Teachers are the salt of the earth, secret messages from arachnids, and gratitude for every layer of life.

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The view from the mountaintop is stunning, but the hard slog of getting there is what allows us to really appreciate it. So much hard work is required, the path can seem to drag on interminably, eventually we catch glimpses of the landscape which build anticipation, and finally the panorama opens up in all directions.

This past week I reached one such summit. Very quickly I descended back down into the valley afterward, but that’s beside the point! I spent 80 minutes with my kids’ teachers this week, after delivering eight books to them after school let out. These beautiful people are the salt of the earth!

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All four of the teachers in the photograph work directly with my children. Their enthusiasm for my book, The Emancipation of a Buried Man, has been incredible. To obtain such an endorsement from such intelligent movers and shakers ranks as highly as any honor I’ve ever received. Our conversation was remarkably engaging, and they quickly began devouring the book that very evening. In fact, the following morning I returned to school to drop off my son’s forgotten homework and his teacher was out in the hallway thoroughly engrossed in reading it! The student teacher, the lone male pictured in the background, immediately left the class to run out and talk about the hundred pages he had read the night before in the most animated way possible without being disruptive of other classes. In fact, he delighted in telling me that he normally doesn’t read books for pleasure, but that he was completely consumed. His interaction with the material is particularly gratifying for me. Additionally, one of the teachers has a loved one that is mired in the hoarding lifestyle, and was eager to read of my own extrication from it. Wow. Just wow. They’ve filled Facebook with glowing reviews, and I am unable to adequately express my gratitude for their support. I’m still a small-time author, so to receive endorsements from teachers, local business leaders, and even the mayor, has been remarkably steadying for me. Intense ups and downs have been unleashed due to the releasing of this book that delves into personal matters that I’ve never told anyone. Having the support of real people in my community has been crucial. Far more so, even, than I ever realized.

And yet, I find myself fondly looking back on the 19 years—mostly difficult ones—that have transpired since the metamorphosis I write about in the 2nd part of my book. For instance, I spent half a decade laboring in this tiny office in my basement. It’s a 100-year-old room that formerly held coal to heat the house. Though it is only 4 feet by 6 feet, I spent hours scrubbing the blackened walls prior to making it suitable for “work.”

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What a mess, huh? The room remained sealed off as a monument to my years of toil for a large corporation until just this weekend. Last summer I was laid off from my job after nine years of service during a phone call that lasted five minutes. NOW THAT CAME AS A SHOCK! I avoided the old office completely, only entering it to pack up the computer into the box for shipment back to the “mother ship.” Frankly, telecommuting was so convenient that I was never going to leave unless I was pushed out.

Pain, suffering even, can take time to process. I’m feeling liberated while pursuing the writing career I’ve dreamed of, which frankly was made possible by going through years of frustration and discouragement. After all, it was the pain of losing my job that provided the impetus to write about a difficult childhood that I previously preferred to forget. I had always planned on writing a book about my “emancipation,” but somehow it never occurred to me to delve heavily into the period of my existence in which I was “buried alive.” As a blogger recently wrote in reference to my story, “When you study paintings by the Dutch masters, it’s the contrast between darkness and light that makes the images pop, makes the story so vivid…” The second part of my story of epic adventure and uncovering beauty for the first time, which I delight in sharing the most, never would have become so alive without the darkness. Furthermore, I simply wasn’t able to tell the story until going through the pain of losing my job and the intense anxiety of figuring out how to feed my family.

This chapter is finally closed. I needed a quality printer for printing flyers for an upcoming book launching party, so I loaded up all our worn-out printers to drop off for recycling along the way. This was so freeing! The old office printer was among the bunch, so I finally cleaned up this dreary old office in an effort to prepare it for something new. I couldn’t believe all the cords and wires down there. I think they have been copulating in this sealed off room while being out of sight and out of mind all this time. A hundred feet or more of these electrical conduits cluttered up the place.

