For an author publication is something like a birthday. The little idea that wouldn’t let go, the idea that seemed to grow in your mind, the idea that became a book— is presented to the world.
It is very exciting and also very frightening. You can pick the book up (it’s on the front table of all U.S. Barnes and Noble stores) and hold it and, like a baby, it feels so small and light. Also like a baby, your book will make its own way in the world. People will love it– or hate it. People will hand it to friends– or ignore it. No one can say what will happen because no one really knows. So happy birthday “Second Wind: Navigating the Passage to a Slower, Deeper, and More Connected Life.”
My happiness is somewhat tempered by the changes that are remaking the world of books and publishing. If you care to look at the best selling books that have anything at all to do with aging, they are nearly all about “anti-aging.” Best-sellers are the domain of celebrities with breathless accounts of “anti-aging miracles.” The fact that Second Wind is a pro-aging book written by a (relatively) unknown author means that it is going to have a tough time getting started in the world.
It is true that Second Wind was named in the top 10 nonfiction books of 2014 by Publishers Weekly. It is true that the book will be displayed at the entrance to every Barnes and Noble in America today (and many independent book stores). And yes it has been placed in thousands of libraries across America. Widespread distribution is one of the dwindling perks of having a big publisher. But that is not enough.
Let me tell you where you won’t find Second Wind. You won’t see the book featured on This Morning or on Good Morning America. You won’t see it on The Daily Show. Oprah did not select it for her book club. In fact, I haven’t been invited to talk about Second Wind on any television program anywhere, let alone one with national reach.
As the author of a book that explains why our society struggles against positive messages about aging I knew better than to expect our virulently ageist mainstream media to pay attention to, let alone promote, a book dedicated to exploring the hidden virtues of aging. My extraordinary team of publicists at Simon and Schuster hope to prove me wrong and have not given up pitching the book to national media. But I believe this book will have to find its audience the old-fashioned way– by word of mouth. We are going on the road with the The Second Wind Tour because we want to share its message with as many people as possible. We want to start a new conversation that is rich with possibilities.
I now see myself as a writer AND a cultural critic AND an impresario of deeply authentic live experiences:
- I am a writer and I am proud of the Second Wind book and I do believe that it will help others reimagine their lives, their dreams.
- I am a critic of the relentless “adultification” of American society and remain dedicated to illuminating the virtues of life beyond adulthood.
- I am also the producer of a new kind of experience — I believe in the power of live “non-fiction” theater to share insights and, most importantly, help people understand why they so often feel that their lives are out of balance.
This is not my dream alone. You can share this journey with me. You are invited to read the book and dispute, embrace and improve its arguments. You are invited to join us in 25 cities across America as we present a theatrical experience that celebrates the joy that comes with catching hold of life’s Second Wind.
You are invited into a new conversation about life, growth and reimagination. And the conversation starts right here.
The book is currently available for sale at many locations including amazon.com