New Books and Featured Reading Lists

Each week on the 49th Shelf homepage, we highlight new releases. We also make theme-based lists and showcase lists from guest contributors and 49th Shelf members. This page archives these selections so they are always available to our members.

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New Non-Fiction for the week of September 17th : Life Stories
The Real Lolita

The Real Lolita

The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel that Scandalized the World
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

I FIRST READ LOLITA at sixteen, as a high school junior whose intellectual curiosity far exceeded her emotional maturity. It was something of a self-imposed dare. Only a few months earlier I’d breezed through One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn. Some months later I’d reckon with Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth. I thought I could handle what transpired between Dolores Haze and Humbert Humbert. I thought I could appreciate the language and not be affected by the story. I pretended I was ready for Lolita, but I was nowhere close.
 
Those iconic opening lines, “Lolita, light of my life, fire of my loins. My sin, my soul. Lo-lee-ta,”sent a frisson down my adolescent spine. I didn’t like that feeling, but I wasn’t supposed to. I was soon in thrall to Humbert Humbert’s voice, the silken veneer barely concealing a loathsome predilection.
 
I kept reading, hoping there might be some salvation for Dolores, even though I should have known from the foreword, supplied by the fictional narrator John Ray, Jr., PhD, that it does not arrive for a long time. And when she finally escapes from Humbert’s clutches to embrace her own life, her freedom
is short-lived.
 
I realized, though I could not properly articulate it, that Vladimir Nabokov had pulled off something remarkable. Lolita was my first encounter with an unreliable narrator, one who must be regarded with suspicion. The whole book relies upon the mounting tension between what Humbert Humbert wants the reader to know and what the reader can discern. It is all too easy to be seduced by his sophisticated narration, his panoramic descriptions of America, circa 1947, and his observations of the girl he nicknames Lolita. Those who love language and literature are rewarded richly, but also duped. If you’re not being careful, you lose sight of the fact that Humbert raped a twelve-year-old child repeatedly over the course of nearly two years, and got away with it.
 
It happened to the writer Mikita Brottman, who in The Maximum Security Book Club described her own cognitive dissonance discussing Lolita with the discussion group she led at a Maryland maximum-security prison. Brottman, reading the novel in advance, had “immediately fallen in love with the narrator,” so much so that Humbert Humbert’s “style, humor, and sophistication blind[ed] me to his faults.” Brottman knew she shouldn’t sympathize with a pedophile, but she couldn’t help
being mesmerized.
 
The prisoners in her book club were nowhere near so enchanted. An hour into the discussion, one of them looked up at Brottman and cried, “He’s just an old pedo!” A second prisoner added: “It’s all bullshit, all his long, fancy words. I can see through it. It’s all a cover-up. I know what he wants to do with her.” A third prisoner drove home the point that Lolita “isn’t a love story. Get rid of all the fancy language, bring it down to thelower [sic] common denominator, and it’s a grown man molesting
a little girl.”
 
Brottman, grappling with the prisoners’ blunt responses, realized her foolishness. She wasn’t the first, nor the last, to be seduced by style or manipulated by language. Millions of readers missed how Lolita folded in the story of a girl who experienced in real life what Dolores Haze suffered on the page. The appreciation of art can make a sucker out of those who forget the darkness of real life.
 
Knowing about Sally Horner does not diminish Lolita’s brilliance, or Nabokov’s audacious inventiveness, but it does augment the horror he also captured in the novel.
 
 
WRITING ABOUT VLADIMIR NABOKOV daunted me, and still does. Reading his work and researching in his archives was like coming up against an electrified fence designed to keep me away from the truth. Clues would present themselves and then evaporate. Letters and diary entries would hint at larger meanings without supporting evidence. My central quest with respect to Nabokov was to figure out what he knew about Sally Horner and when he knew it. Through a lifetime, and afterlife, of denials and omissions about the sources of his fiction, he made my pursuit as difficult as possible.
 
Nabokov loathed people scavenging for biographical details that would explain his work. “I hate tampering with the precious lives of great writers and I hate Tom-peeping over the fence of those lives,” he once declared in a lecture about Russian literature to his students at Cornell University, where he taught from 1948 through 1959. “I hate the vulgarity of ‘human interest,’ I hate the rustle of skirts and giggles in the corridors of time—and no biographer will ever catch a glimpse of my private life.”
 
He made his public distaste for the literal mapping of fiction to real life known as early as 1944, in his idiosyncratic, highly selective, and sharply critical biography of the Russian writer Nikolai Gogol. “It is strange, the morbid inclination we have to derive satisfaction from the fact (generally false and always irrelevant) that a work of art is traceable to a ‘true story,’ ” Nabokov chided. “Is it because we begin to respect ourselves more when we learn that the writer, just like ourselves, was not clever enough to make up a story himself?”
 
The Gogol biography was more a window into Nabokov’s own thinking than a treatise on the Russian master. With respect to his own work, Nabokov did not want critics, academics, students, and readers to look for literal meanings or real-life influences. Whatever source material he’d relied on was grist for his own literary mill, to be used as only he saw fit. His insistence on the utter command of his craft served Nabokov well as his reputation and fame grew after the American publication of Lolita in 1958. Scores of interviewers, whether they wrote him letters, interrogated him on television, or visited him at his house, abided by his rules of engagement. They handed over their questions in advance and accepted his answers, written at leisure, cobbling them together to mimic spontaneous conversation.
 