Also, for the first time ever, I found great joy in driving up over the hill and to the large, busy, retail area of our metropolitan area (anchored by a mall that I avoid like the plague). Along the way I drove directly past the nondescript office building where I was formerly employed prior to working from home as a telecommuter. Clearing the office of the last of the old equipment allowed me to say one final goodbye. (I’d also like to mention that I loved all my old bosses and many of the people. This isn’t a rant against the corporate entity either. I simply was trapped in work that didn’t fit my giftings.)

Copious amounts of dust was wiped from the desk. This dust, 40% of which is old skin cells, literally contained parts of the old me. It felt good to clean up these old remnants. Spiders were busy co-workers in this office of mine, often surprising me by rapidly descending in front of me to deliver an important message, apparently. Cobwebs and all traces of previous debris and clutter were removed. This was liberating, and for whatever reason I wasn’t ready until this very moment.

Most ironically, the only other two traces of this previous life are making it into this week’s garbage collection as well. While washing the dishes last night—after precariously balancing a bowl onto the top of the stack—I broke a single item. Coincidentally, the small bowl was a “gift” sent to me during customer service week a couple years back. The side was emblazoned with “Our service is SOUPER!” I never really liked the dish anyway, and always wondered why we saved it. I’m convinced we held it so that it could break at this unique moment. I find meaning in this.

Finally, in another odd coincidence, the quilted, quarter-inch thick pants that I wore nearly every day from November through May (MY BASEMENT WAS RIDICULOUSLY COLD TO WORK IN) are being tossed out at the very same time. Threadbare beyond the point of decency, they are now ready for the landfill. Immediately after finishing this post I will peal them off for the last time. Thanks for your years of service, pants! This is an incredible new journey that I’m on. Metaphorically, at least, it resembles the period of epic adventure, transformation, and discovery written about in The Emancipation of a Buried Man.

It’s Earth Day! Thoughts Gleaned from Squalor and Hoarding.

Compulsive hoarding, and the squalor that comes with it, often rides in tandem with a lack of self-respect or awareness. If you had a healthy self-worth, would you live, eat, sleep, and make love in these conditions?

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Sorry if this is somewhat graphic, but think about the most basic things you take for granted every day. Can you imagine doing them within such a context? For example, as a child I slept among hundreds of bird droppings that were trapped between my sheets. Months went by, and I still failed to wash them… I think we can agree that this is absolutely repulsive.

And yet, for some reason we aren’t able to come together as a society to agree on basic principles for good housekeeping of our planet. The following pictures should stir strong visceral feelings that are every bit as repulsive as the various scenes I have occasionally shown here from my childhood home. I mean, obviously we all live here. Is this acceptable? Would you want to live amidst garbage and hazardous debris? Do you love your neighbor? This is why I’m happy to finally admit that I am an environmentalist, and a Christian environmentalist at that.

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That last picture is of the Cuyahoga River burning in 1969. We’ve made progress since then, but it has often only been the “radical environmentalists” pushing for real change. I wonder where we would be today if it weren’t for them. Surely none of us find these images to be acceptable, right?

Therefore, lets love our home. It’s ok to say that. Rather than having an attitude of, “Ah, to Hell with it,” as we carelessly flick cigarette butts onto the land wherever we find ourselves standing (as an animal defecates wherever it happens to be at the moment when nature calls), lets be aware of our surroundings. I find that people who spend time outside care about the environment. Those who spend most of their days indoors under the influence of climate control tend not to.

Here in Duluth, Minnesota, I find it relatively easy to be aware. I eschew the automobile, whenever possible, for personal reasons. Sure, it’s good for the environment, but I think I benefit the most by biking and walking to most destinations. Here is my bike. I bought it 25 years ago, and it is the very same Trek 1200 given special prominence in chapter 12 of my recently published memoir, The Emancipation of a Buried Man. I recently purchased the cargo trailer behind it (likely an impulsive pre-midlife crisis decision), and in the background you can see the very head of the Great Lakes. This is the easternmost point of Lake Superior, and our port is the furthest inland freshwater seaport in the world. We are connected to the entire planet through ships that travel here the world over. This is also some of the cleanest water you’ll ever hope to find, and the largest repository of freshwater anywhere. You’re looking at 10% of all the world’s fresh surface water. Amazing. Traveling to and fro within feet of such a wonder helps me to be aware. Thus, I think the greatest challenge I leave with you today is not for any specific environmental action, but rather that you live with greater awareness. The results and actions will then take care of themselves…

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Here in Duluth we have a reputation of being a little “radical” with respect to the environment. Maybe that’s because we tend to actually be out in it, appreciating our natural assets, raising our children in it, etc… We drink this water. It is absorbed into every fiber of our being, literally. Obviously we choose to protect this water, the air, trees, food supply, etc. It’s only common sense. Cheers!

