The beauty of publishing with a heart
Last week, I received a copy of the new book published by Monkey Press, "Chinese Medicine From the Classics: A Beginner's Guide" by Sandra Hill. Reading through it these past few days has inspired me to write yet another blog, even though I really should be working on translating the Divine Farmer's Classic...
Not all of you may have heard of Sandra Hill, but she is one of my heroes. With some help apparently from my dear friend Peter Firebrace and of course from the authors themselves, she is the heart and soul and brain, pen and brush and computer, hardware and software, and who knows what else behind Monkey Press, the small publisher who has been producing books by Father Claude Larre and Elisabeth Rochat de la Vallee since the "dim and distant past," or in other words, the 1980s. My own journey toward self-publishing was partly initiated in a hotel room in Rothenburg a few years ago, when Peter gifted me a copy of a group translation of the Huainanzi chapter 7, "Jing Shen," produced under Elisabeth Rochat's guidance. It literally brought tears to my eyes because it was so beautifully and lovingly produced and just "felt right." With every book that Sandra Hill has created, at least that I have seen, you can just tell that there is so much love and passion and deep respect for the wisdom contained in the books behind her work, an attitude that almost literally oozes out of the pages, making them call me when I walk by them in my bookshelf. The quality of the books is not just found in the words that you are reading but in the way these are lovingly presented, layed out, and arranged with great care for attention.
Sandra's most recent creation strikes me as the clearest manifestation yet of her vision, which has remained constant for so many decades now. Drawing on all the previously published texts, it presents in my mind the beautiful bow that ties all the other books together by presenting a concise overview on how each of them contribute to the foundations of our medicine. I highly recommend it, and not just for beginners. In my opinion, it can serve as a sweet, inspiring, and highly readable introduction not just to Chinese medicine, but to the characters, to the philosophical and historical classics, and to early Chinese culture, to the extent that these are relevant to classical Chinese medicine. This little book contains more heart than any of the 500-page textbooks you have ever suffered through in your TCM education. In my mind, it may just have the power to inspire you to go out there and manifest these pearls of wisdom in your practice, which is probably precisely what Sandra was hoping for when she wrote it. Thank you for this gift, Sandra!