My Interview with Daisy Hickman
Please welcome DAISY HICKMAN, author of ALWAYS RETURNING: THE WISDOM OF PLACE.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your current book.
I’m an author who also writes poetry. And I’m the 2010 founder of SunnyRoomStudio: a creative, sunny space for kindred spirits. It’s an author blog, and I host Studio Guests. It’s also a good place to visit for author updates. I just released Always Returning: The Wisdom of Place – the 15th Anniversary Edition of my first book. Basically, the book is a close-up of my prairie roots and the spirituality of place and people. By exploring, on a deep and profound level, what has always inspired and challenged me, I was able to unearth the wisdom of place.
Do you have an agent and/or publisher, or are you self-published?
The second edition is published by Capturing Morning Press, which is my imprint.
You say in the Preface to Always Returning: The Wisdom of Place that the key point is that “we need something (time and time again) to draw us inward. A place or a situation, an event or a message; a piece of art, a book, a poem, a song, a melody. An intuitive knowing. An open landscape that silently tugs at the senses—at the soul.” Can you talk a little more about this, particularly the process of drawing inward and what that does for us as people and spiritual beings?
Yes, that is one of my favorite quotes from the new preface, Matt. From my perspective, drawing inward is critical to our well-being and spiritual realization. If we are constantly living on the surface of life, distracted by every noise, every news bulletin, we will never find our spiritual center.
You had very powerful responses to Where the Heart Resides. What do you think accounts for this powerful chord you’ve struck among so many of your readers?
I did have some lovely letters from readers after the first edition was published. I’m not sure what to attribute it to, but many seemed to appreciate a book, an informal life philosophy, that had a positive focus … something that seemed true and attainable.
You’ve said that “there is something inherently awkward about promoting one’s book.” Why is that?
Yes, it is inherently awkward to promote one’s own book. I’m a quiet, contemplative writer, content to let words on the page speak for me. I don’t crave the spotlight, and I think many authors share this sentiment. After all, if we wanted public visibility, we might have chosen a different line of work, such as, acting or politics.
You write in the Preface to Always Returning that there are numerous valid and important reasons to write a book. What are some of those reasons behind Always Returning?
I do believe there are numerous valid and important reasons to write a book. Literary prowess is only one of many. So if you want to share something creative with the world … that is reason enough. It really doesn’t matter what the reviewers and critics come up with. Many people won’t “get” your book, but in the end, who cares? If you believe in your work, keep writing.
You’ve written that, “Never, are we completely wise; rather we’re in the process of becoming wise—wiser, perhaps.” How do we do this? How do we become wiser?
Wisdom doesn’t arrive once and for all. It’s a process, one of deepening awareness and insight. One of growth and refinement, as we cope with life experiences of all kinds. One day, we may have things figured out, but feel lost and uncertain, the next. That’s normal. “Never are we completely wise; rather, we’re in the process of becoming wise—wiser, perhaps.” I think we do this by committing to a spiritual path: reading, stretching our comfort zones, trying to live from a higher dimension, avoiding the continual pull of mind polarities. Peace, and wisdom, come from moving beyond the constant ping pong game in the brain. The friction of the world doesn’t have to dominate our existence. We can choose a more enlightened path, time and time again.
What is the some of the timeless wisdom of the prairie that you talk about?
A timeless wisdom is an idea or an orientation that resonates no matter the year, the country, the situation. Growing up with a vast sky and landscape, I felt wisdom all around me. And I decided to tune in, instead of ignoring it, because there was something about my surroundings that pulled me inward. That encouraged me to dig deeper to unearth lasting insights. How can one look at the beauty of nature and not be compelled to return to the words of Whitman and Thoreau? My book has 20 chapters, each one focusing on a different element of a life wisdom that can guide us back to our hearts.
Is this book for people who don’t necessarily live in South Dakota?
Actually, this book is for anyone, anywhere. We all have “surroundings” of some kind; and by learning how to look deeply into them, a kind of inner knowing can be discovered. We can encounter the “wisdom of place.” And we can come to realize that we don’t need to move anywhere to explore the mysteries and depth of life.
Can you tell us a little about the book you’re working on?
I’m working on a poetry collection called Meditation in Blue and on a memoir that is about the spiritual landscape of loss. I lost my son at 27, some seven years ago now, and I’ve been working on the memoir for at least six of those years. It’s getting close, so maybe I will decide to publish it next year. We’ll see. It’s a challenging project, and I want it to truly offer something of value to readers. There are plenty of books out there on grief and loss, so I want to share some of the deeper truths about death, spiritual transcendence, and the long-term reality of such a powerful experience. I don’t think the human mind can ever really comprehend loss; this only happens on a spiritual level.
Please share your social media links with us, including where the book(s) may be purchased.
On Twitter, look for @dhsunwriter, and you can find me on Facebook via my SunnyRoomStudio page. If you subscribe to my blog, you’ll receive automatic updates. Always Returning was released on Amazon in paperback on October 14, 2014; it will also be available in eBook formats by the end of October on Amazon and via many other online booksellers. Bookstores can order copies directly from IngramSpark.
Thank you DAISY HICKMAN for sharing your time with us. I wish you all the best with your writing. Please keep us posted on the latest developments.
Thank you, Matt, for this opportunity to share more about my work on your blog. We are all working on important projects, so I appreciate your time and interest a great deal.
From the close of the new preface to Always Returning: The Wisdom of Place:
We need abundant reminders of what we know deep within, and sometimes we need to stare down the obvious without flinching, without making life more complicated than necessary. Our minds (as influenced by people, environment, history, ego, memories, society and culture) seem to want many things (some useful, some not remotely so), but it has been my experience that our souls benefit most from the simple sustaining aspects of life that nurture our spiritual dimension.
So now, because of grace and perseverance and love, we return to the timeless wisdom of the prairie. A life wisdom, actually. Symbolic of the space within, the vast and glorious landscape of home first taught me about my physical roots, then about my spiritual roots. One led to the other as though ordained, and I’m extremely grateful that I happened to notice. Please keep noticing, deeply so, your life – the one within. It is your place, no matter where you reside. ~