This week marks the birth of my sixteenth book–and it was hard labor, indeed. The book was conceived what now seems a long time ago, with my believing that I had recklessly broken to my very core.
At my age and stage in life, the last thing I ever expected was to be downsized from my corporate job. But when the economy hit the skids, a whole class of marketing industry “thought leaders”-—people whose contributions sprung from R&D rather than P&L–found themselves suddenly in the pink, as in pink slip.
Feeling the end approach, my own salvation began the moment I took up my pen every night after my long days at work to record my experiences. I instinctively knew I needed to do something to make sense of what was happening to me. In doing so, I inadvertently transformed myself from victim to witness, a much more productive vantage place from which to view a career and life in disarray.
I literally wrote this book to save my life—-and it wasn’t until the year was nearly over-—having at last discovered my own happy ending as Senior Strategist with Vibrant Nation–that I thought to share this with an old friend, and my former agent, Patti Breitman. Patti was a safe choice, as she had retired from the publishing business. I simply wanted to know if the words I was sharing with her read, as I feared, like the confession of someone who was scrambling to catch up with the pack. Or if there might be something in this for others. Outside of my own personal journals, I’d never written anything this vulnerable, so exposed. Had I shown too much of myself? Patti’s response excited and alarmed me. “This is a brave book” were her exact words.
What I didn’t know at the time was that Patti was making plans to throw herself back into agenting, and that the words I shared with her spoke to her personally. Life is full of surprises.
The I Ching, the ancient Chinese book of divination and philosophy which has been an important teacher to me, and about which I’ve written in a number of my books, has the perfect words to describe my response: “Oh oh. Hah hah!”
Before I open my (downsized) soul to you, I want you to know one last thing. When I started writing this book, I thought that my soul had been broken at the core. It turns out that my core is just fine—-always was. And the pieces that were broken and fallen away: they were never an essential part of me, anyway.
I’m proud of this book and the fact that I rose to the demands of the occasion to produce art out of despair. But would I want to go through this again? Not on your life!
Here’s to a happy ending for all of us with (downsized) souls! I hope you enjoy the book.