Nabokov erected roadblocks barring access to his private life for deeper, more complex reasons than to protect his inalienable right to tell stories. He kept family secrets, quotidian and gargantuan, that he did not wish anyone to air in public. And no wonder, when you consider what he lived through: the Russian Revolution, multiple emigrations, the rise of the Nazis, and the fruits of international bestselling success. After he immigrated to the United States in 1940, Nabokov also abandoned Russian, the language of the first half of his literary career, for English. He equated losing his mother tongue to losing a limb, even though, in terms of style and syntax, his English dazzled beyond the imagination of most native speakers.
 
Always by his side, aiding Nabokov with his lifelong quest to keep nosy people at bay, was his wife, Véra. She took on all of the tasks Nabokov wouldn’t or couldn’t do: assistant, chief letter writer, first reader, driver, subsidiary rights agent, and many other less-defined roles. She subsumed herself, willingly, for his art, and anyone who poked too deeply at her undying devotion looking for contrary feelings was rewarded with fierce denials, stonewalling, or outright untruths.
 
Yet this book exists in part because the Nabokovs’ roadblocks eventually crumbled. Other people did gain access to his private life. There were three increasingly tendentious biographies by Andrew Field, whose relationship with his subject began in harmony but curdled into acrimony well before Nabokov died in 1977. A two-part definitive study by Brian Boyd is still the biographical standard, a quarter century after its publication, with which any Nabokov scholar must reckon. And Stacy Schiff’s 1999 portrayal of Véra Nabokov illuminated so much about their partnership and teased out the fragments of Véra’s inner life.
 
We’ve also learned more about what made Nabokov tick since the Library of Congress lifted its fifty-year Restriction upon his papers in 2009, opening the entire collection to the public. The more substantive trove at the New York Public Library’s Berg Collection still has some restrictions, but I was able to immerse myself in Nabokov’s work, his notes, his manuscripts, and also the ephemera—newspaper clippings, letters, photographs, diaries.
 
A strange thing happened as I looked for clues in his published work and his archives: Nabokov grew less knowable. Such is the paradox of a writer whose work is so filled with metaphor and allusion, so dissected by literary scholars and ordinary readers. Even Boyd claimed, more than a decade and a half after writing his biography of Nabokov, that he still did not fully understand Lolita.
 
What helped me grapple with the book was to reread it, again and again. Sometimes like a potboiler, in a single gulp, and other times slowing down to cross-check each sentence. No one could get every reference and recursion on the first try; the novel rewards repeated reading. Nabokov himself believed the only novels worth reading are the ones that demand to be read on multiple occasions. Once you grasp it, the contradictions of Lolita’s narrative and plot structure reveal a logic true to itself.
 
During one Lolita reread, I was reminded of the narrator of an earlier Nabokov story, “Spring in Fialta”: “Personally, I never could understand the good of thinking up books, of penning things that had not really happened in some way or other . . . were I a writer, I should allow only my heart to have imagination, and for the rest to rely upon memory, that long-drawn sunset shadow of one’s personal truth.”
 
Nabokov himself never openly admitted to such an attitude himself. But the clues are all there in his work. Particularly so in Lolita, with its careful attention to popular culture, the habits of preadolescent girls, and the banalities of then-modern American life. Searching out these signs of real-life happenings was no easy task. I found myself probing absence as much as presence, relying on inference and informed speculation as much as fact.
 
Some cases drop all the direct evidence into your lap. Some cases are more circumstantial. The case for what Vladimir Nabokov knew of Sally Horner and when he knew it falls squarely into the latter category. Investigating it, and how he incorporated Sally’s story into Lolita, led me to uncover deeper ties between reality and fiction, and to the thematic compulsion Nabokov spent more than two decades exploring, in fits and starts, before finding full fruition in Lolita.
 
Lolita’s narrative, it turns out, depended more on a real-life crime than Nabokov would ever admit.
 
OVER THE FOUR OR SO YEARS I spent working on this book project, I spoke with a great many people about Lolita. For some it was their favorite novel, or one of their favorites. Others had never read the book but ventured an opinion nonetheless. Some loathed it, or the idea of it. No one was neutral. Considering the subject matter, this was not a surprise. Not a single person, when I quoted the passage about Sally Horner, remembered it.
 
I can’t say Nabokov designed the book to hide Sally from the reader. Given that the story moves so quickly, perhaps an homage to the highways Humbert and Dolores traverse over many thousands of miles in their cross-country odyssey, it’s easy to miss a lot as you go. But I would argue that even casual readers of Lolita, who number in the tens of millions, plus the many more millions with some awareness of the novel, the two film versions, or its place in the culture these past six decades, should pay attention to the story of Sally Horner because it is the story of so many girls and women, not just in America, but everywhere. So many of these stories seem like everyday injustices—young women denied opportunity to advance, tethered to marriage and motherhood. Others are more horrific, girls and women abused, brutalized, kidnapped, or worse.
 
Yet Sally Horner’s plight is also uniquely American, unfolding in the shadows of the Second World War, after victory had created a solid, prosperous middle class that could not compensate for terrible future decline. Her abduction is woven into the fabric of her hometown of Camden, New Jersey, which at the time believed itself to be at the apex of the American Dream. Wandering its streets today, as I did on several occasions, was a stark reminder of how Camden has changed for the worse. Sally should have been able to travel America of her own volition, a culmination of the Dream. Instead she was taken against her will, and the road trip became a nightmare. Sally’s life ended too soon. But her story helped inspire a novel people are still discussing and debating more than sixty years after its initial publication. Vladimir Nabokov, through his use of language and formal invention, gave fictional authority to a pedophile and charmed and revolted millions of readers in the process. By exploring the life of Sally Horner, I reveal the truth behind the curtain of fiction. What Humbert Humbert did to Dolores Haze is, in fact, what Frank La Salle did to Sally Horner in 1948.
 
