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Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Interview with Yale University Press Author Bruce M Beehler
Natural Encounters—Biking, Hiking, and Birding Through the
Yale University Press
1. What inspired you to write this book?
wanted to get the word out to all my neighbors along the East Coast that taking
a close interest in Nature’s annual cycle of the seasons is the most effective
treatment for raising one’s spirits—and without paying the price of a
prescription pill at the pharmacy. I applied this treatment to myself across
thirty-five years—by bicycling to work year-round, hiking in the woods,
bird-watching in spring, and search for fossils in the fall and winter. By
being out in contact with Nature, I found joy, peace, and calm.
2. Who should read it — and why?
urban and suburban dweller who suffers from anxiety, boredom, and frustration
should use book as a guide to getting outside and embracing Nature. Active
engagement of the wonders of our East Coast green spaces is a tonic that sooths
the soul. Work hard during the day, but take in Nature in those free moments,
especially on the weekend, and get into those nearby green spaces and start to
take notice of what is there—a Spring Peeper, an American Beaver, a Wood
Thrush, a Jack-in-the-Pulpit, a giant White Oak. Communing with nature is not
some old-fashioned pastime. Its the wonder drug without any warning on the
3. How is it better or different from others
in its genre?
report on thirty-five years of encounters with Nature, both in the National
Capital area and in special places up and down the East Coast. The reader is
thus educated on where and when and how to experience Nature’s highlights with
the minimum of extra effort. This is really a how-to book in extracting
spiritual value from the gods of the green world around us. One can read about
what’s out there, and then go out and experience it first-hand. And, of course,
the first-hand experience is always better than the narrative describing it.
4. What challenges did you overcome to write
challenge of converting thirty-five years of diary entries into a compelling
set of narrative chapters that boiled down to a single year in nature. I
produced more than twenty drafts and experimented with major shifts in
treatment (e.g., from past tense to present tense) during this process, which
encompassed more than four years.
5. What lasting messages do you hope your
readers are left after consuming your book? That Nature can be the source of never-ending spiritual
solace to those in need of relief from the stresses of the daily East Coast
grind. Join with Nature for a life of greater happiness. Learn the names of the
wild creatures and plants around you. Become a Nature-watcher. Photograph
Nature. Create a daily Nature diary. Nature will then embrace you and provide
the satisfactions of wonder and discovery.
6. What advice do you have for struggling
your message. Revise. Revise again. Plot out the narrative in an outline after
the book is in draft. Ensure a particular message is delivered to the reader in
each chapter. Build the story, chapter by chapter. Know your niche and your
market and given that market what it is calling for.
7. Where do you see the book publishing
a bit like Moore’s law—each year more books are published, but the population
of book-buyers does not keep pace. That means a very few writers sell millions
of books, and the vast remainder of the world’s writers must share an
ever-smaller market of buyers of non-bestsellers. This means you should be
publishing because there is something you have to tell the world and this is
your means of doing that.