Finally, I need to share this amazing review of my book from a book blogger in England. It’s fantastic:

https://caffeineandbooks42.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/book-review-the-emancipation-of-a-buried-man-by-eddy-gilmore/

The book is also being featured by Ed Newman in his popular blog today:

http://pioneerproductions.blogspot.com/2015/04/interview-with-eddy-gilmore-author-of.html

Tales From the Pedaling Book Peddler, Part 3 – Unearthing Gold of Immeasurable Value

Every single trip spent delivering books by bike is meaningful. Powerful even. Well, in this case I was delivering a thank you note to the Mayor’s office. He purchased my book and carved out 15 minutes of his day to visit with me recently. The hourlong round-trip required to personally deliver a handwritten note to his office was important to me, even though I simply handed it to his assistant. It’s about gratitude. For some reason I find myself being more grateful while exercising my muscles and huffing and puffing up hills. This was far more meaningful for me than spending 30 seconds on an email to say thanks.

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This day’s journey was tremendous for other reasons, however. Along the way I caught a brief glimpse of this father and son enjoying a tender moment together. I found the scene to be heartwarming. The effect pulled me out of commuter-mode (simply traveling from point A to point B), and transformed me into a human being delighting in the journey itself.

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Small glimpses of grace, beauty, goodness, and simple kindnesses, fill me with gratitude. These are why my preferred method of travel is via two wheels instead of four.

Take, for example, my surprisingly engaging visit with Richard here. I see him on the Lakewalk constantly, and finally got the nerve to visit with him. It turns out that even though he’s a remarkably busy engineer, he walks the 4+ miles to his office each way for his commute! Sometimes he’ll even kayak to the office, and also uses the bike occasionally, but walking is probably his most common method of travel since he doesn’t bike in the winter (yup, he does this year-round even though he obviously makes a decent living from his occupation). He says he feels tremendously blessed to be able to walk each day just a few feet away from the largest body of fresh water in the world. Richard continues on with this even though the demands of his job can require him to show up at the office seven days a week! Obviously all this walking is helping to keep him centered and in good spirits. I found myself feeling remarkably fascinated by his lifestyle.

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It gets even better. When he casually mentioned he only had one bike, I was prompted to ask if he was a minimalist. It turns out that he is! These people are my heroes. Though his job pays well, he is content with two or three changes of clothes and seems to live about as lightly upon the earth as possible. When asked about minimalism he points at his heart and says the goal is to live big “in here.” I observed his countenance, and could see that a limited number of possessions is indeed helping him to live large. More stuff would clutter his life, thus distract him, and diminish his happiness. I greatly admire his dogged persistence in the face of powerful headwinds, as he lives slowly and simply while working in a field known for big bucks, and endemic busyness. He is an intensely interesting human being, and I never would have had the opportunity to be enthralled by our ten minutes of conversation if I had been rushing around in a car (sealed off and isolated from the rest of the world).

As I walked up to City Hall to deliver my note for the Mayor, I was still thrilling in our conversation while praying, “God, this is what I want to do with my life!”

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Two floors down from the Mayor’s office I had the opportunity to visit with a former co-worker. Once again, my current “occupation” opens up such opportunities that otherwise would seem just plain weird. I found myself admiring her tenacity while completing an MBA under a full course load of 15 credits per semester, managing an important and busy office for the city, being a year-round soccer mom, and also serving on the boards of two community organizations. My first reaction was to inquire if she was planning on running for Mayor! Her workload would probably drive me insane, but she seems to plug along with a cheerful spirit. I find it fascinating to converse with such a diversity of individuals over the course of a single journey.

