Happy New Year, all! Samsara Diagnostics will be winding back up over the next month. You can expect an email on Friday outlining more detailed expectations.
However, I'm emailing today to make you aware that I published my first book yesterday! You can now purchase Every Sunset is a Moonrise in physical copy on Amazon for $9 or in eBook format at my online shop for $5.
Note for my premium subscribers – don't buy the epub version. You will be receiving a free copy of the epub in your email later this week. You are always welcome to purchase a physical copy though!
Every Sunset is a Moonrise won't receive much marketing fanfare from me, mostly because my primary goal in publishing it was to dry-run the Amazon publishing process ahead of the publication of Ideology and Christian Freedom. I didn't want to be navigating the publication process for the very first time on top of trying to keep my promised deadline for my readers.
On that front, this experiment was a resounding success. I learned how purchase ISBNs, how to format the book's cover in Canva, how to complete the Amazon listing, how to order test copies, and much more. Learning is best done by doing!
Huge shoutout to Dan Garner at O.G. Rose for providing me guidance throughout the process. I couldn't have done it without him. Now I have the confidence and experience to execute the publication process in a smooth and efficient manner in the coming weeks.
However, the modesty of the experiment actually does not do justice to the quality of the text – I'm exceptionally proud of this work. These words poured from me at a crucial time of transition in my life, and I've found that they continue to hold up even as I've returned to them at various points in my journey. I feel so thankful that it came together in the way that it did.
What's in the book?
In Every Sunset is a Moonrise, you'll find four chapters:
The first chapter is an essay which asks about how we can re-think finitude as the condition of our freedom – as an adventure – rather than as a prison to be escaped or superseded. I put Martin Heidegger and Dōgen in conversation to start sketching some of the main structures of finitude, especially the role of rising and passing away.
The second chapter continues this exploration of rising and passing away by embarking on an extended investigation of the life of Saigyo, a renowned poet-monk from 12th century Japan. We look at how the shape of his life attempts to formulate a response to the great problems of his age, and how his poetry embodies an attempt to wrestle with the contradictions between his faith and his love for the world and its beauty.
The third chapter presents poetry which I wrote, a collection titled 'Every Sunset is a Moonrise.' This title captures the double-sided aspect of all things, which was a theme that I clung to and struggled with in my final year at college. The poetry is written in the waka form, the same form which Saigyo employed – waka is composed of five lines of syllables arranged 5-7-5-7-7.
The fourth chapter provides some interpretations of select poems from the collection. I tried to pick a range of different types of poems and different situations to show how they expressed what I was experiencing. I hope that this can help you see the power of waka to give shape to our lives, and perhaps to even inspire you to try your own hand at this beautiful art form.
That captures the essence of what you'll find in the book. Overall, it's a curious mix of Japanese studies, philosophy, and poetry, with a bit of Christian theology providing some framing. I hope that you'll pick up a copy, give it a read, and let me know what you think. However, the best thanks you could give would be to write a waka poem and share it with another person!
Thanks for all your support this past year, and I look forward to what we can do together in 2024! Expect another email on Friday to learn more. We'll talk again soon!