love stories

August 22nd, 2011

I have two books and one story to give away this week. Like all stories, they are love stories.

A few weeks ago I answered an invitation to read and review this acclaimed new book, To Be Sung Underwater by Tom McNeal. Why am I suddenly saying yes to reviewing books? Perhaps because it’s summer; perhaps to avoid my own writing. That’s okay. When it’s time to take your time, a book is as good as a day on the lake. Here the author dips into a favorite well of mine: how we tell old stories to ourselves; how we salvage, refinish, embroider, store, and vainly, always vainly, try to relive the past. The book has a vintage feel to it, like its solid hardcover heft. The characters are old-school and middle-aged; they can ring false to one another and sometimes to the reader as well. But there is a beating heart here that is pure, placid and wide. It is romance: the romance we can only lose, since romance is by definition long gone. And then when I read that the author was 63 years old, with 12 years between his first novel and this, his second, and that he builds homes for a living, and has an orange grove on his California homestead, well, I loved all that even more than the fiction. You know I have a thing about orange trees: they hold the fruit for a long time before they let it go. McNeal clearly knows how to take his time and he knows how to spend it. I’ll gladly send this one to you so you can love time all by yourself.

The publisher sent me a crisp new copy of that book with a chapter of mine in it, Right Here With You: Bringing Mindful Awareness into Our Relationships. It’s got all the Buddhist regulars in it, and a few of us irregulars, and I’m sure it’s good because the Dharma is always good. I haven’t read it because I don’t read the kind of books that have me in them, but be sure to ask if it’s right for you now.

And finally, I’ll send you a second time to the online excerpt from my most recent magazine article, “Waking up Alone,” in the current issue of the Shambhala Sun. The issue focuses on the wisdom of love, and my article is about how we never know what love is until the love story ends.

Leave a comment on this post with the name of either or both books, if you want them. I’ll choose a winner next Monday.

Less than three weeks til The Art of Mindfulness in Houston.

Subscribe to my newsletter β€’ Come to a retreat β€’ Fan me β€’ Follow me.



  1. Love your writing…Mama Zen helped to lift me out of my PPA/PPD battle with its brutal honesty…and Hand Wash Cold helped to keep in the fresh clean light of day…would love to read Right Here With You…

    Comment by Martha — August 22, 2011 @ 3:23 pm

  2. I take any and all! I must get the issue of Shambala Sun to read your article. I knew I loved my husband, but didn’t really know how much until he was gone. … as a companion, as a lover, as a friend … I hope I let him know, while he was here with me, just how much I valued him.

    Comment by Snap — August 22, 2011 @ 3:35 pm

  3. I’d love to be on the list to possibly win your copy of To Be Sung Underwater. Thank you!

    Comment by Kathleen — August 22, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  4. Those both sound lovely πŸ™‚

    Comment by Barbara — August 22, 2011 @ 3:47 pm

  5. I’d love a copy of ‘Right here with you’

    Thank you : )

    Comment by kazari — August 22, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

  6. “Right Here With You” sounds like it “could” be so helpful to me and my partner right now. Thank you.

    Comment by Amanda — August 22, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

  7. Both of these books sound enticing. I’d love a copy of either one.

    Comment by Kathryn — August 22, 2011 @ 4:27 pm

  8. Karen, I’d love either of these books. I’m joining you Sept 10 here in Houston and have been looking forward to it!

    Comment by Naomi — August 22, 2011 @ 6:05 pm

  9. They both sound like a great books, I would love to read either one. Thank you for the chance, Karen! Wishing you a wonderful week.

    Comment by Gabi — August 22, 2011 @ 7:53 pm

  10. I’m interested in reading Right Here With You. I actually just picked up that issue of Shambala Sun because of your name on the cover but not ready to read the article because my relationship is having bumps and I’m not sure if we are ending or not.

    Comment by Dona — August 22, 2011 @ 7:59 pm

  11. Right Here With You would be my choice too. It’s sort of funny to think that I have given so little of my contemplative reflection time to considering the nuances of my marriage. Oh yes I consider it a lot when things aren’t running smoothly, but viewing it from a Buddhist perspective is something I have yet to do!

    Comment by Edith — August 23, 2011 @ 12:16 am

  12. I would love to read To Be Sung Underwater. I am dealing with empty nest feelings and trying to keep my thoughts above water! I just sent my youngest daughter off to college – I am so excited for her! Thank you for your offer.

    Comment by Jeanne — August 23, 2011 @ 2:18 am

  13. Both sound like good reads! Thanks

    Comment by rene — August 23, 2011 @ 2:49 am

  14. Maezen, would love a copy of either one, but wonder if a reading a book for the sake of enjoyment is what I need more, so “To Be Sung UnderWater” , might be a better choice for me! Literally counting the days until you’re here! Will pick up the Shamabala Sun at Whole Foods on the way home tonight.