With this book, Sally Horner takes precedence. Like the butterflies that Vladimir Nabokov so loved, she emerges from the cage of both fiction and fact, ready to fly free.

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The Suitcase and the Jar

The Suitcase and the Jar

Travels with a Daughter's Ashes
edition:Paperback
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It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

Ten Years of Misadventures in Coffee
edition:Paperback
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Dreaming Sally

Dreaming Sally

A True Story of First Love, Sudden Death and Long Shadows
edition:Hardcover
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Excerpt

On the afternoon of Tuesday, July 2, 1968, I was lingering in the mezzanine of Toronto’s Malton Airport with a clus­ter of Odyssey kids, awaiting our flight to New York City. Coolly assessing two girls who were crying from homesickness even before we boarded the plane, I was struck how sick I was of home. Glancing toward the escalator, I caught sight of the familiar brown head rising into view. As Sally moved closer, I smiled hello, but she seemed distant. I was disappointed when luck failed to place us side by side on the Air Canada jet.

An hour later, we descended into the swelter of the Big Apple. As I rolled down the window of our dirty yellow cab, the clatter and heat combined with the festering stink of a garbage strike, and Real Life, terrible and beautiful, broke through.

The Italian, Naples-bound ocean liner SS Raffaello was parked in the harbour like a gargantuan private limousine. On the jetty, we merged with the kids from Vancouver and Halifax and were funnelled through a canopied gangplank. Coloured stream­ers unspooled like a scene in an old movie, and I found myself walking beside Sally, out of twenty-seven chances. Occasionally, wishing works.
 
Our tourist-class cabins were below the waterline. I unpacked my bag in a porthole-less space I would be sharing with three others— Sean, a co-survivor of a decade of UCC; Peter, a cheerful Vancouverite in horn-rimmed glasses; and Will, a handsome, friendly boy from UTS. I grabbed a top berth, only to find my nose a foot from the ceil­ing, inducing a wave of claustrophobia.

The nine-hundred-foot-long ship was only three years old and carried 2,500 passengers and crew—forty-five thousand tons of fun. The very sight of watertight doors unlocked my mental holdings of Titanic lore—the myth of unsinkability, the Irish rabble below and the Gilded Age plutocrats above, the iceberg. In anticipation of any­thing untoward happening on the trip, my mother had sewn a $20 bill into the lining of my madras jacket, as if a scrap of paper could divert any crisis. As the Statue of Liberty glided past, I was driven to tell anyone who would listen that the monument was rumoured to be modelled on the face of the sculptor’s mother and the body of his mistress. Boom, boom, I was an icebreaker.

In the dining room, we were assigned to tables of four, boy-girl, boy-girl, an inspired orchestration of instant double dates. The only down side: ties and jackets and dresses were mandatory at dinner. Drifting from table to table, Nick introduced his co-leader, Tammy, a twenty-year-old former head girl from the Vancouver private school Crofton House, a live wire of near-Twiggy thinness, as steeped in art history as Nick. Together they seemed almost too good to be true.

After dinner, Sally and I gravitated to the spacious bar at the stern of the ship where a panoramic window overlooked a swimming pool and the setting sun. We knew we fell three-plus-years short of legal age, but no one demanded our ID. As we settled on stools and ordered drinks absurdly priced at a quarter apiece, Sally and I offi­cially graduated from the childhood sandbar to the adult cocktail bar.

Sally was still Sally, only more so. I was now close enough to smell the smoke on her breath, restudy the contours of the unusual face and head. It was what she was not that I liked best: no pretentious egghead, no remote porcelain doll done up in eyeliner, nylons, high heels, lipstick, perfume, no idealized, prefab, painted-by-numbers head girl, no worship-me-forever film queen. She was as real and alive as they came.

Careful not to stake a claim on her, I wandered off to mingle with the rest. I made an awkward stab at dancing with Margi, a diffident Halifax girl, to a band playing antique Guy Lombardo tunes, then a sudden rush of self-consciousness drove me to bed before midnight.

First thing in the morning, I cracked my head against the ceiling of my cramped berth. Convening for the first of daily meetings in a children’s playroom, we perched on yellow plastic munchkin chairs as if regressing to nursery school. We took turns standing up to give our names and schools; it would take time to pin all the names to the faces. Nick solemnly lectured us on the formation of the European Common Market and delivered a primer on the first Italian leg of the trip—Sorrento, Rome, Florence, Venice, Milan. When he forbade “fraterni­zation” between the sexes, the room swam with nervous giggles.

That afternoon, we sunbathed in deck chairs by the pool, lulled by the hot Atlantic wind; behind the mask of my sunglasses, my eyes ravished the sirens of bikini atoll, slathered in baby oil, slithering one by one down a pink slide into the cold salt water.

After a dip, I stood by the stern railing, mesmerized by the blue-and-white wake churning into a past I longed to forget. One of my father’s rare war stories, fuelled by drink, surged to mind: how he had stood on the conning tower of his frigate in the frigid North Sea, swinging one leg over the railing in anticipation of a U-boat torpedo—a confession of terror that had made me quietly proud of his honesty.

Nick appeared beside me, interrupting my daydream. “You can understand,” he offered, “why some people might want to leap in.”

I was so amazed that a mature male of the species had taken the time to attend to me that I was tongue-tied.

“I’ve noticed you tend to hang back from the group. You’re a bit reticent.” He made his observation in such a gentle way that I did not experience it as judgmental. But I merely nodded.

