In Search of a Course (Paperback)
When Mark Cladis embarks, he is spiritually lost, shaken by a failed marriage, and disillusioned by the academic life he has chosen. This is how Paul Kane and Mark Cladis, two Vassar professors, find themselves on a road trip through the Southwest desert. During the trip, Cladis encounters several teachers—Native American educators, local artists, Paul, and the desert itself—who inspire revelations about the land, education, friendship, and the ways of love. Cladis returns considerably healed, spiritually revived, and possessed of a new hope for his life and vocation. On this journey, equally thrilling and healing, he encounters dangers and seeming miracles. From these experiences he receives a distinct feeling of belonging—to the earth, to a spiritual and intellectual ancestry, to a friendship. In Search of a Course is a memoir about those days in the desert that saved his life. It discusses the emotional and embodied strategies he learned in the desert to mitigate suffering, find peace, and repair his life.
About the Author
Mark Cladis is the Brooke Russell Astor Professor of the Humanities at Brown University. He lives in Barrington, Rhode Island, with his wife and three children.
"Cladis has written an honest and beautiful book about finding a course after losing one’s way. ‘There are seasons of change that we must accept, even embrace,’ he writes. Yes—the challenge is doing so in horrible weather. Through fractured love, through divorce, through religious crisis, through professional and academic upheaval, through deep seated anxiety—Cladis charts his course so that we might weather life’s seasons more gracefully." —John Kaag, author of New York Times bestsellers American Philosophy: A Love Story
"What a rich feeling it is to fall under the spell of a truly compelling book. Mark S. Cladis layers introspective study with a thoughtful journey of personal loss and continuing discovery. His honesty and narrative grace combine with his gift for quoting from other writers to create a text of immense care and comfort. His long friendship with the poet/scholar Paul Kane shines as a bright thread tying the years together. A profound and meaningful book for students, teachers, people in transition, writers and friends—which is to say, everybody. I love it". —Naomi Shihab Nye, Young People's Poet Laureate of the United States (Poetry Foundation)
"In Search Of A Course is a refreshingly ambitious and illuminating account of Cladis’s impassioned confrontation with nothing less than the central questions of nature, religion, love, and education. This is a brave and important book." —Ronald A. Sharp, Acting President emeritus, Kenyon College