In March, Blue Ear Books published The Descent into Happiness, a book about a bike ride I took last summer from Seattle to Milwaukee. Actually, the book is about more than just the bike ride itself: it’s also about the thought process that goes into a solo, self-supported bike tour. I wrote it because I wanted to document what one thinks about when biking by oneself for a sustained period of time. What I ended up thinking about was all of the “stuff” that is important to me: why I love my wife so much, how I love teaching courses in Ethics and Creative Thinking, my desire to slow down every aspect of life.
Since publishing the book, I’ve been hosting book talks at various bookstores and universities. It’s been a challenge, given that I’m a self-proclaimed introvert, but the challenge has been worth it. I’ve discovered what people think of the book, how they respond to the book. What surprises me most is how many folks tell me how personal the material is. My writing has always been personal; my formal training is in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry, so writing about “the personal” seemed like a bit of a foregone conclusion. Maybe what adds to the surprise is that the poetic, personal emphasis comes out in a book that is a bit travel narrative, a bit mental wandering.
More book reading events are in the making. You can find out where I’ll be giving presentations on my blog: https://davidhowell.org/events/. Additional events will be posted soon, because I’ll be doing a bit of a book tour this summer between Milwaukee and Portland, Oregon. Here’s hoping we have the opportunity to meet each other at one of these upcoming events.