After dinner, once more we hit the bar. Moving from table to table, I deployed my categorizing mind to sort the group—thirteen girls, thirteen boys, aged seventeen to twenty. Most of us were the Protestant offspring of lawyers, physicians, businessmen, a senator, a judge, a mayor, a brigadier-general, a combat photographer, a former head of Canadian intelligence in World War II; our mothers were mainly stay-at-homers. Five of us were kids of doctors—me, Sally, Will, Liz and Annabel; only three went to public schools; only one was black, or half black. Some of us were scions of staunch Scots and Irish pioneers, founders and builders of meatpacking empires, the CBC, medical labs, exploiters of natural resources and commodities. I had trouble believing that we were in any way part of an immacu­lately conceived privileged class, subject to great expectations; yet that was the invisible air we had breathed since birth. The way I felt about myself, why would anyone envy me?

Most of the boys seemed like frogs among the princesses. Miniskirted Kat Joy, a perfect sixties name, was a gamine Vancouver free spirit who weakened my knees with a smile. Likewise her cousin Nikki—almond eyes, olive skin, jet black hair, a body off the cover of Vogue. A second set of cousins from Toronto, Havergal girls Annabel and Jane, turned my head. Margi, Chris, Marywinn, Barb, Robin, Liz, Kathy, Nan—redheads and blondes and brunettes, eyes of blue and brown and green, a melding mosaic of the shy and sheltered, worldly and bold, bony and fleshy, boozers and abstainers. I was learning at last that it was possible to have friends who were girls and not girlfriends.

The lack of marijuana and my aversion to beer propelled me to an intoxicant favoured by adults: Canadian Club rye, mixed with ginger ale, on the rocks. One strong, tingling sip of sweetness, then
two, then three, and then Sally pulled me onto the dance floor. I was the rust-bound Tin Man and she the can of oil. We did not touch—no slow dances yet. Avoiding eye contact, I fixed on her party dress, puffed at the shoulders, a swirl of yellow, turquoise and pink, a small, heart-shaped opening revealing a patch of slightly sunburnt skin above her breasts.

Gimme a ticket on an aeroplane,
Ain’t got time to take a fast train,
Lonely days are gone, I’m a-goin’ home,
My baby, she wrote me a letter.

Back at the bar, the Italian servers, Guido and Luigi, both card-carrying Commies, ruefully replenished drinks for the trainees of the WASP ruling class. Sally loved to talk, but she also listened to what I was saying, and the more she listened, the more my own words tumbled and rolled, and we fell into our old bantering ways.

“What sign are you?”

“A Stop sign!”

By the early morning hours, our group had merged into a sin­gle organism, drinking, laughing, losing our heads, even as the bow of the Raffaello sliced open a new time zone. The rigidly enforced, all-the-live-long-day timetables of family and school, with its unspoken program of erotic abuse, melted like the ice in my drink and we were back on the steps of Sally’s cottage, kicking the can. Were we getting older or younger?

Back in my berth, I pulled out my pocket travel diary and scrib­bled, “Unbelievably fabulous time with Sally!” Maybe someday I’ll find the words.

On previous trips, drunken yahoos had rolled grand pianos overboard. In contrast we were sweetness incarnate. One night, boosted into orbit by three rye and gingers, I was drawing a crowd
with my well-timed one-liners. By 3 a.m., the bar was nearly empty. Encouraged by Sally’s laugh, I flung myself horizontally across the room, scattering tables and chairs. An overnight convert from inhibi­tion to exhibitionism, I pounded the piano keys until the stool broke under my weight. Standing beside Sally on the open deck, I watched the rosy-fingered dawn poke through the fog.

Over a late lunch, Nick circled our tables to reprimand us. We had achieved a historic first: never in twenty years of tours had not one sin­gle person showed up for breakfast. Only in the afternoon sun did I notice the purple bruises decorating my flesh from my Superman flight. Meanwhile, word had leaked out that Nick was slinking into Tammy’s cabin where they were fraternizing as if there was no tomorrow.

After five straight nights of careening around our floating pleasure palace, I decided to cool my heels for a spell and retreated alone into the womb of the ship’s cinema. I was disappointed that the film, In Cold Blood, was dubbed into Italian—A sangue freddo—but I stuck it out because, by coincidence, I was reading the paperback of Truman Capote’s genre-busting masterwork.

Even though I knew how the story ended, I was transfixed by the haunting black-and-white imagery and the theme of capital punish­ment. The actor Robert Blake plays a condemned murderer on Death Row; minutes before his hanging, he murmurs a reflective soliloquy on his horrific childhood while staring out of a barred prison window; raindrops streaking down the pane reflect back on his face as the tears he could not cry. In the near-unwatchable final scene, his head hooded and torso harnessed like a toddler’s, he drops through the trap door in slow motion, the amplified sound of his heart fading, beat by beat, to a dead stop. Out of the darkness I stumbled, as if emerging from a familiar nightmare.

Back in the bar, I parked myself on a leather couch beside Sally
as she held court, gushing about a guy named George. Ultra-smart, athletic, witty, handsome, he was twenty-one and sported a beard. A beard? I was lucky if a few pathetic hairs sprouted out of my chin every full moon. She babbled on and on about George, the man she was going to marry, the kids they’d have, a boy and a girl named Jason and Kimberly, and a St. Bernard dog named Petunia. Careers, house, cottage, the works.

Jesus, I thought. All the names already picked out.

I wanted to shut her mouth with a kiss, even as an image of George branded my brain.

Thankfully, Sean asked the question for me: “Sally, are you actually engaged?”

“Well, not officially,” she replied, and I seized the slim opening as a sign of hope.

