March, 2009 Archives

Preface to “Spiritual Wanderer”

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March 31st, 2009

By David Crumm, Editor of ReadTheSpirit Truth be told? This new guy makes me nervous. That’s the thing I love about his memoirs: I don’t know where he’s taking us, and that’s the richest kind of spiritual adventure. That’s why I’m so proud to introduce the Spiritual Wanderer to you: This guy definitely is not […]

Wanderer_cover for posting By David Crumm, Editor of ReadTheSpirit

Truth be told? This new guy makes me nervous.
That’s the thing I love about his memoirs: I don’t know where he’s taking us, and that’s the richest kind of spiritual adventure.
That’s why I’m so proud to introduce the Spiritual Wanderer to you: This guy definitely is not another warmed-over bowl of “Chicken Soup.” Oh, rest assured, your soul will thrive as you follow the twists and turns of Rodney’s travels – but he’s not promising chicken soup in every pot.

One early reader of his manuscript called him “a male Anne Lamott,” but that description also doesn’t fully capture his charm — or his range.
This may seem like a foolish time to join the already jam-packed crowd of spiritual writers offering a new book. But you’ll find that Rodney Curtis (a.k.a. the Spiritual Wanderer) is a brave young voice. He may occasionally jolt you as he cuts to the core of our everyday lives. First and foremost, though, he’s a good and honest friend you’ll want to invite along in your own spiritual journeys. At times, you’ll want to throw your arms around him and give him a great, big hug! But he’s also honest – so you’re in for some surprises.
Rodney Curtis    Sometimes, he’s so relentlessly honest that you’ll begin to chuckle along with him at the pure pitch of the truth that he’s sharing. At one point, we actually thought about marketing his new book as “The First Inspirational Book to Come in a Plain Brown Bag” – a joke you’ll understand when you eventually read Chapter 7.
And yes, that Chapter 7, officially titled “Dog Duty,” is one of two sample chapters you can read on the Wanderer’s new Web page. Save that sample for last as you explore his new Web site — and I’ll warn you, don’t read it while holding a hot beverage. We’ve road tested that chapter with readers in the U.S. and the U.K. and it never fails to draw at least a grin and often a full-scale guffaw.

curtis-sevilla   You’ll want to get to know Rodney step by step. What Rodney, Anne Lamott and other memoirists all understand is that the three most urgent spiritual questions of our era aren’t cosmic conundrums about theology. They’re these: Why should I climb out of bed in the morning? How can I make it through another stressful day? And, ultimately, has anything in my life really mattered?
No kidding. These are our echoes of the timeless spiritual questions: Why are we here? How shall we live? And, is there enduring resonance of good and evil in the universe?
Rodney knows – we all know – that we’re pondering those questions all the time. And, when the Spiritual Wanderer wrestles with those questions, he’s not posing as a Zen master on a remote hilltop or a Trappist locked away in a medieval abbey. He’s a guy like you and me.
In the end, that’s why his story can’t be “Chicken Soup.” None of us live in the soup bowl, where every hurt is healed and every question is answered by the turn of the next page. In life, we’re often standing like the Wanderer, staring up at a streetlight that just blinked on at dusk, wondering if that might be the next light to guide us another step along the way.
Oh — and his chapter about streetlights? Yes, that’s the other sample chapter you can read on his new site. It’s called “Father Figuratively.”

PLEASE, Tell Us What You Think.

Not only do we welcome your notes, ideas, suggestions and personal
reflections—but our readers enjoy them as well. You can do this
anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
You also can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm. We’re also reachable on Facebook, Digg, Amazon, GoodReads and some of
the other social-networking sites as well, if you’re part of those
groups.
  (Originally published at http://www.ReadTheSpirit.com/)

What People Are Saying

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March 31st, 2009

Before we unleashed the Spiritual Wanderer on an unsuspecting population, we road tested his dozens of personal stories on an international array of readers. No, we are not kidding about that. We still can hear the warm peals of laughter echoing though the cloisters of historic Iona Abbey, always followed by a loud, “Hey, you’ve […]

