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L.M. Browning

Founder of Homebound Publications, TEDx Speaker, award-winning author of twelve books.

Les (L.M.) Browning (they/them) is a bestselling poet whose hybrid of introspective travel writing and visual art focuses on the alchemizing of trauma through active awe-seeking and a re-wilding of one’s life and self.

Over the last ten years, Les founded Homebound Publications, Wayfarer Books, and The Wayfarer Magazine. Their own published works have received five Pushcart Prize nominations, two Foreword Review Book Awards, and the Nautilus Gold Medal for Poetry.

Since the release of their micro-memoir, To Lose the Madness: Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity, and the subsequent TEDx Talk at Yale based on the book, Browning has worked tirelessly as a Mental Health Advocate and publicly shares their own struggle with c-ptsd as a means to help lift the stigma of mental illness through storytelling.

Recently Browning accepted a position on CT-nami’s Lived Experience Committee and received national certification as a Survivor of Suicide Attempt (SOSA), Group Peer Facilitator through the Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services Foundation in Los Angeles. They are a graduate of the University of London and Harvard University.

Les is currently posted up at Wayfarer Farm in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts, where they are solo homesteading 15 acres of raw land in their own modern Walden.

Now available

Drive Through the Night: Poetic Field Notes on Taming, Reclaiming & Becoming Wild

Featuring 100 Original Black & White Photos from the Road

Case Laminate Hardcover | 6 x 9 | 160 pp | List Price: $30.00 

Trade Paperback | Size: 6 x 9 | Length: 160 pp | List Price: $17.95

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Available in Paperback, Hardcover & eBook.
*Receive 20% off when you purchase in our store
+ Free shipping on orders over $40.00 with coupon code: INDIESTRONG

Following the release of their micro-memoir, To Lose the Madness, and the TEDx Talk at Yale University based on their life, Browning returns from a six-year poetic silence with, Drive through the Night.  

The map of these poems traces the poet’s journey of overcoming and re-becoming while set against the iconic backdrop of the American Southwest.

In Drive Through the Night, we follow the trail of an orphan-turned-vagabond who left behind the white picket fence for the open range and open road.

Praise for Drive Through the Night

“Visually spectacular. a gorgeous ode to self-discovery and healing,”

Publisher’s Weekly

“a quiet yet fierce rebirth of the wounded spirit.”

—James Crews, Poet and Editor of The Path to Kindness: Poems of Connection & Joy

“Exquisitely delicate and lyrical…their magnum opus.”

—Caitlin Garvey, author of The Mourning Report

“breathtaking vulnerability.”

­—Will Falk, author of How Dams Fall

Browning uses poetry and photography to detail their evolution from a socialized prisoner of expectations to a reclaimed, authentic self.”

Foreword Review

bestselling

To Lose the Madness: Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity 

Size: 4 x 6 | Length: 80pgs | List Price: 12.95

Series: Little Bound Books Essay Series

Finalist 2019 Foreword Review Book Awards

Winner Bronze Medal 2019 Foreword Review Book Awards

Featured in the TEDx Talk “Writing on Life” at TEDx Yale 2018

 

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Available in Paperback, ebook, digital audio edition and CD.
*Receive 20% off when you purchase in our store
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In early 2018, following the release of To Lose the Madness and the TEDx Talk she presented at Yale University’s TEDx Conference based on her own journey with successive trauma and search for transcendence, Browning founded the Radical Authenticity. Community  website, a community of storytellers who, by sharing our own journey with emotional struggle, help to normalize mental illness and dispel the stigma surrounding it. 

About

the book

In this career-defining work, Browning explores the breaking point every mind has after finding her own limit during a gauntlet of traumatic events. Pulled out of this blast-crater moment in her life by a friend, she is brought away from the insanity and deep into the snowy Sangre de Cristo Mountains where, standing in front of a herd of wild buffalo, she comes face to face with the terms we all must come to surrounding the loss we face in this life. Offering no answers and seeking no pity, Browning lays herself bare in this radically authentic offering. She carries restricted subjects such as miscarriage, mental illness, and suicide out of the silence by offering her own private journey as an example of the power of transcendence.

“In this spellbinding book, poet and novelist Browning spares no detail in telling the story of her descent into profound grief as one loss piled upon another. Though small, this effective and plainspoken memoir is densely packed with tales of harrowing experiences that require emotional, intellectual, and spiritual investments on the part of the reader. Browning’s journey of recovery will be of help to anyone looking for courage in difficult times.” 

Publishers Weekly

“Browning’s essay explores the confluence of natural and interior landscapes in a manner both beautiful and searing.” 

Foreword Review, {5 Stars}

“Impressively candid and articulate, extraordinarily honest and insightful, exceptionally well written, organized and presented, To Lose the Madness is an inherently compelling read from cover to cover. Thoughtful and thought-provoking from first page to last,” 

Midwest Book Review, *Reviewer’s Choice

“A laconic, beautiful, and deeply insightful account about coping with loss.”

