From the preface of the Second Edition:
Twelve years later …
World Enough & Time came out in 2011. In the years since, some understanding of Slow Living—originating in Rome, in 1986, in the form of the Slow Food Movement—has seeped into almost every crevice of our culture, from Slow Art (with its emphasis on attentive looking), to Slow Travel and Slow Cinema, Slow Church, Slow Counseling, Slow Medicine, Slow Money, Slow Thought and Scholarship, even Slow Media. At the same time, words like anxiety, overwhelm, and digital distraction have entered the public discourse, along with their antidotes: mindfulness, meditation, embodied presence. . . . Christian McEwen, September 2023
Making room for creativity is not about squeezing yet another activity into an already overflowing schedule or tossing another ball into a deluge of obligations. It’s about scheduling fewer activities, dropping some of the balls, and slowing down—creating what Christian McEwen so eloquently describes as “a rich sufficiency of time.”
In World Enough & Time, McEwen quotes widely from literary and spiritual thinkers to explore the fruits of life lived slowly, deliberately, and with mindfulness. She draws on the wisdom of writers ranging from Henry David Thoreau to Mary Oliver and Adrienne Rich, artists and musicians from Auguste Rodin to Meredith Monk, and religious traditions from both the East and the West, creating a unique combination of history, spirituality, and practical advice about incorporating the benefits of slowness into everyday living. What she calls “inspiration for the literate reader” does indeed inspire one to put down the smart phone and pick up pencil and paper, to deepen friendships through long, face-to-face conversations, and to step into one’s life by actual walking: putting one foot in front of the other, preferably under the open sky.
The benefits? Not just the time for creativity, but the kind of peace of mind that welcomes and nurtures creative pursuits. A way of living that’s deep, contemplative, and rich. Emotions that are felt. Friendships that nurture. A wider embrace of humanity.
This is a book that can pull you back from the brink of “crazy-busy-ness,” of high-speed, high-tech life, and return you to your soul.
co-author of Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic and editor of Take Back Your Time
World Enough & Time is, above all, simply one of the most beautiful books I have ever read. . . Its message about time could not be more timely. This is not just a good book. This is a book that should become a classic.
Christian McEwen is a freelance writer and workshop leader, originally from the UK. She is the author of several books, including In Praise of Listening: A Gathering of Stories,
(2023) as well as a book of daily meditations drawn from World Enough & Time, titled The Tortoise Diaries: Daily Meditations on Creativity and Slowing Down. Her articles have appeared in The Nation, The Village Voice, The American Scholar, and Lion’s Roar, and she has edited a number of books, including Jo’s Girls: Tomboy Tales of High Adventure, The Alphabet of the Trees: A Guide to Nature Writing, and Sparks from the Anvil: The Smith College Poetry Interviews. McEwen has enjoyed residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, Mesa Refuge, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and has received a fellowship in playwriting from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She lives in western Massachusetts.