I was on deck, leaning on the railing, nestled between Sally and Nan, taking a breather from dancing. The ship was anchored, and in the dim moonlight we made out the famous profile of the Rock of Gibraltar. Ignited by Sally’s smile, I performed my killer imitation of Skull Bassett, my lugubrious ancient-history master: “Tomorrow we will pass through the Pillars of Hercules, the nine-mile-wide pelvic portal into the Mediterranean Sea and the Pagan World.” Then Peter burst through the bar door, a stray piece of shrapnel expelled by a blast of Rolling Stones. He grabbed the drink from Nan’s hand, flung it overboard and hauled her onto the dance floor.
Below deck in her cabin berth, Tammy rolled over and looked Nick square in the eyes: “You know, we’re never going to be this happy again.”

It was official: on our delirious crossing of an epic body of water, our group was falling in love with itself.

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Nobody Cares
Excerpt

When I first started my weekly newsletter, That’s What She Said, my thirst was palpable. Each instalment included links to my work and not much else, and it existed to prove that I was in demand and busy, and why couldn’t everyone see how important I was? Perhaps understandably, it died very quickly. Partially because nobody gave a shit, but especially because it was very boring to write.

Then in late 2015, I revved it back up again. I wanted to write without worrying about editors’ feedback or about being professional. I wanted to write what I wished someone would say to me when I was in the midst of a misery marathon or taking up residence in the bell jar. I wrote about my fuck-ups, fears, and real, human feelings (gross), and dove into events and experiences that weren’t gold star–worthy. In it, I was vulnerable, angry, and messy AF, but it felt good to write about life as an often-horrifying shitshow instead of what it looked like through an Instagram filter. For the first time since I’d started writing, I stopped trying to show everybody how great I was and focused on the merits of being a person unfinished. I began trying to work out my issues and feelings in real time and chose to learn as I went. Quickly, the newsletter became the place I could be me and sound like me and write like me and share with the world all the very best Leonardo DiCaprio GIFs the internet has to offer. I was finally happy just to be there. And for the first time in years, I didn’t give a shit about being important.

Which is a relief because I’m not. None of us are.

Nobody’s looking at us, nobody cares — everybody’s obsessed with their own Thing. Most of the time we’re all just trying our best. And sometimes we fail and other times we don’t, but we’re sure as shit not better than anybody else before or after the fact. If you can look at your life and feel confident that you’re doing something you love and giving it all you’ve got, I think that’s enough. Especially since not even a tidal wave of third-party congratulations will make you feel better if you don’t already like where you’re at. No amount of RSVPs, no parties, no Cool Guys From Whatever City Is Hip Right Now’s adulations. No book deals. You are always left with yourself.

And it turned out people liked my messy-ass self. Including (and somewhat ironically), two book editors who reached out to my agent. So, I’ve tried to keep toning down my quest to prove how special I am, because I’m not. And to care that much about being famous or world-renowned is exhausting. It’s a waste of time and energy. Yet even while typing that sentence, I know I’m still battling. My tightrope walk between anxiety-fueled work binges and genuine hustle, between thirst and a healthy amount of ambition, is a balance I still navigate— daily. And I’m so used to it at this point, I think I’d miss it if it went.

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Clifford

Clifford

A Memoir, A Fiction, A Fantasy, A Thought Experiment
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
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Excerpt

Clifford showed me how the knights in the old days jousted.

“See this.” It was a post he’d dug into the ground a little taller than my five-year-old self, with a board nailed to the top at right angles. One nail — because nails were precious and not to be wasted ¾ and a bit of plywood on one end. The other end of the board, an eight-foot two-by-four, that he didn’t trim off, either because he didn’t want to spend time sawing it, or because he would get in trouble for wasting wood, was left jutting out on the other side of the post. “That piece of plywood is the shield. Now I’m going to come down the hill on that bicycle. That's my horse. And this” — a pole about six feet long — “is my lance.”

“You watch.” He took me by the shoulders and stood me off to the side. “Now you’re going to see how it was done.”

He came off that bit of hill on that bicycle that didn’t have any tires, just bare metal rims that rattled as he picked up speed. The hill, because the bicycle didn’t have any petals and he needed the assistance of gravity. One end of his lance tucked up under his arm, the other end — “You have to hit the shield right dead centre. That’s the way they did it”— out in front of the bicycle that had a fair bit of hurry as he came past me.

And he did it.

I was the witness.

The lance did hit the shield right dead centre. A solid hit.

The shield spun away, pivoted on the single nail driven into the top of the post, and the other end of the board spun around, exactly like he planned it, exactly like he told me it was going to work. Except I don’t think he expected the long end of the two-by-four to come around so quickly and catch him on the back of the head.

I pick up the hoop. That’s all it is, a piece of plastic tubing, big enough to fit over a five- — maybe I was six or seven — year-old boy.

Clifford’s bubble maker.

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Close to the Falls

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New Non-Fiction for the week of September 10th : Lives of Girls and Women
I'm Afraid of Men
Excerpt

I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me fear.

I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the word girl by turning it into a weapon they used to hurt me. I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to hate and eventually destroy my femininity. I’m afraid of men because it was men who taught me to fear the extraordinary parts of myself.

My fear was so acute that it took almost two decades to undo the damage of rejecting my femininity, to salvage and reclaim my girlhood. Even now, after coming out as a trans girl, I am more afraid than ever. This fear governs many of the choices I make, from the beginning of my day to the end.

In the morning, as I get ready for work, I avoid choosing clothes or accessories that will highlight my femininity and draw unwanted attention. On the hierarchy of harassment, staring is the least violent consequence for my gender nonconformity that I could hope for. And yet the experience of repeatedly being stared at has slowly mutated me into an alien.

