I have just finished the first draft of Chapter 17 of Nature’s Stricter Lessons and put it up for my first readers. This puts me about two thirds of the way through the book, which will be the fifth in the series about Line, Marty and Paul Mikkelson. I’m not rushing it, since the first four books of the series are now out in the world, but I am happy to be moving forward.
http://lightlyheldbooks.com/. It doesn’t mean that anyone bought any books! Or that 92 new people became aware of our site, or looked at it for more than a cursory minute. But it might mean something. It is an axiom of the public relations world that a person must hear about something seven times before he actually purchases it. I have Don Starnes to thank for making the ad and getting to the bottom of AdWords.
This is also the fiftieth year since I graduated from Luther College. As a result, I was asked by the bookstore if I wanted to do a book signing. Yes! I do! Thus, early October will see me flying in to Rochester, Minnesota, and heading down to Decorah, Iowa. My sister Ann will ferry me about and possibly there will be another book signing in Mankato. I haven’t tried to compete for book signings in the busy urban bookstores in my area here in California. In fact I am pretty poor at competing at all! But it doesn’t mean I take my work any less seriously.
I couldn’t tell you why I feel it so necessary to write this series of books, but I have wanted to contribute to culture in some way since I was a very little girl in North Dakota. Finally now I have the time to show, in the way that I want to, something about wholeness.
Essentially, as Christopher Alexander describes in his four books on The Nature of Order in the physical world, wholeness is recursively induced from wholeness. Alexander points to a cathedral, for example, “in which the properties create life innocently, in centers, and in which the centers themselves are multiplied, each one made deeper by the next.” Crafted by people who were steeped in one thought, to work to the glory of God, the recursion in the glass and stonework becomes more intense and the structure becomes a unity.
The concept of wholeness can also enhance our understanding of the cultures men create. Athletes perform with more excellence out of pride in the team or country of which they are a part. The “strangers” who come together to make music in the Silk Road Ensemble exhibit the uninhibited joy of participation, while making less interesting music on their own. The soundness, the sustainability of our institutions, our families, even our personalities are informed by the context from which they come. Only now, I believe, when we see fragmentation all around us, are we willing to think in these terms.
In art people are still excited by the shimmering edges of things. But one day they will want to get back to the trunk, the base, the roots. When that happens, they might want to know about the culture which sustains our three siblings, Line, Marty and Paul, a wholeness which induces their abundant lives. Steeped in this family culture, they embrace new cultures, make their own families and the difficult choices which our rambunctious, rapacious and freedom-loving global culture requires.