Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth's Broken Places

Radical Joy for Hard Times: Finding Meaning and Making Beauty in Earth's Broken Places


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In a time of uncertainty and devastation—from pandemics to environmental catastrophe—a call to action for finding beauty, creating art, and healing in community.  

When a beloved place is decimated by physical damage, many may hit the donate button or call their congressperson. But award-winning author Trebbe Johnson argues that we need new methods for coping with these losses and invites readers to reconsider what constitutes “worthwhile action.” She discusses real wounded places ranging from weapons-testing grounds at Eglin Air Force Base, to Appalachian mountain tops destroyed by mining. These stories, along with tools for community engagement—ceremony, vigil, apology, and the creation of art with on-site materials—show us how we can find beauty in these places and discover new sources of meaning and community.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781623172633
Publisher: North Atlantic Books
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Pages: 248
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

TREBBE JOHNSON is an author and frequent speaker on the relationship between people and nature. Her previous books are The World Is a Waiting Lover and 101 Ways to Make Guerrilla Beauty, and she has won many awards, including the John Masefield Award from the Poetry Society of America and a Telly Award for a video made for the UN on the 20th anniversary of Earth Day. She has led workshops, retreats, and rites of passage programs internationally since 1995, such as a retreat in an old-growth clear-cut forest, a ceremony at Ground Zero after September 11, and a walk in weapons testing grounds at Eglin Air Force Base. In 2009, Johnson founded the non-profit organization Radical Joy for Hard Times, dedicated to finding and making beauty in wounded places. She regularly speaks at a variety of events, from the Stephens College Commencement to the Parliament of the World's Religions to the Sierra Club. Johnson is a contributing editor at Parabola Magazine and an active member of the Wilderness Guides Council, the Florence Shelly Stewardship Committee, and SCAN (Susquehanna Clean Air Network). She is married to Andrew Gardner, an artist, and lives in rural northeastern Pennsylvania.

Table of Contents

Foreword Susan Griffin xi

Prologue: What Can You Do for a Sad Gray Place? 1

Acknowledgments 7

1 The Place You Love Has Abandoned You 9

2 Who Gets to Cry? 29

3 Waste Is an Orphan from the Circle of Life 49

4 Befriending the Gaze 65

5 Acceptance Does Not Mean Surrender 83

6 The Shock of the Beautiful 99

7 They Would Always Touch the Earth 119

8 Guerrilla Beauty 141

9 Something Always Happens 167

10 Everything and Nothing Depends on the Act You Take 183

11 Joy Is Likely 203

Notes 213

Bibliography 225

About the Author 233

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