If I decide to wear tight pants, I walk quickly to my bus stop to avoid being seen by the construction workers outside my building, who might shout at me as they have on other mornings.

When I’m on a packed bus or streetcar, I avoid making eye contact with men, so that no man will think I might be attracted to him and won’t be able to resist the urge to act upon this attraction. I squeeze my shoulders inward if a man sits next to me, so that I don’t accidentally touch him.

If I open Twitter or Facebook on the way to work, I brace myself for news reports of violence against women and gender-nonconforming people, whether it’s a story about another trans woman of colour who has been murdered, or the missing and murdered Indigenous women, or sexual assault. As important as it is to make these incidents visible by reporting them, sensationalizing and digesting these stories is also a form of social control, a reminder that I need to be afraid and to try to be as invisible as possible.

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Wages for Housework

Wages for Housework

A History of an International Feminist Movement, 1972–77
by Louise Toupin
translated by Käthe Roth
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Basements and Attics, Closets and Cyberspace

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Autumn Eats

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New Fiction for the week of September 3rd : New Fiction
Women Talking
Excerpt

 
The meetings have been organized hastily by Agata Friesen and Greta Loewen in response to the strange attacks that have haunted the women of Molotschna for the past sev­eral years. Since 2005, nearly every girl and woman has been raped by what many in the colony believed to be ghosts, or Satan, supposedly as punishment for their sins. The attacks occurred at night. As their families slept, the girls and women were made unconscious with a spray of the anesthetic used on our farm animals, made from the belladonna plant. The next morning, they would wake up in pain, groggy and often bleeding, and not understand why. Recently, the eight demons responsible for the attacks turned out to be real men from Molotschna, many of whom are the close relatives—brothers, cousins, uncles, nephews—of the women.

I recognized one of the men, barely. He and I had played together when we were children. He knew the names of all the planets, or he made them up anyway. His nickname for me was Froag, which in our language meant “question.” I remember that I had wanted to say goodbye to this boy before I left the colony with my parents, but my mother told me that he was having difficulty with his twelve-year-old molars, and had contracted an infection and was confined to his bedroom. I’m not sure, now, if that was true. In any case, neither this boy nor anybody from the colony said goodbye before we left.

The other perpetrators are much younger than me and hadn’t been born, or were babies or toddlers, when I left with my parents, and I have no recollection of them.

Molotschna, like all our colonies, is self-policed. Initially Peters planned to lock the men in a shed (similar to the one I live in) for several decades, but it soon became apparent that the men’s lives were in danger. Ona’s younger sister, Salome, attacked one of the men with a scythe; and another man was hanged by a group of drunk and angry colonists, male relatives of the victims, from a tree branch by his hands. He died there, forgotten apparently, when the drunk and angry men passed out in the sorghum field next to the tree. After this, Peters, together with the elders, decided to call in the police and have the men arrested— for their own safety, presumably—and taken to the city.

The remaining men of the colony (except for the senile or decrepit, and myself, for humiliating reasons) have gone to the city to post bail for the imprisoned attackers in the hope that they will be able to return to Molotschna while they await trial. And when the perpe­trators return, the women of Molotschna will be given the opportunity to forgive these men, thus guaranteeing everyone’s place in heaven. If the women don’t forgive the men, says Peters, the women will have to leave the colony for the outside world, of which they know noth­ing. The women have very little time, only two days, to organize their response.

Yesterday, as I have been told by Ona, the women of Molotschna voted. There were three options on the ballot.

1. Do Nothing.
2. Stay and Fight.
3. Leave.

Each option was accompanied by an illustration of its meaning, because the women do not read. (Note: It’s not my intention to constantly point out that the women do not read—only when it’s necessary to explain certain actions.)

Neitje Friesen, age sixteen, daughter of the late Mina Friesen and now permanent ward of her aunt Salome Friesen (Neitje’s father, Balthasar, was sent by Peters to the remote southwest corner of the country some years ago to purchase twelve yearlings and still has not returned), created the illustrations:

“Do Nothing” was accompanied by an empty hori­zon. (Although I think, but did not say, that this could be used to illustrate the option of leaving as well.)

“Stay and Fight” was accompanied by a drawing of two colony members engaged in a bloody knife duel. (Deemed too violent by the others, but the meaning is clear.)

And the option of “Leave” was accompanied by a draw­ing of the rear end of a horse. (Again I thought, but did not say, that this implies the women are watching others leave.)

The vote was a deadlock between numbers two and three, bloody knife duel and back of horse. The Friesen women, predominantly, want to stay and fight. The Loewens prefer to leave, although evidence of shifting convictions exists in both camps.

There are also some women in Molotschna who voted to do nothing, to leave things in the hands of the Lord, but they will not be in attendance today. The most vocal of the Do Nothing women is Scarface Janz, a stalwart member of the colony, the resident bonesetter, and also a woman known for having an excellent eye for measuring distances. She once explained to me that, as a Molotschnan, she had everything she wanted; all she had to do was con­vince herself that she wanted very little.

Ona has informed me that Salome Friesen, a formi­dable iconoclast, had indicated in yesterday’s meeting that “Do Nothing” was in reality not an option, but that allowing women to vote for “Do Nothing” would at least be empowering. Mejal (meaning “girl” in Plautdietsch) Loewen, a friendly chain-smoker with two yellow finger­tips and what I suspect must be a secret life, had agreed. But, Ona told me, Mejal also pointed out that Salome Friesen had not been anointed as the person who can declare what constitutes reality or what the options are. The other Loewen women had apparently nodded their heads at this while the Friesen women had expressed impatience with quick, dismissive gestures. This type of minor conflict well illustrates the timbre of the debate between the two groups, the Friesens and the Loewens. However, because time is short and the need for a decision urgent, the women of Molotschna have agreed collectively to allow these two families to debate the pros and cons of each option—excluding the Do Nothing option, which most of the women in the colony dismiss as “dummheit”— and to decide which is suitable, and finally to choose how best to implement that option.

