A Q&A with L.M. Browning About Her Upcoming Release Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity
In the introduction, you write that you originally intended to frame Fleeting Moments as a travel journal only you didn’t feel as though you had the authority to do so. Could you expand on this?
In recent years I have done some traveling through New England and along the east coast atop my travels across the inner-landscapes. One of my closest companions during my road trips is my journal. I had accumulated several pages of travel writing and I wanted to put together a book. That said, when I compared my travel-log to those journeyers such as Kerouac, Jon Krakauer or Liz Gilbert, it seemed absurdly limited. I didn’t have the power to take my readers to a far-off shore, no more than I had the means to take myself there; however, I could share the reflections had during my explorations of my homelands of New England and of my own soul, and impart the small insights I have gathered along the way.
You say you didn’t have the means to bring yourself to far-off shores. Overcoming poverty seems to be a thread that runs throughout the book. You speak of the difficult financial circumstances you were raised under; stressing that we mustn’t let our bank statement restrict our inner-growth. Could you tell us why you chose to include these very personal experiences in the collection?
We all have been hard hit during this recession. We have to work more just to maintain the bare minimum we require. The more people I speak with the more I realize that the majority of us are forced to neglect the well-being of our soul just to see to the survival of our body; in effect, forsaking a life just to keep ourselves alive.
Being raised in a low-income household, I had to find ways of nurturing the soul with little cost to my wallet. My experiences with this seemed worth imparting, given the economic situation we currently find ourselves in.
Fleeting Moments reflects on using travel hand in hand with introspection to find ourselves. Of course, this is not a new concept; what fresh insight do you feel you bring to this subject?
I speak of travel’s place in our process of self-definition, adding that we need not travel to the ends of the earth to find ourselves, only the edges of our self. We seem to inherently link traveling/adventures to finding ourselves. Society seems to have subconsciously adopted this notion that in leaving behind all that we have ever known, we will find ourselves—that there, at the ends of the earth, each of us can define the edges of ourself. I think this is an unrealistic ideal.
Our imagination is sparked by those travelers who set off with reckless abandon. Yet for so many of us there is a reality gap between the life of those we follow on the page and the life we ourselves must lead. The 9-5 job hardly supports our basic survival let alone the heights of our dreams. We work from the time we rise to the time we go to sleep just to support the basic needs of our body, all the while having to neglect the needs of our soul.
I had to “find myself” a little closer to home and find the sacredness in what surrounds me—what might otherwise be regarded as ordinary. Fleeting Moments of Fierce Clarity is a collection of moments I have experienced where I found insight or peace or truth or growth.
Some of the entries weren’t written while traveling; rather, they were written while you were in your home along the Connecticut coast. These entries have a more contemplative tone compared to those entries written while you were on the road. Why did you choose to include these entries?
Travel comes in all forms. We don’t have to leave our home or even be physically moving to travel. Across the inner-landscape we journey untold distances. Explorations of the mind, the soul, and the heart—these journeys are just as real as any made on foot. At times, a journey moves beyond the measure of miles crossed. I chose to include my inner-journeys as well as those physically made because both come together to create the larger journey I have made.
What is your favorite journal entry in the collection and why?
It is difficult to choose just one. They are all precious to me for different reasons. If I had to narrow down my favorites they would probably be: Luminaria, Blue Mornings on the Concord River, and The Far Side of Walden.
Blue Mornings and The Far Side of Walden were written during a pilgrimage I took to Concord in the autumn of 2011. How can a writer/poet go to Concord—the home of Thoreau, Alcott, Emerson, Fuller, and Hawthorne, not find inspiration?
What messages to do you hope the reader will glean from the book?
Like every book, Fleeting Moments is multi-layered. That said, I hope, when the reader turns the last page, the book will have yielded more than one truth.
I suppose, I hope this book highlights the dearness of what is seemingly mundane. We tend to belittle what we experience daily; deep down I believe many of us regard our local community as less when compared to the distant wonders of which we have only ever read. When, in reality, the things we have gathered around us—our family, our home, our native state—can hold much more meaning for our life and sway over our soul than foreign lands.
A renewed appreciation for the beauty and dearness of what surrounds us—that is what I hope the reader gleans from the book. As I said in the book, “Finding the dearness in what is otherwise regarded as mundane—this is true insight.”
Journal of a New England Poet
by L.M. Browning
ISBN 978-1-938846-01-4 | 6 x 9 | 126 Pgs
List Price: $14.95 pbk (Signed edition)
This title will be released on October 28, 2012
Fleeting moments of fierce clarity are had when the confusion clears and the gray numbness that hangs about our senses draws back allowing us to see the world and ourselves with sharp relief.
Follow author and New England native L.M. Browning in her wanderings across the Northeast, from the solitude of her home along the shore of Connecticut, to the rushing city streets of Boston, to the tall-pine landscape of Arcadia Park in Rhode Island to the quiet edges of Walden Pond.