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Biking also allows for thoughtful observations to percolate through even tiny details that would otherwise go unnoticed. On this same day I observed two boys walking home from middle school. Both boys were alarmingly clean, a Bible school casual level of cleanliness, and even their shoes appeared to have never veered off clean pavement or carpet. They were brilliantly new looking even though we are nearing the end of the school year. Since I observed the phenomenon twice, I attribute this to a pattern and not simple coincidence. The experience enabled me to put my own frustration over my elementary-aged kids tracking mud into the house into a better perspective. SNEAKERS SHOULD BE DIRTY! Clean, new-looking shoes, and flawless looking clothes made me wonder if these boys ever do anything outside. This might be a bit judgmental, but shoes shouldn’t be that bright.

“Ashes to ashes and dust to dust…” Since we’ll be returned to the earth some day, we shouldn’t be afraid to carry around a bit of earthiness with us in our daily lives. I’m proud to be a man of the soil, and that my children freely spread it around. Dirt isn’t dirty, but hygienic cleanliness is…

From Lost to Found

When you live like this, it’s a given that your life will be defined by chaos. Nothing can be counted upon. There is no true north, no way out of the wilderness, and no firm foundation.

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As the child of a hoarder, I was reared in an atmosphere of squalor. Things that most people take for granted, such as a reasonably clean floor, were nebulous concepts. The ground upon which I walked shifted on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis. Piles of debris and belongings occasionally fell from great heights, temporarily blocking narrow paths that allowed passage through the house, requiring great efforts in excavation to allow for safe transit once again.

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These piles, reaching to the ceiling in places, behaved like landfills as long forgotten items molded and rotted away deep within. The effluent produced from decomposing and festering food, dog excrement and urine, layered within these archaeological-like dumping grounds kept the carpet continually moist. If I made the mistake of walking in bare feet my soles turned as black as night.

My bedroom was even worse. Within its confines, measuring approximately 8 X 12 feet, I housed over 100 animals at the same time. Half of these were birds, which flew freely about the room while dispersing their droppings and seed hulls upon every surface. Since my full-sized bed took up most of the open floor space between the large cages, I became intimately acquainted with their byproducts. Wet and squishy bird poop quickly dried and hardened, and eventually was ground into dust. This aerosolized and became part of the atmosphere. A large bank of aquariums along the wall added humidity and mold. A horrific bedwetting problem that lingered into adulthood further complimented the aromas of reek and decay. This was the air I breathed.

A daily assault on all the senses overwhelmed me. Clarity, perspective, creativity, and a sense of purpose or meaning, were impossible to achieve in this environment.

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When I left home for college I found that my inner emptiness followed me. All aspects of my being—mental, physical, and spiritual—were in disarray, much like the condition of Mom’s house. Chaos and confusion continued to reign supreme. Classes and lectures in biology, chemistry, and the liberal arts, only added to the jumble within my mind. Something had to give.

That thing was me. All of me. At the end of my freshman year my entire world was turned upside down (in other words it was righted) by a spiritual awakening. For the first time I found myself standing on a firm foundation. That summer, rather than going back home, I ventured North to the wilderness along the shores of Lake Superior in an effort to commune more fully with the creator of all things. I learned to hear God in scripture and in all of creation, and approached life without any preconceived notions or ideas. I was a clean slate.

It was as if I had been raised by wolves, and finally emerged from a lifetime of ignorance and deprivation. Everything that my fellow humans took for granted, I found to be utterly fascinating. Steeping myself in simple experiences, I gained greater understanding of the world and my interactions with it.

I was transfixed by all of creation. Sunsets mesmerized, newly discovered vistas enchanted, and I was captivated by newfound love and purpose. I began to hear the whisperings of God alongside a waterfall or babbling brook, in the wind whistling through the pines, or even while calm and alone in a quiet cabin.

I was learning to use all my available senses. Like Helen Keller, I ravenously craved more and more while learning to experience and interact with the world.

