As I sit down to pen this review, I cannot fathom describing Erin Loechner’s book, Chasing Slow: Courage to Journey Off the Beaten Path, with even half so much grace and beauty as she so writes. But, here it is nonetheless. I hope it is adequate.
I don’t remember when I first started following Erin’s journey – one she documents on her website, Design For Mankind. All I remember is seeing this adorable cut on an adorable woman with an even more adorable smile, dressed minimally in that approachable, effortless, Cool Girl way, you know? But beyond the shallow physical impressions and her beautifully captured photographs of her family (and her capsule wardrobe!), I was immediately drawn in by her poetry. Yes, I will call it poetry – maybe not in the same vein of Robert Frost or Walt Whitman or Shakespeare, but her writing can be called nothing less.
In an over saturated internet and an over saturated blogosphere (that’s a word now, right?), Erin stands out as one of the greats. Yes, she’s been around since the “beginning” of blogs, but she’s managed to stick around for over a decade because she has it.
Anyone can take a good photo. Anyone can piece together some words with said good photos. Anyone can take some money and say, “Yes, I’ll feature your clothing detergent because duh, I use detergent to wash my clothes anyway. Hand it over please.”
But when I’m reading Erin’s words, I forget I’m reading a blog. I forgot that yes, even when I’m reading about laundry detergent, that she is making an income off of it. She transports you with these lovely words – these essays – that creep their way into your heart, your blood, your soul.
Do I sound like enough of a fan girl yet?
Her book is an extension of all of that (sans clothing detergent sponsorships). As soon as I heard she was writing a book, and it was for sale, I immediately pre-ordered two – one for me to enjoy and the other to gift my mother. So I waited, and when it arrived, I cracked it open and was immediately, just like that first moment I found her blog, drawn in by her poetry.
Her trials, her tribulations, her wins, her losses. Her mistakes and her getting back up again. Her humanity. That is key.
It is a guide book, not a how-to. An offer of forgiveness, not a supply of lectures.
This book will not give you the answers to living a slow life. But this book will sit down with you, like an old friend, and share her troubles and listen to yours. She will remind you that yes, it is still a journey. All of it. A journey worth taking – a journey worth forgetting sometimes or letting go or holding tight or yelling at. A journey that we are all on – you and me- as we try to navigate this crazy, complicated, joyous, sad, beautiful life. A journey where you will learn and live and sometimes not learn but still live.
This year, my one little word is slow. And I will continue the chase.
So thank you, Erin. Thank you.
P.S. I now also have this rabid need to purge my closet and make raw brownies, so thank you for that too.