Before we unleashed the Spiritual Wanderer on an unsuspecting population, we road tested his dozens of personal stories on an international array of readers. No, we are not kidding about that. We still can hear the warm peals of laughter echoing though the cloisters of historic Iona Abbey, always followed by a loud, “Hey, you’ve got to read this fellow …”

 

THANKS FOR SPREADING THE WORD …

Time-logo Thanks to TIME Magazine’s Detroit-themed blog for calling attention to Rodney’s Web site. Writer Karen Dybis added kind words about Rodney’s wit and wisdom concerning his second newspaper layoff in a row. She wrote: “Old pal Rodney Curtis has a great blog/site about his adventures in unemployment and at the Detroit Daily Press, which shut down last week for retooling.”

Good Books in Bad Times Logo

THANK YOU to HarperOne’s innovative new Web site: “Good Books in Bad Timesfor including “Spiritual Wanderer” in your showcase of books that will lift your spirits. This fairly new Web site is designed to link online sites with a similar uplifting mission — and to share occasional short recommendations on books. Thanks to the “Good Books” crew for welcoming the Wanderer!

National Press Photographer logo
FROM IMAGES TO WORDS —
Rodney Curtis is actually a longtime photographer and photo editor — and he’s a member of the National Press Photographers Association. The NPPA’s Web site published a story about Rodney’s professional “cross over” into this new realm of media. This venerable organization dates back many decades and the logo we’ve included here is actually from a 1946 issue of the group’s professional magazine.

NealRubinAND Special thanks to our first test reader, Neal Rubin, the longtime columnist for the Detroit News, who allowed us to quote him on the book’s back cover: “Rodney Curtis can find wonder in a 3/8-inch socket and laughter in just about anything. He’s a treasure—and so is his book.”

    We also want to thank other writers who are noting the Wanderer’s debut.

    ALL of us behind “Spiritual Wanderer” think that Rodney Curtis’ prose is pure poetry — but, to be honest, Rodney doesn’t really write “verse.” Nevertheless, his book popped up as a recommended title on The Poetry Connection.

THE GLOBAL ROAD TEST …

Spiritual Wanderer Rodney Curtis luggage tag 4
    Among the many places the Spiritual Wanderer’s manuscript has traveled are Asia, Italy and the UK. That’s appropriate because the book itself logs a whole lot of miles. The Wanderer takes us all the way back in time to childhood. He takes us into outer space as well as inner space. And his memoir includes stories from pilgrimages he has made to a number of different countries.
    So, we thought it was entirely appropriate to road test his chapters on readers in some widely divergent settings.
    In Taiwan, a tour guide and translator read several chapters while relaxing in a brightly lit Dunkin Donuts near an ancient Buddhist temple. Nodding as she read, she finally placed a finger in the manuscript and asked: “And, this is a real man writing this?”
    When assured that the Wanderer is a real person and his stories are mostly sincere reflections of his real life, the translator said, “Hmmm, because he has most unusual ways of thinking about life for an American. Are you certain that he is a real person? I would like to meet this man, if he does exist.”

    Well, now that is possible through this web site and through actually buying and reading his book.

    In the UK, the book became part of a pilgimage to centuries-old Iona Abbey on a remote island in the Atlantic Ocean off Scotland. One night in a shadowy old parlor lit mainly by a roaring fire, pilgrims from several lands began passing around the chapter known as “Dog Duty.”
    The laughter may still be echoing among the granite and limestone cloisters.

    Good stories truly can be global.

Meet the Wanderer via video …

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March 31st, 2009

For Rodney Curtis, visual images and spiritual reflection go together like … like … well, like the ideas in these four videos. Go on, click on ‘em and see for yourself. (If you’ve got a slower Internet connection, you might have to wait a moment.)

For Rodney Curtis, visual images and spiritual reflection go together like … like … well, like the ideas in these four videos. Go on, click on ‘em and see for yourself. (If you’ve got a slower Internet connection, you might have to wait a moment.)