I’ve “known” Dani since I was in college and discovered her books. I devoured them all, “Playing with Fire“, “Fugitive Blue“, “Picturing the Wreck“, “Slow Motion“, “Family History: A Novel“, and, “Black and White“. She was one of those writers whose work resonated with me on a very deep level. I had the feeling she was the kind of person I could be friends with, not that I ever expected we would meet. About nine years ago, a woman appeared in my yoga class. She had a quiet energy and a very focused practice. I adjusted her in down dog, I think we talked about inversions at one point, we smiled at each other before and after class, maybe we said hi. I don’t remember. But about a week later, I received an email. At the time, I had audio recordings of some of my yoga classes available online, and I’d noticed a bunch of subscribers from Connecticut, all of a sudden. This woman told me she’d been in my class the previous week, and had returned to her home in CT, and that she had since recommended my audio classes to several of her friends. She said she’d found peace on her mat with me during a very trying week, and she thanked me. The email was signed, Dani Shapiro. Her website was underneath her name. My eyes popped out of my head. I went to the site and discovered it was, in fact, the same Dani. And I wrote back to tell her how blown away I was, how much her work had meant to me, and how happy I was that I hadn’t realized it was her, because I was sure I’d have been tongue-tied. The next time I went back east, Dani and I met for tea. And as I’d suspected from reading her work, she was exactly the kind of person with whom I could become friends, and the rest, as they say, is history. Our friendship is one that I cherish, she’s as real as it gets. Her last book, “Devotion”, is a deeply personal story of her search for meaning, and answers to life’s big questions.
Dani was featured this past weekend on Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, and she was so wonderful–genuine, and present and honest. Her new book, “Still Writing” is a witty, heartfelt, and practical look at the exhilarating and challenging process of storytelling. You can enter our Facebook drawing today to win a signed copy :). The winner will be chosen on Sunday October 27, 2013. I’m already so happy for the winner of our giveaway, because having a little piece of Dani in your home is a real treasure.
1. Three things you’re the most grateful for right this minute?
My family. It could have been otherwise — and I am always so aware of that.
Everything in my life –– every misstep, mistake, rebellion, wrong turn –– that brought me to this moment.
The stillness that I have learned to find within me.
2. What inspires you to write?
I write in an attempt (the word “essay” means “attempt”) to create order out of chaos. To create art of out randomness. To illuminate inner life. To connect more deeply with myself and with the world around me.
3. You’ve had a yoga and seated meditation practice for quite some time, now. Do you find these practices have affected the quality of your internal dialogue, and if so, how?
My yoga and meditation practice are the only ways I know to quiet my mind. When I sit –– or when I unroll my mat –– I am coming home to myself. I begin to see and hear what’s going on inside me. If writing, for me, is a way of knowing my own mind, yoga and meditation open the door to my heart.