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A Simple Life (Toinette Lippe)

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CJ Liu interviews  Toinette Lippe on her book “Nothing Left Over”. Learn the importance of “interior housekeeping” and find the true measure of a simple life lived in terms of usefulness and impeccability rather than accomplishment or possessions. Toinette teaches us how to discern what is essential and let go of what is not.

Toinette Lippe – Writer, author of Nothing Left Over

T-on-Huang-Shan-2006(SungsookSetton)I was born in London and began my publishing career there at André Deutsch. In 1964 I came to New York City “for a year,” worked at Simon and Schuster for three years, and then at Alfred A. Knopf for thirty-two more, as reprint rights director and senior editor. In 1989, while continuing as rights director at Knopf, I founded Bell Tower, an imprint of Crown/Harmony, where I was editorial director and published seventy books. I left Knopf in 2000 to work as a free-lance editor. My own two books Nothing Left Over: A Plain and Simple Life and Caught in the Act: Reflections on Being, Knowing, and Doing were originally published by Tarcher/ Putnam in 2002 and 2004, and reissued as ebooks and paperbacks with new afterwords, by Monkfish Book Publishing in 2014. In 2009 I published my last Bell Tower book and abandoned editorial work. Now I am free to paint….

My interests include tai chi chuan, yoga, therapeutic touch, East Asian brush painting, languages (fluent in French, not so fluent in German, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Hebrew, Latin, and Sanskrit), and exploring the meanings of words in dictionaries and the geography of far-away places in atlases. I have also studied English, Sanskrit, and Hebrew calligraphy. I enjoy listening to early music, growing orchids, tending my plot in the community garden in Riverside Park a few blocks away, and telling stories.

I like to travel. I have made trips to the “rose-red city” of Petra in Jordan, to Fes in Morocco for the World Sacred Music Festival, to a monastery for a nine-day silent retreat, to Bali for the Arts Festival, to Havana for New Year’s, to Rome to be with the Pope in St Peter’s for the turn of the millennium, to China and Japan to visit Buddhist monasteries and paint rivers and mountains, to Turkey to trace the life of Rumi, to India and Nepal to follow in the footsteps of the Buddha, and to many other places. On my return I would write a long account of each journey and share it with a host of friends who enjoyed my trips vicariously.

I taught Chinese Ink Painting at the Educational Alliance in New York City for more than four years and now give small classes and private lessons on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.