An even bigger announcement! Or why I need some prayers.

In January, I announced the start of a monthly newsletter called The Mystic Missive. You can sign up for those here.

This month, I have a bigger announcement concerning a writing project that will take significantly more time and energy to craft.

Here it is:

I’ve just signed a contract for my second book! I’ll be writing a book for Fortress Press about…

Death.

St. Francis in prayer  by Caravaggio

St. Francis in prayer by Caravaggio

Yes, you read that correctly. I will actually be spending the next year of my life (Lord willing) on the ways we fear death and how the mystics can lead us to more life-giving places.

What qualifies me to write this book? In a way, all of us are qualified to write about death. After all, we’re all headed in that direction. But I’ve been, if not thinking about it, at least swimming in the fear of death most of my life. My mom tells me I was asking her about death when I was three. Besides this life-long obsession, like many of us, I’ve also experienced the deaths of loved ones.

I can’t say that I’m looking forward to every single moment of this writing project. My writing is often therapeutic and the way for me to articulate how I’m feeling, or it is the way to make sense of the things I’ve experienced. This will be both painful and healing. I wrote a little about my father’s death in the last chapters of my book Mystics and Misfits; it was a very challenging experience.

But part of my thesis in this book must be lived out to be worth anything: we cannot shy away from the reality of death and suffering because it will come to us whether we avoid it or not.

In preparation, I’m taking weekly walks in the graveyard, meditating on the end of life, and writing about the mystical approach to death. I hope you’ll join me on this journey (and maybe offer a few prayers)!