Louie, my big, loving, serene (I would never say “lazy” cat), who spends most of his days in the office with me, got a little nervous one day last week. I didn’t quite set off fireworks, but I did get up from the computer and do a little happy dance, which he found quite unseemly!
Roadtrip with a Raindrop is on its way to the printers!! It was, without a doubt, the biggest, most complex project I have ever undertaken – AND it will be worth every bit of what it took to bring it to this point!
The book will be 10″ tall x 9″ wide, 240 pages with nearly 200 full-color photographs. I shared the cover in the last post – and thank you for all your wonderful responses! The interior design is clean and inviting and is perfect, I think, for both the photographs and the stories. Every detail is the best possible quality – there is even a satin ribbon placeholder. I cannot wait to share it with you!
I want to tell you a little story that unfolded in these last days of preparation of the book…
Bob Krist is an internationally-acclaimed photographer for National Geographic Traveler, National Geographic and Smithsonian. He has won “Travel Photographer of the Year” three times. I have admired him and his work for more than two decades. Back in 2002, I was lucky to be in a workshop with him at the Maine Photographic Workshops and it was life-changing. He encouraged me to find time for a personal project that really moved me. That is what opened my heart for this Mississippi River adventure.
So, I’ve always known that someday I would ask him to write the Foreword for my book. I did, and I was thrilled that he agreed to do so. It is an honor to have him be part of this! I still don’t have words to describe what I felt when I received what he had written, but I can tell you that I cried. Here it is…
“As literature and myth illustrate time and time again, a river journey can be a life-altering experience.
Whether it’s the young Buddha in Siddhartha, Mr. Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, or Huck in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, an epic river voyage teaches the traveler as much or more about himself than about the topography and geography of the waterway itself. It’s an exterior trip that prompts an interior journey.
Fortunately for us, Gayle Harper’s book, Roadtrip with a Raindrop, is both. While her encounters with the beauty of the Mississippi and the wide array of humanity who make their home along the river — barge captains, blues musicians, artists, hunters, historical reenactors and even a jolly nun — obviously move her in a profound way, she never fails to take us along to share her experience.
Like Vasudeva, the ferryman who helps Siddhartha find enlightenment in the rhythms of the mythic river, Harper acts as our ferryman, documenting the beauty of this mother of all North American rivers and its people in stunning photography and rich prose, while she herself undergoes the profound changes that occur when an artist meets her project of a lifetime.
The result is a beautiful, warm and intimate portrait, as stunning to look at as it is to read, that makes us appreciate all that the Mississippi River has meant and continues to mean to America. In these pages, we feel the river’s pulse, we come to know and appreciate its people, and in doing so, we learn more about ourselves.
A river doesn’t bestow enlightenment in and of itself — but it can provide clarity and insight for someone who was ready to observe and listen to it. Fortunately for us, Gayle Harper was prepared not only to learn and be moved herself, but she has the vision and the craft to make it as vivid an experience for us as it was for her.”
– Bob Krist
So, with a heart overflowing with gratitude for this entire, incredible adventure, Roadtrip with a Raindrop was kissed, bundled up and sent off to the printers. We expect to have books by Thanksgiving. I will be back in touch before long with details about when and how it will be available.
For now, thank you for being part of this amazing journey!