Introducing “Real Magic” (Reality + Magic)

A new weekly newsletter by me for you.

After publishing Dog Medicine, I received messages from so many wonderful people. Perfect strangers from all over the world wrote to tell me that they found comfort in my story. Writing Dog Medicine was a solitary venture that yielded solace, togetherness, and community. 

Especially after this terribly isolating COVID year, it seems important to keep communicating. So I plan to start sharing a little bit about my next book (which is still a work-in-progress) via a weekly e-mail called Real Magic. Each piece will be a short missive about the magic I see almost daily. By magic, I mean what some people might call serendipity. Carl Jung called it synchronicity. Rudolf Otto, a German theologian, called it numinosity. It’s the hummingbird showing up right when you think of your grandmother. It’s the crow calling outside just as you’re about to do that very difficult thing. It’s the out-of-nowhere breeze when you wonder about your ancestors. These are the most interesting, predictive, and hopeful moments in my daily life. They’re little happenings that confirm the connectedness of us all. To me, they feel sparkly and magical. I stopped noticing them for a long time, but about fifteen years ago, I slowly started paying attention again. The things I’ve seen since then have changed me.

My Grandfather’s Tree, Carpinteria, CA

Almost all of my real magic comes from nature. So, you’ll likely receive stories about birds flocking over lakes, huge trees whispering in a breeze, dogs running free, hawks swooping, rain falling, sun peeking through clouds, and critters scampering across a path at just the right moment. That’s when I feel the connectedness in everything, and when I remember that we are all, in the end, related.

I’ll send one e-mail a week. It will be only a few paragraphs–just a simple moment. Hopefully it will leave you with a feeling of possibility, reminding you that when we pay attention, there’s enchantment to be found. We are held together by magical threads, and there’s beauty, joy, and connectedness in simply noticing them. 

I’ll send the first “Real Magic” on Friday March 19, 2021. Stay tuned! 

Subscribe to Real Magic with your e-mail:

A Winter Solstice Poem

Dear friends,

Today is December 21st, the winter solstice. It’s the darkest day of the year and for me, the most beautiful. Yes, there is deep beauty in darkness. There is wisdom there too. I have long associated with Persephone, the queen goddess who is cast into the underworld every autumn. For half the year, she stays underground, only to emerge in the spring bringing her warmth and bounty.

I believe that the underworld can be a place of learning and beauty. If we stop fighting the darkness, it will show us its teachings. P.S. Persephone is a poem I wrote recently from the perspective of my favorite queen goddess. I hope you enjoy it.

P.S. Persephone

You know my story.
Abducted to the underworld,
offered pomegranate seeds. Yes,
I ate them. What else was I to do?

My mother, in her rage,
made soils barren, skies bleak.
My father tried to bring me back
but I only come spring through fall.

People talk about us.
My parents, my abduction,
me as innocent pawn.
But they forget:

I am the power.
I alone bring Spring.
My return from the dark
brings the fruit.

I love going dark and cold.
When I’m there,
I don’t miss the sun.

Good News & a Howling Bunker

Dog Medicine has had the huge honor of winning the Nautilus Book Award. Unknown It received a silver in the Psychology category.

This feels extra special because these awards are given for “exceptional literary contributions to spiritual growth, conscious living and green values, high-level wellness, responsible leadership and positive social change.”

Bunker howled whenever he was happy. I’d like to think he’s howling now, wherever he is.

Photo by Bev Sparks, taken in 2000 in the Ravenna District of Seattle.

Order a personalized copy of Dog Medicine for the holidays!

Hi friends, ls

For a thoughtful holiday gift, you can order signed and personalized copies of Dog Medicine from Great Good Place for Books, a wonderful local bookstore here in Oakland, CA.

Click here to place an order. You can put your personalization request in the comments.

  • Order by December 18th for free shipping!
  • Order by December 23rd for in-store pickup.

Thank you!

Order Now!

Great News

Remember what I wrote in the last blog post about how the full moon launch of Dog Medicine meant the world to me?

Today at about 3PM PST I got a phone call from the lovely folks at Penguin Books telling me that Dog Medicine has landed a #3 spot on the New York Times Bestsellers list in the Animals category!

And you know what phase the moon is in tonight, right?


Thank you, Bunker. Thank you, readers. I’m so moved by all of this. Truly.