YOU KNOW YOU’VE MET SOMEONE SPECTACULAR when she lends you her snowshoes, hoping you—a fellow writer—can be lured away from the computer, for your own good. That’s how Katrina Kenison is: She arrives bearing gifts, but not the ones you buy at a store, necessarily. They’re more likely to be something that could nudge you into appreciating “The Gift of an Ordinary Day,” as her book by that title does. Meet a new friend, and comment to win a copy of “Gift”—and an advance one of “And I Shall Have Some Peace There,” too. We’ll each give away two sets of them this week on our blogs. Here’s our story, and how the giveaway works:
If I hadn’t signed with the same publisher, I doubt I’d have met Katrina–our lives and stories appear so different, and she lives a few states away (though, as if by magic, one of her sons is just minutes down the road from me at school). Hers is “a mother’s memoir,” as the cover subhead reveals, co-starring a husband and teen-age boys; mine the tale of a single woman setting off to a rural life of solitude. But when we both participated in a booksellers trade show in October, we learned the meaning of that old saying, “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Or a life.
“I was reading your book on the way here,” she told me excitedly as I shook her hand at the show, bumping into her words with my, “I just finished your book last night.”
I had known about Katrina—many authors do, because her book video (above) became a YouTube sensation, the second-most-watched book “trailer” out there, apparently, at more than 1.5 million views. But even after viewing it, I wasn’t prepared for the strong identification I’d feel with “Gift of an Ordinary Day,” or Katrina herself. I had to read the book.
Turns out ours are both tales of transition; of career shifts and the related midlife transformations; of the deliberate choice of small-town living; of facing fears that arise when making big change. We each cast a beloved house—our true home—as a character in the plot. We share the love of yoga; tell tender stories of reliance on new neighbors; and of course, of the joys discovered when doing what in our old city lives would have seemed like “doing nothing.”
Whether you call such non-goings-on “gifts,” as she does, or “peace” (my term)—is mere semantics. Katrina is a kindred spirit, and I think you will love her book, her newly redesigned blog, her gentle generosity of spirit. And so many sentences she keeps on delivering that just hit home:
“I don’t have to be who I’ve always been, or stay afraid of the things that have always scared me,” Katrina wrote on her site the other day. (Sounds like, me–and maybe you–right?) Or this from week before last: “Solitude is the soul’s holiday, an opportunity to stop doing for others and to surprise and delight ourselves instead.”
Words to live by, at least for me just now.
To Enter the Giveaway
TO ENTER TO WIN ONE OF FOUR SETS OF BOOKS, comment here and on Katrina’s site, noting in both places the name of another book about personal transition that you identified with. Tell us why, too, if you wish. Regulars to my blog know that I understand some of you are shy and just prefer to say “Count me in,” or “I want to win,” but if you feel like sharing an inspirational book title and a sense of the “why” behind your choice instead, please do; all the better.
Entries close at midnight Sunday, January 23, with winners to be drawn at random (using the tool at random [dot] org) and announced the next day.
Remember: Once you post your entry here, go visit Katrina to double your chances—and tell her Margaret says hello, and that a full report on my snowy adventure is soon to come, thanks to her.