Life Cartography is now live on Amazon. You can get it here.
Here’s what some of the reviewers are saying.
“Life’s refreshing lessons from a Life Cartographer!
It is sweltering in Dar es Salaam, this being December and the start of the East African summer. In the heat and humidity, one can sometimes feel about as charitable as Albert Camus’ character in The Stranger, who killed a man because ‘he was bored.’ Well, in the original French, ‘ennui’, it sounds rather more philosophical, sophisticated and existential than plain old boredom.
And that’s the reason why Charles Porter’s utterly contrarian way of contemplating and delivering existential truths is so refreshing in this collection of his life’s lessons. Charles serves his cocktail of experiences in distinct flavours that tickled my literary, intellectual and spiritual palates.
First, he packs a mighty punch of reflection and meaning in a small package of words. The lessons are short, rarely longer than a single page. The titles of his musings grab you from the beginning, and invite you to dive right into what he wants you to think about. Three of my favorites are “Monkeys don’t have any solutions” (for those serial complainers without solutions), “Laugh at yourself” (I once gave a talk to some graduating Catholic priests on a similar theme at the ripe old age of 28, but I am not sure I got through), and “No, is a perfectly good answer” (I will frame this one and place it prominently on my office desk)
And there is the wonderful questions he forces you to ask yourself, or the internal conversations he lets us glimpse, or the dialogue he imagines between real people, as they examine or resolve an issue. It’s a wonderful set of devices to dig into the heart of the matter without tiring the reader. In fact, Charles invites you into his warm home to have a conversation (“remember those?” he asks), a rare skill for the confessed technophile that he is. The pieces feel like a dialogue, a sharing, a communion that is refreshingly personal. Another rare quality from a young man of just 40!
Finally, and most wonderfully surprising, for a man of faith, Charles is remarkably subtle about his deep and fruitful relationship with God. His style is not the brazen declaratives or inaccessible triumphalism of some brands of Christian evangelism. No, Charles preaches through his life experiences. His 2013 was the best and the worst year. Mine was a year earlier in 2012. I hit the proverbial wall, one built by hubris and deep self-deception. The OceaninDar the Christ-centered, culture-creating, community church that Charles founded in Dar es Salaam, rescued and continues to restore me spiritually. I was expecting some aggressive proselytizing, but was treated instead to gentle, funny and folksy stories for the mind, the heart and the soul. Amidst the stifling heat and humidity of a Dar es Salaam summer, I found Charles’ life lessons to be as refreshing as a cool, soothing breeze.