Happy New Year 2018! Symbolically, a new year is a new beginning, 365 days to seize a new opportunity to learn, to grow, to experience, to laugh, to apologize, to look forward, and to leave regret behind. I’m reminded of a sign my niece gave me several years ago: “If we did all the things we were capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves.” For most of us, that is far easier said than done. 2017 is the closest I’ve come so far.
Three years ago I began a new tradition – the annual “I Did It” jar.
Instead of writing down resolutions for the coming year that would inevitably get broken, and mean I had “failed”, I began adding in notes on minor accomplishments throughout the year which meant I had “succeeded.” Sometimes perspective is everything. This past year was of course The Big Success – I published the story of Henry Zguda after fifteen years. Friends and family know how long and arduous that road has been, and how many times I gave up along the way in response to overwhelm or the time demands of other life priorities. So yes, I am darn proud this has been the year of the book. I know with certainty that while I outlived Henry, now his story will outlive me. I’ve achieved my original dream – to finish and hold the book in my hands.
In a completely different direction, I visited Ethiopia in April on a sponsor tour through Compassion International.
I sponsor two young women there and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet them in person. Planning for the trip took far more time than I had anticipated, especially at the same time I’m sending out queries on the book. What was I thinking?? We visited multiple day centers, one-room homes built of mud, and were graciously hosted for several coffee ceremonies, something reserved for honored guests. Meeting Damie and Deraretu was a wonderful day, but how do you communicate for eight hours when neither of you speak the same language, and an interpreter was not assigned to us? There were some rough moments, and yet some things require no words – looking at photos, a game of Frisbee, and a card game of UNO. Yes, I count Africa a personal success in many ways.
Under the grand success of publishing a book, there have been multiple successes that have paved the way to more success. Some highlights include:
– I’ve published four videos/trailers
– Local and national media highlighted HENRY – I know of more upcoming press.
– I was a Winner in the 2017 50 Great Writers You Should Be Reading contest.
– The Arizona Talking Book Library has chosen HENRY for addition to its collection. Once production is complete, it will be uploaded to the Library of Congress and be made available nationwide for the blind and disabled who qualify for the program.
– Additional libraries that have added HENRY to their collections: Scottsdale Public Library (AZ), Phoenix Public Library (AZ), Jacksonville Public Library (FL), and Timberland Regional Library (WA). More are pending.
– Copies of the book are now on file in the collections of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, the Buchenwald Memorial, and the USHMM in Washington, D.C.
– Multiple book reviewers and bloggers have praised HENRY, including an excellent book review and author interview in Poland.
– Eighty-five people attended the standing-room-only book launch at Changing Hands Bookstore on November 28, 2017. I’ve received multiple referrals from that evening for more speaking engagements. (The event was video-taped if interested.)
I have some bold goals for 2018.
More 90-minute workouts at the gym. Read more books. Make time for friends and family. More speaking engagements. More media and reviews. Foreign publishing rights, especially in Poland and the UK. A Northwest book tour for Washington state in late March (three events already confirmed.) I’m hopeful for some contests I entered. And, maybe, the opportunity to capture another survivor’s story before it is lost to history.
Please help spread the word!
– Tell your friends – Word-of-mouth is the best way to let people know
– Contact your local library and request they add HENRY to their collection
– Post a review online – A review can be two words, such as “Loved it” or “Definitely recommend.” I’m including the links below for your convenience. Reviews are critical for online algorythms to rank HENRY as a recommended book and alert others it’s a good read.
– Recommend HENRY to your book group. I love speaking to book groups.
From my family to yours: Happy New Year! Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku! Frohes Neues Jahr! Bonne Année! Feliz Año Nuevo!
As you reflect on the coming year, in the words of Clarence from Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life: Remember no man is a failure who has friends.