Way back in the 2000s, I had the idea of writing an introductory book about the Faith for a global audience. When Steve and I made the big move in 2010 from the south of New Zealand to the north, from the city to the country, I promised myself and Baha’u’llah that I would consecrate myself to writing the book. I had no idea what I was promising. I thought I’d sit down and faithfully record, in an interesting and clear way, what I knew about the Faith. However, when I began doing this, I saw that what I was writing was not going to interest anyone who did not know me personally – in other words, I had no idea how to write something that would attract a global audience. Add to that, our new place of residence became my fascination and I worked hard tidying up the place, which was a mess (the reason we could afford it in the first place). The fields were covered in knee-high grass, weeds and hidden branches fallen from trees. The area designated as the ‘orchard’ was so overgrown it hardly had a recognisable fruit tree in it.
Fast foward to 5 January 2015 and I made the bold decision to ditch completely what I had written so far (not much) and start again. That day, I wrote what is now the first paragraph of the book. What I had been struggling to find was a way into the Baha’i Faith that would be universally understood by a modern Western audience. Fundamentally, Baha’u’llah’s teachings are couched in an Islamic worldview. Their assumptions and conceptual framework are largely drawn from the Qur’an, Islamic mysticism, and Islam in general. I needed a concept that would link modern thinking with Baha’u’llah’s mystical path to God. I had found it, and I wrote the paragraph and I knew that my book was begun.
It has taken me eight years to finally write a complete draft of the book. One reason for that is that I became side tracked – like, for example, when I spent a year working on the Windflower Translations project. I also spent much time learning Arabic well enough that I could translate small passages for the book. I also had a huge struggle with my self-esteem. The shift in me came when I discovered the Facebook group 20 Books to 50K, where I found a community of authors who were very encouraging and supportive. I saw others doing it, and I realised then that I could do it too. So I spent the last three years pulling the whole thing together.
2023 will be my big year. I need to complete the editing, the translations, and the references, and then begin navigating the world of publishing. I’m taking time off at the moment until January 2023, when I’ll begin on the next phase of the project.