I have always hoped that one day I would see someone reading one of my books on the subway. In the fantasy I go over and ask them how they like the book. They say, “I love it!” and I say, “I wrote it!”
That hasn’t happened yet, but it would be the peak experience in the progression of my book from the privacy of my own manuscript out into the world. Now, I am very proud of what I have written; I do want people to read it – and, needless to say, love it. But I know that won’t happen unless I put myself “out there.”
Since I write about my own life and raise issues that are on my mind, talking about my book means talking about me. And since I count on the women I interview to be honest and forthright about their experience, I can expect no less from myself. So I will have to make myself more vulnerable than, say, a historian in the same situation. Nevertheless, for the next several months I will need to do everything I can to call attention to my book by “tooting my own horn.”
Horn-tooting doesn’t come easy to most of us. Witness organizations like the Women’s Campaign Forum which seeks out accomplished veterans of political campaigns and urges them to step out from behind the (usually male) candidate and run for office themselves. The OpEd Project and the Women’s Media Center have programs designed to nudge women with strong ideas out of the nest.
I myself have written pages and pages about how we have to learn to speak up, speak out, and speak our own minds about what matters to us. I confess that I need a little practice in practicing what I preach. If I want to spread the word, I will have to pitch the word.
So here goes…..
I want thousands of women to pick up How We Love Now and see themselves in it; I want them to be inspired and reassured by its message – that women like us should understand that a softening body is not a lifeless body, that sex can be better than ever when a woman has reached the point where she feels free to express herself, that old relationships can be revitalized and new ones can be transformational, that having a man around is nowhere near the only way to feel profound intimacy with another person, that experimentation and daring can lead to self-discovery.
And that at our age, passion – for life, for sex, for engagement with the world – is simmering in surprising places.
Now that wasn’t so hard.
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