Letter from the Publisher
Categories: Psychology & Personal Growth
And yet the ferment must be contained for it to do its work; after and before the wild ride on either side the material must be assembled into a tangible book and delivered to the “trade,” namely the commercial labyrinth that every book must navigate to find its path into readers’ hands. On some days, it can almost feel like a game of telephone, with a dwindling amount of time and space to convey what you first heard (a 400-page book) into a sound-bite-sized tidy package, replete of course with searchable terms.
For some books, this part of the journey isn’t particularly difficult; usually these are books with either a very clear and specific message and/or a very clear and specific audience. But as a publisher who endeavors to publish books that most publishers won’t publish, ones that crack open a preconceived notion and add a mixture of time-tested wisdom and gutsy prescience, these “easy” books are more the exception than the norm.
But even in this land of misshapen toys, there are some particularly ornery books that simply refuse to be shaped into the round hole that the book trade demands—books that scoff at standard questions like “what’s this book about in fifty words or less?” or “what section of the bookstore should it go in?” or “who is the audience?”
For some of our books, the answer to these questions is “?”
Books like these confound everyone charged with bottling the spirit, and yet, beautifully and poetically, a few of them still make their mark. Stephen Jenkinson’s Die Wise was one such book, so difficult to describe that we ended up violating several cardinal rules of copywriting by boasting about what it wasn’t in the first line of copy.
It just couldn’t be bottled, so we uncorked the cava and hoped the people who needed it would find it on their tongues. And they did.
So when Mr. Jenkinson let me know that he had a new book in his bag of tricks, one about elderhood and our culture’s unreconciled relationship with it, I knew I had another wild one on our hands. We tried to make it palatable, describable, digestible, and comprehensible, but again the crow kept cawing from beyond the windows of the office, inviting us to let go of the thing, common sense be damned.
And so Come of Age flies.
Fortunately, we had help on this one: from Mr. Jenkinson himself, who of course served as faithful scribe to whatever cantankerous visionary spirit has grabbed hold of his collar, but who also has cobbled together a team of streamers, dreamers, and meme-ers who fashion their own shorthand transmissions of the ineffable.
One of these fellow bottlers is Ian MacKenzie, a fine storyteller and videographer whose short films have had their share of virality. We are lucky enough to have a trailer from Ian that attempts, in just over two minutes, to convey what this book is about. Nice vintage there, Ian. May together we help Come of Age slake our collective parched throats.Tags: Stephen Jenkinson Tim McKee