A translation note: The women are speaking in Plautdietsch, or Low German, the only language they know, and the language spoken by all members of the Molotschna Colony—although the boys of Molotschna are now taught rudimentary English in school, and the men also speak some Spanish. Plautdietsch is an unwritten medieval language, moribund, a mishmash of German, Dutch, Pomeranian and Frisian. Very few people in the world speak Plautdietsch, and everyone who does is Mennonite. I mention this to explain that before I can transcribe the minutes of the meetings I must translate (quickly, in my mind) what the women are saying into English, so that it may be written down.

And one more note, again irrelevant to the women’s debate, but necessary to explain in this document why I am able to read, write and understand English: I learned English in England, where my parents went to live after being excommunicated by the bishop of Molotschna at the time, Peters Senior, father of Peters, the current bishop of Molotschna.

While in my fourth year of university there, I suffered a nervous breakdown (Narfa) and became involved in cer­tain political activities for which I was eventually expelled and imprisoned for a period of time. During my imprison­ment, my mother died. My father had disappeared years before. I have no siblings because my mother’s uterus was removed following my birth. In short, I had no one and nothing in England, although I had managed, while serving time in prison, to complete my teaching degree through correspondence. In dire straits, homeless and half-mad—or fully mad—I made a decision to commit suicide.

While researching my various options at the public library nearest the park in which I made my home, I fell asleep. I slept for an extraordinarily long time and was eventually gently nudged by the librarian, who told me it was time for me to leave, the library was closing. Then the librarian, an older woman, noticed that I had been crying and that I appeared dishevelled and distraught. She asked me what was wrong. I told her the truth: I didn’t want to live anymore. She offered to buy me supper, and while we were dining at the small restaurant across the street from the library, she asked me where I had come from, what part of the world?

I replied that I came from a part of the world that had been established to be its own world, apart from the world. In a sense, I told her, my people (I remember drawing out the words “my people” ironically, and then immediately feeling ashamed and silently asking to be forgiven) don’t exist, or at least are supposed to be seen not to.

And perhaps it doesn’t take too long before you believe that you really don’t exist, she said. Or that your actual corporeal existence is a perversity.

I wasn’t sure what she meant and scratched my head furiously, like a dog with ticks.
And after that? she asked.

University, briefly, and then prison, I told her.

Ah, she said, perhaps the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

I smiled stupidly. My foray into the world resulted in my removal from the world, I said.

Almost as though you were brought into existence not to exist, she said, laughing.

Singled out to conform. Yes, I said, trying to laugh with her. Born not to be.

I imagined my squalling infant self being removed from my mother’s womb and then the womb itself hastily yanked away from her and thrown out a window to pre­vent any other abominations from occurring—this birth, this boy, his nakedness, her shame, his shame, their shame.

I told the librarian that it was difficult to explain where I was from.

I met a traveller from an antique land, said the librar­ian, apparently quoting a poet she knew and loved.

Again I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I nodded. I explained that I was originally a Mennonite from the Molotschna Colony, and that when I was twelve years old my parents were excommunicated and we moved away, to England. Nobody said goodbye to us, I told the librarian (I live forever with the shame of having said such a piteous thing). For years I believed we were forced to leave Molotschna because I had been caught stealing pears from a farm in the neighbouring colony of Chortiza. In England, where I learned how to read and write, I spelled my name with rocks in a large green field so that God would find me quickly and my punishment would be complete. I also tried to spell the word “confession” with rocks from our garden fence but my mother, Monica, had noticed that the stone wall between our garden and the neighbours’ was disappearing. One day she followed me to my green field, along the narrow rut that the wheelbarrow had made in the dirt, and caught me in the act of surrendering myself to God, using the stones from the fence to signal my location, with huge letters. She sat me down on the ground and put her arms around me, and said nothing. After a while, she told me that the fence had to be put back. I asked if I could put the stones back after God had found me and punished me. I was so exhausted from anticipating punishment and I wanted to get it over with. She asked me what I thought God intended to punish me for, and I told her about the pears, and about my thoughts regarding girls, about my draw­ings, and my desire to win in sports and be strong. How I was vain and competitive and lustful. My mother laughed then, and hugged me again and apologized for laughing. She said that I was a normal boy, I was a child of God—a loving God, in spite of what anybody said—but that the neighbours were perturbed about the disappearing fence and I would have to return the stones.

All this I told to the librarian.

She responded that she could understand why my mother had said what she did, but that if she had been there, if she had been my mother, she would have said something else. She would have told me that I wasn’t normal—that I was innocent, yes, but that I had an unusually deep need to be forgiven, even though I had done nothing wrong. Most of us, she said, absolve our­selves of responsibility for change by sentimentalizing our pasts. And then we live freely, happily, or if not altogether happily, without tremendous anguish. The librarian laughed. She said that if she had been in that green field with me, she would have helped me to have that feeling of somehow being forgiven.

Forgiven for what, though, exactly? I asked her. Stealing pears, drawing pictures of naked girls?

No, no, said the librarian, forgiven for being alive, for being in the world. For the arrogance and the futility of remaining alive, the ridiculousness of it, the stench of it, the unreasonableness of it. That’s your feeling, she added, your internal logic. You’ve just explained that to me.

She went on to say that, in her opinion, doubt and uncertainty and questioning are inextricably bound together with faith. A rich existence, she said, a way of being in the world, wouldn’t you say?

