Meryl Davids Landau makes her fiction debut with Downward Dog, Upward Fog, a book that was just nominated as a General Fiction Book of the Year Finalist by Foreword Reviews. She is a certified yoga teacher and Reiki practitioner, and has written many articles for national publications, including O, the Oprah magazine, Reader’s Digest, U.S. News & World Report, Huffington Post and Whole Living. Her writing has won several awards, and was a finalist for a prestigious National Magazine Award.
DT: Thanks for being at Supernal Living today, Meryl. Can you tell us how you approach spirituality in your novel?
MDL: Everyone on any kind of spiritual path knows there’s a huge difference—a chasm, really– between knowing spiritual principles in your head and living them in your life. My own personal challenges with that became the springboard for the book, where my main character, Lorna, grapples with an awful mother, wacky coworkers, and then a family crisis after she discovers yoga and other spiritual pursuits.
The book is fun women’s fiction, but the plot revolves completely around how Lorna handles the challenging people and situations all around her—and the answer is, not always perfectly. Readers who are very familiar with yoga, meditation, mindfulness, forgiveness and other spiritual practices tell me they enjoy seeing their passions reflected in a novel. But it’s also been great for me to hear from readers who are using the book as an introduction to spiritual principles, since Lorna discovers many teachings, teachers and approaches as the novel unfolds.
One thing Lorna does not do is discover enlightenment via a trip to Bali or India or the Aztecs. Books to delicious places like that can be great fun, but the main question I want the novel to address is one the rest of us face in our real life: how do you maintain your spiritual center at the office, in the grocery store, with your workaholic boyfriend or hypercritical mother? The reader roots for Lorna to figure it out—and, I suspect, for herself to do so, too.
Book description: Lorna Crawford has a great boyfriend, longtime friends, and a well-paying job as special-events coordinator at a premium ice-cream manufacturer. But, out of sorts and filled with self-doubt, the 33 year old soon realizes that what she really wants is to stay on the spiritual path she keeps diving off of. Lorna jump-starts her efforts at a silent yoga retreat. But after returning from the mountain, she quickly loses her connection in the face of scheming coworkers, judgmental girlfriends, and, especially, her overly critical mother. Lorna also wrestles over her future with her boyfriend, a hot guy who takes her to the hottest places, but who can’t discern a meditation cushion from a toad stool. Reading spiritual books and visiting a channeler and energy healer move Lorna forward, but her confusion remains. Lorna’s seeking is put to the ultimate test when personal tragedy strikes. Will she come to truly understand that living spiritually has little to do with how you pretzel yourself on the yoga mat (although she gets plenty good at that), and everything to do with embracing the twists in everyday life?
Download your copy of Downward Dog, Upward Fog and find out for yourself!