Kirkus Reviews

Read the first pages

Chapter 1

 

“The world that used to nurse us
now keeps shouting inane instructions.
That’s why I ran to the woods.”
–Jim Harrison, Songs of Unreason

Cimarron Valley , New Mexico

The stark golden prairie stretched out to the base of the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Among the overgrown grasses, dry wooden fences rose. The posts were strung together by braided barbed wire that carried from one pole to the next. Just beyond the wire, we saw them—hulking, horned, billowing heavy breaths through their wide nostrils into the chilled December air.
It was the day after Christmas. We traveled down u.s. Route 64, en route to Taos. We were just outside of Cimarron Valley in northern New Mexico when they came into sight.

“Buffalo!” exclaimed Mallory and I simultaneously in the otherwise quiet car. A herd of brown, thick-coated bison flew by the drivers-side window. Mallory quickly pulled a U-turn on the deserted country road. We got out of the car and slowly approached them.

In the language of the Lakhóta, the name for the buffalo is thathánka. The buffalo was held in sacred regard by the tribe. The great animal gave everything it had to the people—its flesh for food, its hide for shelter and clothing, its bone and sinew for everything from needles to tools. The buffalo stands as a symbol of self-sacrifice—it gives until there is nothing left—and in doing so makes life possible for the people.

As I stood there—my creased leather boots breaking through the stiff, frosty grass—I looked dark eye to dark eye—a single female buffalo moved out of the herd and began walking toward me. I was reminded of a painting I saw as a child by Robert Bateman of a buffalo emerging from behind a veil of thick mist. I was transfixed. Here I was broken—a shadow of myself—and she a wild thing, untamed, and strength untold. Some otherworldly grace encircled us. In the space between us, we spoke of the ineffable things—of what it is to sacrifice all of one’s self, of grief, and gratitude—and of the terms every living thing must come to . . . .

“Browning brings us inside the disoriented unfolding of a life taking new shape after trauma. This is not a ‘tie a neat bow around it’ trauma and recovery story with a too-simple happy ending, but a messy, honest look at a life that will never be the same.”

–Narratively

"This is a road trip with a friend, one who’s been there, and who knows the only way home is through.”

James Scott Smith, author of Water, Rocks and Trees

“While her journey is unique, it reveals the universality of brokenness and the yearning for connection. I’m grateful for Browning’s willingness to explore her own suffering—and transcendence—so honestly and poetically; the resulting generous, sage essay is a guide for everyone.”

Iris Graville, author of Hiking Naked

latest novel

The Castoff Children 

Trade Paperback | Size: 5.5 x 8.5 | Length: 380pgs | List Price: 18.95

Finalist 2017 New England Book Festival

“The Castoff Children is a lovely story of hope and the power of dreams and friendship….”

—Tomm Moore, Writer and Director of the Academy Award nominated films The Secret of Kells and Song of the Sea

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Available in Paperback & ebook.
*Receive 20% off when you purchase in our store
+ Free shipping on orders over $40.00 with coupon code: INDIESTRONG

About

the book

IThe year is 1850. The Revolutionary War has long since come to an end and the industrial revolution is beginning to build steam, overturning the old ways of home and hearth as it gains momentum. In a desperate hour, in the back alleys of Boston, a group of twelve castoff children come together to care for each other. Plagued by the unanswered questions surrounding their past and grief for loved ones lost, the children attempt to come to terms with the bitter truths that have defined their life thus far. Feeling forsaken, faced with prejudice, hostile gangs and in the hardest winter on record, the children find themselves on the ragged edge. Until a series of mysterious events begin taking place, making them feel that they are not as alone and helpless as they might have thought.

In her book, The Castoff Children, L.M. Browning has caught a poignant time in the 1800’s in New England when hardship and hard work were the common lot of many people and when children were abandoned to fend for themselves due to poverty and the inability of parents to care for them. Her characters are engaging, and her story tells of courage, of vision, of compassion and loyalty. This book will inspire many a reader to value what is lasting and dear in a life lived with enduring values.

—Gunilla Norris, award-winning authors of Simple Ways, Becoming Bread, and Sheltered in the Heart

 

“Browning takes us into a Dickensian world of children whose blood bond with family has been broken by the cruel circumstances of late 19th-century life. They are left to scrounge the alleyways of Boston in search of simple human warmth as much as food and shelter. The resourceful band of eleven waifs finds the help they need in a man who has lost his own family. But their journey for survival has just begun, and it leads them to a place far off from where they began. The Castoff Children  is a timely reminder of all those who have been abandoned early in life, in today’s world as well as in the past.

—George Harrar, author of Reunion at Red Paint Bay

“The Castoff Children takes you back to the wintry streets of 1850s Boston where orphaned children struggle for survival, and into the deepest depths of the human heart.”

—Eric D. Lehman, author of Shadows of Paris