Sunday, June 17, 2012
The adorable, 31-year-old woman my son is dating called yesterday afternoon and suggested that I write a book about the wisdom I've gained over the past many years and kernels of truth other women - actually, younger women - would gobble up and hopefully apply to their own lives.
"Have you walked into a bookstore or library lately?" I said. "There are so many books."
She didn't get my drift. "There's always room for one more."
How could she know about the hoops I jumped through to get my last book published? All the excitement and disappointment. Editors who absolutely loved my proposal but had it shot down because I didn't have a Ph.D. in history or a platform with hundreds, if not thousands, of adoring fans who would run right out and buy the book about love and sex in World War II.
Ultimately, it came down to either publishing with what had been known as an academic press that offered me less of an advance than I'd garnered on my first book in 1987 or not having the book see the light of day. Period. But like my other books, this one called to me, compelled me to write it. I'd spent too much time, interviewed too many people who shared intimate life details to stuff it all into a folder and save it under "Documents." No, I'd bite the bullet and hope that maybe good reviews, word of mouth, and media coverage would help sell the book.
I got all of the above, but sales were weak. Thanks For The Memories was picked up and reissued in paperback. But by then I'd lost my mojo and didn't much care.
"You're so calm around all the men in your life," the new girlfriend said.
I laughed. "If you only knew what it took to get here."
"That's just it. We want to know your secrets."
"Time . . . Years and years. And lots of drama. Too much to remember and nothing particularly unique to share."
"I don't see this book in my future. I really don't see any new books. But I'll keep the door slightly ajar because you never know what or who will walk through . . ."
Ah, a kernel of wisdom offered easily without having to pen a tome.