Bill Hatcher is the author of The Marble Room: How I Lost God and Found Myself in Africa (2012), and Principles of Flight: Flying Bush Planes Through a World of War, Sexism, and Meat (2018). Principles of Flight was judged a finalist in the 2018-19 National Indie Excellence Awards in Social and Political Change.
Coming soon! Research suggests that geography made our species essentially friendly, relational, and nonviolent. However, in the last 6,000 years, we have managed to override our original programming, resulting in rampant misogyny, gender inequities, animal exploitation, environmental abuse, racism, and state-level violence -- all symptoms of the Hyper-Masculine Paradigm. If we are truly kind and benevolent, and "we do what comes culturally," how has today's world ended up on the brink of collapse? Find out why in this fresh, avant-garde nonfiction, The Red Planet: Gendered Landscapes and Violent Inequalities, and learn how our intrinsic (feminine) predilection for peace may yet save us. (Scheduled for Fall 2023)
As recounted in The Marble Room, Bill grew up in the rural Midwest in a family of conservative Christians. Life was safe and predictable―until his parents divorced when he was in his teens. Attempting to rewrite the ending of his parents’ marriage and salvage his worldview, he married a young evangelical woman, but that, too, ended in divorce. Desperate for answers, he left home to serve in the Peace Corps. He was assigned to teach at an all-girls' boarding school in Tanzania. Over the next two years, his Bible Belt racism and religious beliefs crumbled as the challenges he faced escalated; glimpsing death on holy peaks, meeting “ancestor spirits” in sacred caves, and receiving the leopard-spirit’s blessing from elder shamans.
Principles of Flight begins as the plane Bill is flying crashes in the Utah desert. He wakes up to discover his life of carefree abandon shattered. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania in the 1990s, he had risen above his own racial prejudices and religious jingoism, and yet remains emotionally aloft, afraid to commit to the full transformation that calls to him. In spite of misgivings, he returns to Africa. In Kenya, he flies bush planes, guides wilderness courses, and falls in love with a young Kikuyu woman. All seems well, until he is attacked and beaten by thugs and then injured when he’s chased by an elephant. Still unable to deal with reality, he escapes to Alaska, where he flies still higher and loves more recklessly. Ultimately, the principles of flight force him to make a choice: to fly away again or finally return to Earth as an advocate for social, animal, and environmental justice. Set before, during, and after 9/11 and the wars that followed, Principles of Flight is filled with spectacular scenes of flights over the African savanna and Alaskan glaciers. More than mere travelogue, this memoir is a psychosocial inquiry into the hyper-masculinism that has resulted in the violence, sexism, animal cruelty, and environmental destruction that have ruled our world.
In addition to writing, Bill teaches and helps manage an educational nonprofit in southern Colorado, where he lives with his wife, Kim.
Promotional video for Principles of Flight
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