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The abbey's literary output so far

It has been only three and a half years since the lights first came on at Acorn Abbey, but I think its literary output has been respectable in that time.

Ken’s first book, Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road From Debt to Freedom, will be released May 14. Here is a link to the Amazon page. It tells a story that many followers of this blog already know: how Ken paid off a sizable student debt in only a few years, then went on to get a master’s at Duke University, living in his van to keep his expenses down. But there’s more to Ken that readers of Ken’s blog or this blog know yet. That is that Ken, like Thoreau, is a natural born philosopher. Ken, aware of his tender age, is very modest in asserting this philosophical inclination. But in this book, for the first time, really, we witness the early stages of a transformation from a hockey-playing frat-boy type into an heir of Thoreau. Ken wrote the book here at the abbey. It’s in the final stages of production now. In fact, at Ken’s request, I’m reading the final page proofs this week.

And there is a second book that has come out of the abbey. Last year I did the editorial and prepress work for People Skills Handbook: Action Tips for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence. This book is now in print and is available on Amazon. There are four co-authors of the book, all of whom are professionals in management training, as well as a psychologist, a counselor, and educators. It’s a good book if I do say so myself. It’s priced high for the corporate market, it’s a bit long at 450 pages, and it’s not exactly meant for casual bedtime reading. But for those who work with people or manage people, it contains some good advice, nicely organized.

And of course there’s this blog, which, at five and a half years, is one of the older blogs around. I started the blog before I left San Francisco.

There will be more. Ken is planning to write a book about hiking the route of the Keystone XL pipeline, which he also has described in his blog. The book, I’m sure, will go much deeper than the blog, and perhaps we’ll learn what’s been going through that philosopher’s mind of his as he walked, and walked, and walked.

If I were more disciplined, I’d get off my butt and finish the apocalyptic novel I started a while back, not to mention my memoir. And I sometimes think about writing a book about Acorn Abbey, a kind of guide on how to downsize your life and get away from it all. But frankly I don’t have Ken’s discipline. He will sit squirming in his chair and write for eight hours at a stretch, setting goals and then reaching them. Whereas I in many ways am still recovering from career burnout and the accumulated stress of corporate and urban life. I go easy on myself and take plenty of time to putter, to read, to smell the flowers, to pet the cat, to tend the chickens. My whip-cracking days are over. But we’ll see. I’m a fast writer when I put my mind to it.

Though I was being fanciful when I started calling this place an abbey, it has turned out more like an abbey than I had hoped.

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