All of life became a grand adventure. I took a break from college that lasted exactly nine months—time enough for a rebirth—and became addicted to exploring wilderness, good books, and meaningful experiences. We children of hoarders are known to become susceptible to addictions of all kinds. For once my cravings were positive, and actually contributed to the rebuilding of my life.

I hiked up to 30 miles a day. My thirst for experiencing the undulations of the land was insatiable. This culminated during a month-long journey by backpack and train to and through many of the great national parks of the West. These adventures erupted volcanically into my life, helped change me, and the sheer exertion of the near-frenetic activity gradually readied my mind and spirit for something deeper and calmer.

Body, mind, and soul connected in unique ways. Previously the different aspects of life were a jumble of isolated competing parts, much like the piles of random belongings in my childhood home. Understanding supplanted confusion. Equilibrium displaced imbalance. Peace overwhelmed anxiety and insecurity. Contentment flooded the wasteland of want. Love ambushed a heart that hitherto had merely been a mechanical pump that kept my body on life support.

Silence is a state of the soul. One is content to simply “be.” All noise in the brain comes to a halt and you can finally listen. Being able to actually hear is incredibly satisfying. Creativity, love, peace, and awareness of your place in the universe, spring freely from this place. You are often at war with yourself to get there, but finally it arrives and envelops you like a persistent, yet gentle, snow blanketing the landscape.

That silence became a symphony of overwhelming beauty, filled with movements of varying complexity. I slowed down while enjoying the coldest winter in recorded history while living in a wilderness cabin near the Canadian border. Temperatures were recorded as low as -60° F, and I had never been more content in all my life. I was finally capable of listening, loved what I heard, and was thoroughly rebuilt from the ground up.

Perhaps you are encountering difficulty while attempting to move on from a difficult past. The imperative for us all is to not allow the past to define us. I have found remarkable value in facing my past, learning from it, and using these lessons for the purpose of building a better life for me and my family. Such efforts require daring, a penchant for the exciting, and a dash of adventure. By adding these ingredients, it is impossible to live a life of overwhelming regrets. My newly released memoir, The Emancipation of a Buried Man, goes into all this and much much more.

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10 Instant Benefits of Manual Labor and Chores

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Work is incredibly valuable. I’m not talking about sitting at a desk pushing papers, tapping away at a computer, or chatting on the phone, either. Regardless of individual temperament, we all need to be regularly engaged in useful manual labor. Preferably such labor will carry us into the great outdoors as well.

The other morning I took a call from my neighbor. At the time I was sitting on my hindquarters while ingesting a healthy dose of coffee. A large branch had fallen on her neighbor’s garage, and she wondered if I could take care of the problem. I leaped at the opportunity! Currently we are between flocks of chickens, and I have missed the simple chores performed outside every morning.

Crisp, cold air greeted me, along with a choir of songbirds. Grabbing a ladder and a bow saw (I don’t own a chainsaw because I am ill-equipped to maintain one properly, and hate the noise), I raced expectantly to the scene. Ten minutes later the branch had been dispatched, and is currently in my yard awaiting “processing” into useful, stackable pieces. Both sets of neighbors bared a disproportionate sense of gratitude and relief on their faces, and I ended up with a solid amount of dry, seasoned maple firewood. Win Win for everybody!

Since losing my day job last year, the occasional sense of usefulness to others has produced a buzz more potent than that of any narcotic. Additionally, such usefulness is mutually beneficial in all cases. This brings me great joy.

1. Our bodies were made to move. If you’re stagnating in a sedentary job or activity, get up and move around for a while. Ideally you will put yourself to good use somewhere. If you have no outdoor chores make them up! Pick up trash along the road, take up gardening, walk the streets triumphantly in joy while greeting fellow pedestrians as brothers and sisters, or whatever else strikes your fancy. Even ten minutes engaged in such activities each day will make you more productive, joyful, and grateful. This is especially the case when you find yourself overly “busy.”

