At last! Tumblehome: One Woman’s Canoeing Adventures in the Divine Near Wilderness has tumbled into the world. Part travel adventure, part spiritual memoir and great part ode to the Earth, Tumblehome was published thanks to the generosity of Inanna Publications.
To purchase a copy, click on the “WHERE TO BUY” icon below. *Note that the first run has sold out and a second printing is in the works. You can still order but please be patient. I’ve been told it’s worth waiting for!* An e-book will also be available very soon. Check back soon on the Where to Buy page.
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The dust jacket summary
On a warm evening in August 1998, Brenda Missen, a 37-year-old single, unattached writer, pitches her tent beside a lake in Canada’s 7,600 square-kilometre Algonquin Provincial Park. She’s on a four-night “reconnaissance mission,” an hour’s paddle from the parking lot, to find out if she has the capability—and nerve—to one day go on a real canoe trip in the park interior by herself. Paddling and portaging from her campsite by day and surviving imaginary bear attacks by night, she decides she’s ready. Then a ranger arrives to check her permit, and an inexplicable, powerful intuition tells her this is the person she’s meant to marry. Going solo may not be necessary after all. But the fairy tale unravels. In the wake of a broken engagement to her One True Paddling Partner, Brenda ventures into the near wilderness on a series of solo canoe trips that blow all her perceptions of romance, relationships, God, and her own self (gently) out of the water. Each encounter with weather, wildlife, and other trippers brings her to a place of growing acceptance, forgiveness, and compassion, for herself and others. And each venture into the park interior surprises her with an ever-deepening experience of the divinity at the core of our being and in all of creation (even bears). In our high-tech, urban age, when so many people are disconnected from the natural world, Tumblehome—part spiritual memoir, part travel adventure, and great part ode to the Earth—is a timely and important exploration of where our real roots lie.
For an excerpt from Tumblehome, click here.
For a video recording of the author reading an excerpt, click here. [To come!]
Advance praise for Tumblehome
Almost allegorical in scope, Tumblehome sparkles with humanity.
—Joseph Kertes, award-winning author of Gratitude and The Afterlife of Stars
Brenda Missen, a self-described “keen canoeist,” has been a pilgrim of solitude. She has entered a world in which language has not yet been born and offers us the gift of her memoir, Tumblehome.
—Diana Beresford-Kroeger, author of To Speak for the Trees: My Life’s Journey from Ancient Celtic Wisdom to a Healing Vision of the Forest
Tumblehome, Brenda Missen’s compelling memoir, is the story of one woman’s canoeing adventures in the Canadian wilderness. Yet it is simultaneously a profound meditation on the complexities of human relationships, our common interface with the natural world, and a journey of spiritual transformation. In its pages, it is as if Annie Dillard meets the Taoist sage Lao Tzu. In Brenda, explorer, writer, and spiritual seeker converge in the telling. From the first line— “My paddle mines for diamonds that sparkle on the wind-riffled lake”—to the last, Missen cups us in the palm of her hands. As Brenda comes to trust her spiritual mentor Asante, to whom the book is dedicated, so readers can trust Brenda to gently open their hearts and minds to their own interior depths where “joy is [our] birthright and we are the diamonds we seek.”
—Susan McCaslin, author of Into the Open: Poems New and Selected
Tumblehome takes us on an intimate journey into an emotional, spiritual, and physical wilderness where fears are overcome, relationships scrutinized, and enlightenment sought. A canoe trip with many twists and challenges, by the end I truly felt that I had been forest-bathing with Missen.
—Becky Mason, canoe instructor, filmmaker, writer and artist
Click here for more advance praise for Tumblehome,.
What the heck is “tumblehome”?
Besides being a great word, tumblehome is a design term that refers to the inward curve of the sides of a boat (boats can also have straight sides or sides that flare out). In a boat with good tumblehome, a solo canoeist can kneel close one side and lean the boat over without tipping it, which puts the paddle closer to the water and makes the canoe easier to control. (A boat with too much tumblehome will tip if leaned over too far—hence the name.) As a title, it captures the spirit of this work not only because of its associations with solo paddling but also because it evokes a sense of “tumbling home” on different levels—to one’s literal home, to being at home in one’s self … and to something that might be considered Grace.
The gorgeous cover
Huge thanks to local (to me) artist Linda Sorensen for allowing me to use her beautiful painting Autumn Sojourn for the cover. To see more of Linda’s art, visit https://lindasorensen.com
© 2022 BRENDA MISSEN | ALL RIGHTS RESERVED