In Real Life: I’m writing a book!

Now that the (metaphorical) ink is dry on the contract, I can share some details about a sweet new development in my work-life.

I’m writing a book called In Real Life. It’s about developing a spiritual relationship with technology. It’s aimed at people who are wary of the online life for psychological or spiritual reasons, but it will appeal to design- and workflow-conscious techies as well.

High technology facilitates our relationships, teaches us about our world, protects our health, and enables our work. These are sacred spiritual functions. But it can also be used for profoundly unspiritual things, like distracting us, feeding our anxieties, inflating our egos, and so on. Whether or not we’re aware of it, we hire technologies to do all these jobs for us.

If we want to do spiritual work in our lives, we have to give our technology spiritual jobs. We can’t just blindly accept the jobs tech companies give us — constantly buying things, carelessly sharing private information, clicking on ads. We have more uplifting jobs to do, and we shouldn’t refuse the help of technology just because of the temptation of distraction. If anything, that temptation should help us hone our practice.

This book will be a guide to social, professional, and spiritual life online. It will suggest new practices for users (that’s us), and it will propose better design thinking for tech makers and companies. It’s my middle way between the boundless enthusiasm of Silicon Valley and wary Luddism in the New Age world.

The book is due in June — *cracks knuckles* — and it will come out in about a year.

IRL will be published by Parallax Press, the publishing outfit of internationally-beloved Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh. This is a humongous honor for me, as close followers of Everything is ablaze! surely realize. I’ve written about my affinity for Buddhism before, and the title and whole ethos of this site comes from my favorite sutta.

The most astonishing part is that Parallax came to me, not the other way around. It’s all because of the amazing questions about spirituality Glenn Fleishman asked me when I was on The New Disruptors (so THANKS, GLENN).

I’ll be trimming down some of my other hobbies while I write this book, but my record is still on schedule to be in your ears very soon.

Also, the book is not providing me a living while I write it, so I’m eager to sign on some new consulting clients for copywriting, editing, music, or voiceovers. Check out the amazingly shiny and new Ablaze Interactions page and hire me for your projects! I assure you, I’m in very good writing shape and will work promptly.

Stay tuned for more updates about In Real Life! I’ve got some articles for big publications in the pipeline.