2. Once again, work is intrinsically valuable. Every stick and log I use to keep me warm while writing, reading, or visiting with friends, in my “shack” has been painstakingly cut by your’s truly. This enables me to appreciate the warmth all the more. I find myself thankful for each stick of wood that ends its useful life in combustion. For years they had performed the admirable task of beautifying the neighborhood, helping to sustain the tree in which they were just a small part, and converting carbon dioxide into useful oxygen.

3. With today’s haul I’ve got a healthy head start on a wood supply for next winter. My one-room shack doesn’t require much to heat it, but if I wait until fall to prepare I’ll be overwhelmed. Laying up wood, gradually, provides me with the luxury of enjoying the process, often in increments of ten minutes or less.

4. A little at a time adds up to a whole lot in the end. Often my walks through the neighborhood find me returning home with a single branch (as small as 6 inches in length). Removing debris from the street is useful to others, and I benefit by gradually adding to the woodpile. Do this 100 times and you’ve got at least 100 individual pieces to feed to the fire. Generally these are cut into suitable lengths, so I realistically obtain 400 or more additional pieces of wood annually through the simple act of observing treasures that have fallen to the earth and gratefully dragging them home. This is the magic of compounding at work. Most people fail to grasp this, and walk by such small opportunities every day. Assuming you could care less about wood, insert whatever is applicable in your own life. Perhaps you want to write a book, but don’t have the time. 1,000 words each day, which isn’t much, could have you reaching your goal inside of two months. You would have wasted that time on social media anyway, so it costs you nothing. We can accomplish much by taking one bite at a time.

5. Chores outside enable us to become better connected to the natural world and with our community.

6. Chores help provide regularity, rhythm, and stability to our lives.

7. Chores make us feel good. Using our muscles in a useful activity is profoundly rewarding. It also promotes physical health, reduces obesity, etc.

8. Such work is a proven antidote to the physical degradation brought on by a sedentary existence.

9. It clears our minds, providing clarity. Requiring a short break to finish this list, I just returned from the back-and-forth motion of cutting eight small logs. I need regular moments of peace in the day like this. I possess all the genetic markers that resulted in my mom’s hoarding (discussed in my book). I clearly have a dose of OCD myself. Chores and hard work help me to focus, and turn what could be a major disability into an actual asset. I honestly believe this.

10. Manual labor reduces stress as our body releases endorphins.

Tales From the Pedaling Book Peddler, Part 2

One week ago I tore into my first box of books, and immediately began delivering them by bike to individual readers across the city and countryside. This here was one of my last deliveries that evening, after seven hours of haphazardly criss-crossing the area. I reached home just before it became too dark. Close call!

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In the picture above you can see Lake Superior in the distance, with many hills in between. I live down by the water. The expenditure of energy was exhausting, but thoroughly uplifting. In many cases I had the opportunity to visit with readers for a good half hour. Writing, as you can imagine, is solitary business. These one-on-one conversations are engaging and satisfying. The personal touch has generally compelled these readers to dive right into the book that very day, rather than tossing it uselessly onto a pile (WHICH WOULD BREAK MY HEART). Many have said they’ve stayed up all night to finish it, or have been otherwise useless in accomplishing anything but plowing through the story. Man that’s encouraging. It’s worth spending seven hours delivering 10 books, as I did that afternoon and evening.

The other striking feature has been the sheer diversity of people I’m coming into contact with. The man in the photo above manages large hotels, and wears a nice suit to work. The one below manages thousands of chickens, and wears knee-high rubber boots. This couple owns the Locally Laid Egg Company, and are endlessly fascinating to talk to. I guzzled a tall glass of water and greedily devoured an orange they offered me. The best treat, however, was delighting in the simple companionship of a couple I’ve grown to admire from afar over the years they’ve built their business.

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I found it ironic that Jason had brought home a chicken to eat from the store, one of those rotisseries you find for $6.99. Apparently they really love chickens and never tire of them! Begrudgingly, I left in a hurry while noticing it was getting late and needed to make two more deliveries outside of town.

I returned home, at dark, to these dishes!

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Oh my goodness was I exhausted! But it was worth it. The opportunity to work hard hustling the book like this was the climax of a process that has lasted years.