    Comment by Debra — August 23, 2011 @ 4:26 am

  15. Would love to read them.

    Comment by Mary Ann — August 23, 2011 @ 6:02 am

  16. @Debra: I’m all for enjoyment with books, too. @Naomi: Houston, straight ahead. Let’s put together a real “Texas Miracle.”

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — August 23, 2011 @ 6:10 am

  17. would love to read either and then pass them along to be read and read again.

    Comment by Meg Casey — August 23, 2011 @ 6:19 am

  18. Would love to read them – I keep extra copies of “Hand Wash Cold” to give to people I love.

    Comment by tami — August 23, 2011 @ 6:26 am

  19. I’m on page 150 of To Be Sung Underwater and it was a friend’s copy that she had checked out of the library. I had to return it because it was really overdue and I couldn’t mess up her library account any more. So I’m stuck on page 150 until I can get my own copy….you see my problem? πŸ™‚

    Comment by phyllis — August 23, 2011 @ 6:28 am

  20. @Phyllis – I can see your problem underwater! And it’s definitely a book to spend a good 400 pages with! Perhaps the rabbi should pray . . . πŸ™‚

    Comment by Karen Maezen Miller — August 23, 2011 @ 6:30 am

  21. I’d love to have a copy of the book with your essay in it…as someone who wants to maintain a sense of mindfulness in a fledgling marriage (having already learned a lot from my mistakes the first go-around), I’ll take all the reminders I can get my hands on. πŸ™‚ As always, thank you for all your wonderful writing!

    Comment by Amy — August 23, 2011 @ 6:32 am

  22. “to be sung underwater” sounds just like the escape i need from unpacking all my worldly possessions after a move across the country. thanks for the give-away!

    Comment by jessy — August 23, 2011 @ 7:02 am

  23. Right Here With You sounds wonderful and just what is needed.

    Comment by Nichole Churchill — August 23, 2011 @ 7:03 am

  24. I would love to read them both – thanks for the giveaway! I also read Roos’s 35 < 35 submission this morning. Thank you for writing about her and her story earlier this year. I have followed her ever since, and I am gripped by the rawness of her posts and have really enjoyed reading about her personal journey.

    Comment by Tiffany — August 23, 2011 @ 7:46 am

  25. I would love to have a copy of RIGHT HERE WITH YOU.

    Thanks for the opportunity

    Comment by Stacey — August 23, 2011 @ 7:50 am

  26. Hi Karen! Please enter my name in the giveaway for To Be Sung Underwater. I have a thing for long intervals between creative projects ;my boys are 16 years apart and I’m sitting under my orange tree as I write this! Thank you!

    Comment by Laura — August 23, 2011 @ 8:15 am

  27. Right Here With You
    Thank you.

    Comment by Valerie — August 23, 2011 @ 8:26 am

  28. Love and light comes from all sorts of places! I love everything you send my way! Thank you, Karen!

    Comment by Anissa — August 23, 2011 @ 8:47 am

  29. Right Here With You sounds just right for my own waking-up-alone reading.

    Comment by Jena — August 23, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  30. you have changed my life a bit- single mum since April of four beautiful girls aged 17- 5…
    NEED more positive thoughts and books…

    Comment by ulrika — August 23, 2011 @ 10:52 am

  31. I have been reading other books you have recommended – and enjoying my time with them! I would love either book, something to sit with on the bed, with the pugs, and soak it all in.

    Comment by Diesel — August 23, 2011 @ 2:03 pm

  32. Thank you for the generous offerings. I must say I could use a little inspiration right now and I believe either book will do. I appreciate the opportunity to acquire a book through gift rather than purchase.

    Comment by Bianca — August 23, 2011 @ 5:41 pm

  33. “Right here with you” sounds like the perfect one for me. Thanks for the opportunity.

    Comment by Mathangi — August 24, 2011 @ 7:12 am

  34. I would love to read both being a crazy book lady but Right Here With You intrigues me the most. I love learning about any and all ways to enrich my relationship.

    Comment by Rachael — August 24, 2011 @ 8:16 pm

  35. I’d want “to be sung underwater” for my mom and “right here with you..” for myself. πŸ˜‰
    I really love your article. Being in my second marriage i learned a great lesson about being aware of blessings and love when it’s here, always hope to learn to enjoy and not to regret.

    Comment by Dunski — August 26, 2011 @ 8:41 am

  36. Would love to read “Right Here with you”

    Comment by Aparna — August 27, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

  37. I would love to read Right Here with You.

    Comment by Mama Zen — August 28, 2011 @ 10:19 am

  38. To Be Sung Under Water … Right Here With You!

    Both books will be read by me, but preferably one of them will be won by me! πŸ™‚

    Thanks Karen. For sharing such inspiration. All the time.

    Comment by Crystal Jones — August 30, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

archives by month