As a business owner and writer, slowing the heck down is one of those things that sounds good in practice but never actually happens. Even when I schedule a do-nothing day, it seems to get booked up with all kinds of activities until the day off is no longer exactly that.
So it was a vicarious pleasure to read Dominique Browning’s book Slow Love: How I Lost my Job, Put on my Pajamas, and Found Happiness.
When Home and Garden Magazine folded, Browning found herself suddenly, unexpectedly out of a job. After a few months of daytime cocktails and slow strolls in her pajamas, she started to realize that maybe slowing down, instead of being a horribly depressing idea, was actually something she’d needed to do for some time.
Browning has a meandering, introspective style that’s appropriate to the topic. Through the memoir, she examines her relationships with her adult kids, her ex, and the world around her. Woven through it are sharply-written insights about home, food, and the garden.
A few quotes from her gardening life:
“Worms, like tortoises, like children, seem to take forever to get anywhere, but turn your attention away and they are gone by the time you think to look again. It is a challenge to watch a worm long enough for it to bury itself completely – a perennial piece of theater, but until now I’ve never made it past the first act.”
“Over the years, I’ve learned not to worry so much about what will or won’t make it: I’m learning the “So what?” lesson. So what if it fails? That doesn’t mean it was all a mistake. So what if it ends? That doesn’t mean it should never have begun.
I’ve seen, too, how things thrive in the most unlikely places. Sun-loving plants sometimes establish themselves in deep shade. They just take on the attenuated, melancholic inclination of those creatures of the gloaming.”
While this isn’t a book about gardening so much as it is about getting OK with slowing down and coming to love the mixed-up messiness that is life, I’m guessing a lot of you are fans of Browning’s work from the Home and Garden Magazine days, and perhaps have even read her past books, like Paths of Desire: The Passions of a Suburban Gardener or Around the House and in the Garden.
Want to win a copy of Slow Love? Plume, the publisher, has generously offered no fewer than TEN COPIES for you to win. Just leave a comment below to enter! US only; I’ll choose the ten winners on Sunday September 18th. Good luck! EDIT: The ten winners have been chosen and emailed. Congrats, and thanks for entering!
In the meantime, catch up with Browning on her blog, Slow Love Life.