Part of the exhaustion was due to poor planning. It turns out that UPS and FED EX really must know what they’re doing when they map out their routes. Customers # 1 and 3 below are neighbors, literally next door to each other. I rushed out a copy to number 1 so she could take it with her on vacation, and backtracked several miles before delivering to number 3. Perhaps a GPS unit would help me to understand proximity better?

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It turned out perfectly, however. Matt, #3 below, was apparently even more starved for conversation than I was when I finally arrived. I appeared to arrive at the right time, and enjoyed listening to several rants and enjoyed seeing his maple syrup sugaring station he was attending to.

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Man, was he ever animated. Normally he’s a well-dressed guy with a fancypants corporate job where he needs to not look like a hillbilly. I sure enjoyed seeing the contrast, and made great hay out of it. When we finally got to the financial transaction part of the visit it turned out that he’d be a dollar short. At my suggestion, we enjoyed a beer together in lieu of the dollar. Then, he sent me on my way with a quart of his homemade lacto-fermented sauerkraut. I’m pretty sure I came out ahead on the deal!

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Every last one of the folks pictured above are people I am acquainted with, but for one reason or another have not spent as much time with as I’d like. Perhaps these short visits will create friendships and bonds that stand the test of time. This is yet another benefit to my delivery approach. I find that virtually any decision between a slower option and efficiency is an easy one to make. Efficiency comes with very few fringe benefits.

Of course, assuming you are in Dallas or Walla Walla, Washington, a quick download of my book for kindle that you’ll receive in less than a minute may help chart the course to a more joyful weekend. $5.99 is all it’ll cost you, and I guarantee you won’t be the same afterward. Otherwise the paperback is on sale at Amazon now for 17% off, and you will also find the audiobook to be entertaining. Listen to an audio sample from chapter 3 after clicking the link to the right of this page.

Below is a picture of my main delivery bike, a Trek 1200 that I’ve had for 25 years. It’s the very same bike referenced in chapter 12. While climbing a beast of a hill, the clip broke on one of the pedals. It was the first thing to break on it after a quarter century of use.

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Tales from the Pedaling Book Peddler, Part 1

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The weather was intensely RAW during my bike delivery today, like the emotions depicted in my book. I rode up the North Shore of Lake Superior, out of town, to deliver a single copy of the book to a former co-worker this morning. It was wet, 33 degrees, I rode straight into a 15 mph lake breeze, and it was awesome!

I am delivering signed copies of my book by bike throughout the city of Duluth. I just love the opportunity to connect with readers, community leaders, and humanity in general. So much of life finds me working alone at home, so I really look forward to these sorties into society.

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Robin, the one without plastic atop her noggin, was my 20th individual delivery since receiving my books five days ago. Additionally, she is the very first person I have connected with from my former workplace (where I was laid off, which ultimately made publishing this book possible). I found our short visit to be remarkably healing. I thrilled in the opportunity to connect with someone from whom I had previously been cut off in a swift, guillotine-like fashion (even though we weren’t particularly close as co-workers). Incidentally, far from being the linchpin that held the company together, the company’s stock has increased 50% since I was let go last summer! Ultimately we’re all expendable. Life goes on. Having someone from the old corporate world take an interest in my story is deeply MEANINGFUL. Individually delivering these books helps me to connect with supporters I didn’t even realize were there. Time on the bike provides ample space to think, gives the needed stress-relief of exercise, and allows a greater sense of connection with the world.

Slowly piercing into a strong headwind with nothing but my own legs to push me forward resembles the process of releasing a new book into the wider world. My story is competing with millions of books. The massive distance to be crossed in the marketing world is daunting, to say the least. I am heading into powerful headwinds that threaten to thwart my goal. Like riding into a strong wind on a bicycle, it’s best to just keep moving forward without paying attention to the full scope of the task at hand. Eventually we arrive if only we will keep on pedaling one stroke at a time.

Thank you for all your support, friends. I’m pleased to announce that The Emancipation of a Buried Man is now available in all three formats: paperback, kindle ebook, and as an audiobook. Click the link on the right for an opportunity to listen to an audio sample.