Yesterday, in Part 1 of this interview, Dominique Browning talked about how her busy and fulfilling life as a magazine editor came apart with the loss of her job. Today: the turnaround.

Looking back, was there a turning point in the journey—an event or moment where things turned the corner?

I think the turning point was when I started my new garden in Rhode Island. I had had to reconstruct my house, which was built in the Fifties, and was rotting away. So the land around it was a dustbowl left over from construction. After the moving vans pulled away, I got out my gardening tools, and thought, how can I fix this….I write in Slow Love about planting mint—having the freedom to put whatever I wanted wherever I wanted it—but what really did it for me was hunkering down in the front yard, and deciding that I didn’t want a lawn. I wanted a very deep perennial and shrub bed that I could walk through, that would shelter me and hide me.

By the end of the book, you’re on a strict diet and managing to stick to it—much to your surprise. How hard was it? And did you really lose 15 pounds in one month?

Yes, the diet worked. I lost more than 5 pounds in the first 10 days. I’m telling you, skipping that glass of wine at dinner, and skipping that hunk of bread, that cookie, that pasta….Yes, it works. And I could stick to it because it is so extremely regimented that you almost can’t think about anything but the next installment of nourishment. You eat all day, really, but small, precise amounts of what is allowed. Mainly chicken, cottage cheese and V8 juice. Really, Dr. Pat ought to be getting commission on all V8 juice sold because of this diet…!

[For more from Dr. Pat Allen on dieting and self-care,  see her archived post, “Begin 2009 with Mindful Eating — A Diet for Life” –Ed.]

Readers who’ve lost jobs themselves can probably relate to the way your former work wardrobe started to feel alien, and how, in the beginning, you gravitated to pajamas. What are you wearing these days? How would you define the ‘Slow Love’ fashion sense?

I am still wearing pajamas! I love to feel comfortable when I sit in front of my computer, and as a writer, I’m logging in plenty of time there. But when I have to go out, I do make the old effort to dress up—or rather, dress appropriately. I’ve never been much for the fashion plate look anyway; I prefer classic, well made clothes that don’t scream designer. I’ll tell you one thing I hardly ever wear any longer: stilettos. My feet just can’t take them! And no one is paying me to torture myself any longer. So why bother?

I’ve also become increasingly nervous about the chemical stew that is so-called “dry” cleaning—really a vat of wet chemicals into which your clothes are thrown. I don’t buy this green dry cleaning for a moment. So I don’t like clothes that require dry clean only. Most wool can be washed, and steam cleaning takes care of absolutely everything anyway.

In an article you wrote for WVFC this spring, you talked about why you blog. You mentioned wanting to have “a village mind” and creating “a virtual village.” What do those concepts mean to you, and why are they important in your life now?

I absolutely love blogging, and has opened up a new world for me. I wanted to keep thinking about the issues I began writing about in my book, so this blog gives me not only a space for that, but a way to hear other voices, other responses, other thoughts. I can see how I connect with people, understand what their concerns are, and be inspired by their thoughts. By now, with only a few months of blogging, there are a few people who are always present—they’re in my village!

Speaking of which…What is your life like now? Are you content with where things are, or is there more you’d like to be doing in one area or another?

I’m fairly content with where things are, because everything is in flux, and I have stopped worrying about that. I have no idea where I’ll be living in a few years—I doubt it will be on the Atlantic waterfront, because the winters are long, windy, gray, dark and cold. I have no idea if I will be part of another magazine team.

In short, I have no idea what the future holds—which is the reality for all of us, all the time, whether we accept it or not. I accept it. Therefore, I’m enjoying what I do now, which is lots and lots of reading, thinking, and writing. And lots of connecting with friends, and with the gorgeous world around us. My work for the Environmental Defense Fund has been extremely gratifying. I’m passionate about environmental issues, and my column for their website gives me the chance to learn a great deal about their important work.

So what’s next? Who knows? What I hope is next is what is now—and believe me, there  are plenty of times when I just have to laugh at myself for spinning in circles of busyness. And I think, perhaps I’d better re-read that book I wrote.

Thanks so much! We look forward to sharing our readers’ comments with you.

Fans of Dominique Browning’s blog know that she’s a fan of writer-artist Maira Kalman.  Click here for Kalman’s interview with WVFC earlier this year.

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