Book Review: A Field Guide to Now

photo copyright Christina Rosalie 2012

Do you ever stop to wonder how you became connected with someone online? Can you trace back to the exact moment your spark lit, who made it possible, and how you wandered into the same bit of online space? For me, I can remember the exact moment — the connecting force — that brought me to people I now hold as dear friends. For some of the them. But for others, it seems as though they have always been there, that I cannot remember a time online when I wasn’t reading their blogs, or watching them on twitter, or connecting via instagram. We were always connected. We maybe didn’t know it yet.

As I’ve been reading A Field Guide to Now by Christina Rosalie, I have this “always connected” feeling. I’ve tried, for days, to trace back how I stumbled into her plot of online land, how I began reading her blog, but I don’t know. She has just been here, always. Though we’ve not met in person (yet!), I find comfort in her words, in her telling of life. I remember when this book was just a zygote, as she was headed back to school and feeling the unearthly compulsion to write, every day, without fail. (I say this as I, too, suffer from this compulsion. Do you?) I followed with (and contributed to) her successful Kickstarter campaign, and could not wait to read more of her words in this gorgeous book.

And yet, A Field Guide to Now is so much more than just her story. It truly is a field guide, complete with notes and actions for you to endeavor as you read. Illustrated by Christina’s own mixed-media work, including repurposed postcards her father collected in the 1960s, and filled with the true story of one woman’s journey, this book is a pause in the swiftly-shifting seasons of our lives.

“To begin, to be in the mess, to be right here.”
– Christina Rosalie

my favorite image from the book, page 87

This truthful, raw, and beautiful story of her journey — as an artist, a mother, a teacher, a writer, a woman — this book is written for each of us who live and breathe. It is written to remind us that we are not alone, amongst the dirty laundry and the confounding partners and the children who ask us ever-deepening questions of “why?” It is written to navigate five minutes of solitude — in the bathroom, on the bus, in the checkout at the market. Each section is brief, filled with truth and images and an invitation — a something you can do to come back into now. I have been carrying this book in my purse for days. I read it as my partner and I took two young boys to the cinema. And in those moments, flipping pages and inhaling possibility, I was more present than I had been in weeks.

And that presence lingered. Through fast food and action movies, tiny boys squirming in my lap, spilled popcorn and sticky lemonade hands — I was simply there.

If reading this book for ten minutes can inspire this kind of awareness in me, I am eager to discover what other treasures are hidden in the pages.

What helps you become present to the now?

Want to know more about Christina and her process? Check out the interview I did with her at A Forest of Stories!

4 thoughts on “Book Review: A Field Guide to Now

  1. I ordered my copy on Thursday…it arrived on Friday…the universe was answering my call! I read it last night over cups of tea and was enraptured. I’m recommending Christina and her book to everyone I know…

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