Tag Archives: life in the slow lane

The Monday Book: SLOW LOVE by Dominique Browning

I really like memoirs, so when Browning’s came in with the charming title, “How I lost my job, put in my pajamas, and learned to enjoy life” I packed it on a recent flight. (It is also smaller than the average trade paperback.)

Although following a predictable pattern – NYC insider gets the boot because of hard times – what I liked about the book was Browning’s meta-writing: slow, lyrical sentences to illustrate how her life slowed down, picked up on music and gentle living, and added some herbs.

Granted, Browning is wealthy. Even though she wrote about the fear of the plummeting stock market harming her retirement savings, well, she had savings. And another house to move into that she could afford to renovate. Etc. This is a yuppie memoir.

And beautifully written. Her lazy, gentle sentences don’t meander. They are densely packed with words you might have to look up every now and then. Her observations are pithy but not concise. I found myself following her for the way she told the story, not the story she was telling.  Browning is a writer’s writer.

Following my quest to find how other writers handle making the inaccessible (or at least the non-experienced) interesting to readers who don’t share the passion of the book, I read Browning to the end, and enjoyed it. If you like lyrical writing and peeking at others’ strange lives, this is a good one for those of us who don’t live, and don’t care to think about living, in Manhattan.

A full bouquet of home-grown roses for Dominique Browning’s SLOW LOVE.

 

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, book reviews, bookstore management, Downton Abbey, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, Life reflections, publishing, reading, Sarah Nelson, small town USA, VA, writing

Little Cabin in the Wilderness

Jack’s guest blog on a place he loves

We love to head over to our log cabin in the backwoods of Tennessee whenever we get the chance. It nestles inside 12 acres of  densely wooded surrounding hills. When it rains the run-off feeds the pond in front of the cabin and keeps our tame carp and catfish happy.

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Built along with seven others, in the early 1970s at the time of the Knoxville World’s Fair, it has seen its ups and downs – particularly when we rented it out at various times to some very dubious characters. The last of these left the place in poor condition, and we called on our good friend and excellent carpenter Guy. He not only completely replaced the floor in the original half of the building, but proceeded to replace the shingles, construct a spare room in the attic, add an extra two rooms and a laundry, and install a wood-burning stove.

Over the last five years or so it has become our ‘bolt-hole’ and is the perfect antidote to the pressures of our regular lives. It has no internet, no phone, no cell-phone reception and no TV, and our dogs, Zora and Bert, can run around to their hearts’ content with no worries about traffic. Wendy gets a LOT of writing done.

We were there all last week for just that purpose, and I was intrigued (as I always am) by the complete change of pace and the time it takes to adjust to it. We fall into a new pattern of “just live, just write, just eat, just relax” so quickly.

The cabin has no TV, but contains a radio and it’s only when we’re there that I get the chance to hear my show Celtic Clanjamphry on WETSfm. The rest of my time is usually spent foraging for fallen branches and cutting them into logs for the stove (amazing how time consuming that can be) and taking care of various bits of maintenance that always seem to be needed. That and the reading I never usually have enough time for back at the bookstore (funny that).

We do let friends rent the place whenever they want and now we’ve had the driveway re-graveled it looks more inviting. (It’s a steep drive.) We have a one degree of separation rule: if we know you, and you know someone who wants to use it, that’s okay.

 

 

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Filed under Big Stone Gap, bookstore management, Life reflections, Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap, publishing, small town USA, Uncategorized, writing