Bee Time: Lessons From the Hive is more or less officially out. Hard copies have arrived in most bookstores and can be found for sale on the usual websites; the e-book will be available 6 October from Amazon and Harvard Press.
Coming up next is a whirlwind round of bookstore readings and signings, talks at various venues (for a schedule, see http://winstonhive.com/?page_id=300) and hopefully lots of effusive reviews. I’m particularly excited about the “Independent Bookstore Tour” at my favorite meccas for discerning readers: Munro’s in Victoria, Elliott Bay in Seattle, Powell’s in Portland and the Boulder Book Store in Boulder.
I wasn’t expecting to have this experience again. I’ve written five books previously, the last published in 2002, and I recall proclaiming to my editor at Harvard Press that Travels in the Genetically Modified Zone was my last book; I was done. He smiled that “I’ve heard this before from writers” smile, and just said simply: “Writers write.”
It’s transcendent experience, publishing a book, simultaneously exhilarating and terrifying, much like I imagine bungee jumping or skydiving. It takes a great act of faith to leap, believing that the cord will hold, the parachute open, the book not fall flat on its literary face.
It’s a moment to appreciate, this publishing instant, particularly poignant because it is so fleeting. I look back at past books from a distance, with little memory of actually writing those tens of thousands of words. It’s as if there was a ghostwriter at work in a parallel universe whose book managed to jump the space/time continuum with my name on it.
Bee Time has been particularly meaningful in both connecting and reconnecting. The connecting has been between my time as a bee researcher and my current work in the Centre for Dialogue. This book is about bees but emerged from and is heavily flavored by my time in dialogue, making whole these seemingly disparate career streams.
The reconnecting has been with bees and their keepers, both entities from which I had lost touch in recent years when dialogue dominated my time. I’ve been back out to the hives recently, and refreshed my relationships with many old beekeeping friends as I’ve accepted a few invitations to speak at bee meetings.
I’m enormously grateful to bees, and to beekeeping, but my deepest gratitude remains reserved for readers. I read, a lot, and appreciate the love of language and ideas in others.
Readers have inspired me to write better, think harder, and care more. It’s a deep pleasure, this stringing of words together. The challenge of the empty pages needing to be filled remains a profound thrill.
I’ll forget Bee Time some day, similar to how my other books eventually dipped below my personal radar, but now is still that sweetest of literary moments. The book is poised, readings and signings have been scheduled, the first reviews are emerging, and the writing is still fresh enough to believe that I did indeed write that book.
Yet, a few thoughts for a next book have started whispering as intruders into the Bee Time space, still only as brief phrases not yet formed into anything like a full sentence. All too soon the lessons from the hive will have receded, supplanted by the next set of phrasings and sentences forming themselves into paragraphs, then chapters.
Writers write, with all praise to that sublime muse of creation that blesses us with the urge, and occasionally the ability, to articulate.