family, and learning a new way to apply the deep, unshakeable lessons of the wild.

We’re really excited about this book and we knew it needed a really special cover. So we turned, as we do, to our incredibly talented designer, Zsofi Koller. She did not disappoint. We took the opportunity to chat with Zsofi about the cover for Dawn Again, and what went into making it.

How do you approach the design of a cover for a new book?

Book cover design is about making an intangible tangible. On one hand, there are endless options. ENDLESS. On the other hand, if you listen to what the book is about—and I mean, listen with ALL your senses—some ideas become clear tracks to follow. And I follow those tracks, and see what happens.

When I’m doing first cover design, the book itself might not be written fully yet, or I might not have access to the full manuscript. So I’ll often get a debrief from the editor or author about the WHAT of the book. Not just the what—also, the spirit and heart of it. And I’ll daydream about it, and I’ll go to the bookstore and roam around thinking about it, and I’ll look at approximately a billion things online to get ideas.

And eventually I start to pile together ideas from my mental toolbox, and often times visual cues from my teammates, and it starts to take shape. And then I run my first concepts by our team, and we take it from there.

You chose not to use a photograph for this cover. Why not?

Well, we did try that idea. Pretty cute, right? (We were still ironing out the subtitle at that point, too, it seems!)

But it wasn’t the right idea for this book. This book isn’t best expressed by a photo. There’s a side of introspection, of spiritual exploration, that is best captured by a slightly more evocative imagery. So the thought of a wolf that embodied a sunrise felt too perfect to not use.

 What were some of the particular challenges in designing this cover?

In total honesty, this cover didn’t feel like it had challenges. It came together pretty seamlessly. There were a lot of different iterations of sunrises and wolves though!

How do you know when you’ve landed on the right design?

When it makes someone on the team cry. And I can just feel it, too. When I come back and look at the design 24 hours later and still love it, I know it’s working. When I want to show it to my husband, it’s working. When I want to sweep everything into the garbage bin and keep working, it’s not right yet. And there’s really no short cut to the process. Sometimes it takes less time, or more time, but it’s always a process.

 What do you most like about this final design?

I love the colour palette. A lot of our covers tend to be quite bold, which I love as well, but I enjoy the softness of the greens, pinks, oranges, and cream in this cover. It certainly feels true to a glorious dawn. I’m also very fond of the fonts we landed upon. A good font for a book is a little gift that keeps giving. I’m so looking forward to the interior design—the pieces have been laid in play so nicely by the cover, it makes the whole design process flow smoothly.