Literary Nonfiction. California Interest. Essays. 2018 Foreword Indies Finalist for Essay and Biography/Memoir. "Building a trail—clearing away underbrush, heaving rocks, making room for meanders—was a task Paul Willis set himself in a time of personal sorrow when he needed just such strenuous solitude. But its purpose widened over time: it provided a refuge for others who needed a wild place and an hour of renewal. In this book he has accomplished something similar: a record of his own peregrinations on campus and in classrooms and in the mountains he loves that opens also for readers rich opportunities for personal reflection. The humor, humility, edgy intelligence, and deep reflection that inform the writings gathered here give scope and substance to the words he chose as titles for its four sections: curiosity, love, wonder, and gratitude. Here is a book to be savored, like a slow walk among the oaks."—Marilyn McEntyre
"TO BUILD A TRAIL is the best of everything I love about Willis's writing: the richly layered essays are funny, unpredictable, self-revelatory in the best way, and, as a bonus, culturally astute. (Watch for his provocative words on education.) Lace up your shoes and hit the Trail Paul built. It's
simply remarkable."—Leslie Leyland Fields
"Paul Willis is one of the few writers who make me laugh out loud. And, at the same time, require me to think. With just enough feeling thrown in to move me without making me weepy. I feel myself in the illuminating presence of a kindred spirit. These essays, drawn directly from the details
of his life, prove what we learn from all genres of literature, including the memoir: each person's story has the potential to be our story too."—Daniel Taylor
Paul J. Willis is a professor of English at Westmont College and a former poet laureate of Santa Barbara, California. He is the author of TO BUILD A TRAIL: ESSAYS ON CURIOSITY, LOVE & WONDER (WordFarm, 2018), and his Bright Shoots of Everlastingness: Essays on Faith and the American Wild was a Foreword INDIES gold winner (best essay collection) from an independent press. He has also published five volumes of poetry, most recently Getting to Gardisky Lake and Deer at Twilight: Poems from the North Cascades. Also set in the Cascades—or a mythic version of them—is his eco-fantasy novel, THE ALPINE TALES.
Author City: SANTA BARBARA, CA USA