Bio

I grew up an avid reader and writer in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, and Schaumburg, Illinois, with my parents, Walt and Penny, and my older sister, Leslie. After high school, I studied sociology and anthropology at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, and earned my PhD in sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

During graduate school, while I was looking for a dissertation topic, a friend introduced me to the work of mythologist Joseph Campbell through his well-known interview series with Bill Moyers, The Power of Myth. Joseph Campbell’s work spurred my interest in spirituality, and I became especially interested in how people who value reason relate to religious traditions in ways that they find spiritually meaningful. Eventually, I wrote a dissertation called “Rational Enchantment: Transcendent Meaning in the Modern World” about how ordinary people are using reason and religion together to find a happy intersection between “what’s inspiring” and “what makes sense.”

After grad school, I went off to earn a living as a professor, first at Colorado College and then at Kenyon College. After a few years, I decided to transition from teaching to writing. I left both professoring and Ohio behind and moved to Austin, Texas, where I began working to publish a book based on my research. Meanwhile, I launched my freelance editing business, Bookmark Editing.

These days, I’m happily settled in Austin as a writer and editor. I’ve stayed interested in the world of spirituality, and I’ve developed new interests in creativity and authentic living. My first book, You Can’t Put God in a Box: Thoughtful Spirituality in a Rational Age, is about reflexive spirituality—a spirituality that draws on reason and religion together as allies in the pursuit of meaning. Reflexive spirituality is especially compelling to people I call “educated spiritual seekers”—those who value reason as well as the wisdom that sometimes lies beyond reason.

bonnell austin

Meanwhile, I’m at the beginning stages of my second book, whose working title is “Bliss & Money,” about how people earn a living while pursuing a creative calling. I blog about creative living and other topics at my own blog and at the group blog Creative Dream Journals. A lover of writing and clear communication, I also continue my work with clients at Bookmark Editing. In my off hours, I love checking out Austin’s vibrant art and music scene and great outdoor opportunities.

Thanks for coming by!