“When something goes right, it’s likely to lose me. It’s apt to confuse me. It’s such an unusual sight. I can’t get used to something so right.” —Paul Simon
You know how everything is terrible?
Not just these days but always?
And you’re actually so used to that, you’re sort of fine with it?
As Jerry Seinfeld said, in his classic acceptance speech at the Clio Advertising Awards: “We know the product is going to stink. We know that. Because we live in the world and we know that everything stinks.”
Well what if you got yourself involved with something—especially these days—that was six times better than you thought it could be, dared to even hope it would be?
That’s been my relationship, for the last nine months or so, with the people at Disruption Books.
Disruption is the publisher of my forthcoming collection of essays, called An Effort to Understand.
That’s a pretty nice cover, right?
Every single correspondence and conversation I’ve had with Kris Pauls, Alli Shapiro and the team at Disruption has been as clean, smart, honest and classy as that. Also cool and funny. Even the current phase we’re in, the normally gruesome process of line-editing, copyediting and fact-checking—even this is thoughtful, gentle, sensible and sane.
I’ve been around book writers all my life; indeed, it’s much of their wisdom that I’m drawing on from this book—and to a one, they’ve complained bitterly about their publishers, for being dumb, lazy, ham-handed and not at all like the Maxwell Perkins experience they had hoped for all their lives. Tell a writer you’ve found a publisher for your book, and prepare to hear, “Don’t get your hopes up, Kid.”
Meanwhile, I feel like I’m dealing with Scribner’s, in 1928; and Kris and company make me feel like they’re dealing with F. Scott Fitzgerald.
And we are both working very hard to make sure this book, when it appears in March, 2021, does what it promises: To draw on the wisdom of my life in communication, to help as many Americans as possible in “hearing one another (and ourselves) in a nation cracked in half”—an idea that seemed relevant a year ago but is beginning to seem like an emergency now.
There’s lots and lots of work left to be done after the editing—marketing and distribution work by Disruption and promotional work by me. But based on how this project has gone so far—and based on the response we’re getting from people who hear about this book (not to mention the hundreds of communicators who enthusiastically preordered it a year ago in numbers that got publishers’ attention in the first place)—I won’t lie to you:
Goddamnit, I’m starting to get my hopes up for this one.
Communicators, this is our book: So maybe you’ll allow yourself to hope, too, that our collected wisdom may lend a hand in helping this country achieve what Robert Kennedy called for half-century ago, on another dark night: “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another.”
If you haven’t pre-ordered a copy already, you may do so now, at Amazon.