I smiled. I scratched. The world, I said.

What do you remember of Molotschna?

Ona, I said. Ona Friesen.

And I began to tell her about Ona Friesen, a girl my age, the same woman who has now asked me to record the minutes of the meeting.

After a long conversation with the librarian, during which I talked mostly, though not entirely, about Ona— how we had played, how we had clocked the seasons by the tiny lengthening of light, how we had pretended to be rebellious disciples at first misunderstood by our leader, Jesus, and then posthumously hailed as heroes, how we had jousted on horses with fence posts (running full tilt, like knights, like Ona’s squirrel and rabbit), how we had kissed, how we’d fought—the librarian suggested that I return to Molotschna, to the place where life had made sense to me, even briefly, even in imaginary play in dying sunlight, and that I ask the bishop (Peters, the younger, who was the same age as my mother) to accept me into the colony as a member. (I did not tell the librarian that this would also mean asking Peters to forgive me the sins of my parents, sins pertaining to the storage of intellec­tual materials and to the dissemination and propagation of said materials, even though the materials were art books, photographs of paintings that my father had found in the garbage behind a school in the city, and even though he was guilty only of sharing the images with other colony members, as he was unable to read the text.) She also suggested that I offer to teach the Molotschnan boys English, a language they would need in order to conduct business outside the colony. And she said that I should become friends, once again, with Ona Friesen.

I had nothing to lose. I took this advice to heart.

The librarian asked her husband to give me a job driv­ing for his airport limousine service, and although I didn’t have a valid driver’s licence, I worked for him for three months to make enough money to purchase a ticket to Molotschna. During this time, I slept in the attic of a youth hostel. At night, when it felt as though my head was about to explode, I would will myself to lie as still as possible. Every night, in that hostel, as I lay motionless in my bed, I closed my eyes and heard very faint strains of piano music, heavy chords unaccompanied by voices. One morning I asked the man who cleaned the hostel, and who also slept there, if he had ever heard faint piano music with heavy chords at night. He said no, never. Eventually, I understood that the song I heard at night, when it felt as though my head was about to explode, was the hymn “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” and that I was lis­tening to my own funeral.

Peters, who wears the same tall black boots his own father once wore, or at least similar ones, considered my request for re-admittance into the colony. He finally said he would allow me membership providing I renounced my parents (in spite of one being dead and the other miss­ing) before the elders and was baptized into the church and agreed to teach the boys basic English and simple math in return for shelter (the aforementioned shed) and three meals a day.

I told Peters I would be baptized and I would teach the boys, but that I wouldn’t renounce my parents. Peters, unhappy, but desperate to have the boys learn account­ing, or perhaps because my appearance unsettled him, as I looked so much like my father, agreed.

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A Sorrowful Sanctuary

A Sorrowful Sanctuary

A Lane Winslow Mystery
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New Non-Fiction for the week of August 27th : New Business and Finance Books
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The Proven Formula to Drive Customer Loyalty and Stand Out from the Crowd
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The End of The Nine-To-Five Era and Thriving In the Post-Job Economy
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Unleash Different

Achieving Business Success Through Disability
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Excerpt

Prologue: Just the Beginning

 

I had prepared for this moment for weeks, months, years. In some ways, I had been preparing all my life. Yet somehow it hadn’t quite hit home that it was really going to happen—at first, probably because it was so far off, and then because it was just so colossal. But now it was here. I was at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), about to ring the opening bell before three hundred million observers. Back when I was a trader, that bell had marked my starting line each day. On this day, it would mark the start of trading of a new stock market index—one that I had created. The Return on Disability Index would be the world’s first to recognize disability as a driver of shareholder value. It would measure the performance of companies that provided products, services, and careers to people with disabilities. By ringing the bell, I was about to launch 1.3 billion people into the global economy. No pressure.

Even in that busy room, my thoughts went back to a night in the bar with my crew at Columbia Business School, when I first voiced my ideas. “You know, guys, I’m getting all these requests and calls from disability groups, and I did the math. This market looks big. Nobody’s really looking at it.” My friend Dustin looked at me and said, “You know, Rich, you’re a successful guy. You’ve done well, and there’s this big body of people out there who need leadership. Isn’t it kind of incumbent on you to step up? I mean, this is something that you can do. This is something that you’re uniquely qualified to do.”

Most people don’t get to see the client lobby of the NYSE. It’s a gorgeous room, full of artifacts: ancient ticker tapes, memorabilia, and screens playing videos featuring the operations of listed companies. Anyone who steps inside will quickly understand, if they didn’t already, that this is not just a place where billions of dollars are exchanged each day. It is a place with history and meaning.

The NYSE staff greeted our party that had been invited for the opening bell ceremonies and led us to a room where they gave us name badges and a medallion to mark the day. We were then ushered into a boardroom that seemed to come straight out of a movie set. An impossibly long table extended into the distance. At the end was a kind of altar where you could imagine the leaders of the Stock Exchange in, say, 1894, discussing the fates of companies and building the institution that today is the world’s biggest arbiter of capital.

We had a brief reception to celebrate the occasion. The NYSE set a strict cap on attendees, so we only invited our biggest supporters—those who had been instrumental in getting our concept off the ground and who embodied what we were trying to do. We had the head of the UN agency on disability. My Luu, the former global innovation, solutions, and policy director at IBM, was there. We had representatives from Pepsi; Mark Wafer, a disability champion formerly at Tim Hortons; and many others.

Our partners at Barclays asked me to give a speech. This was bound to be interesting, because most of the people in the room—NYSE officials, Barclays colleagues, other business people—had never heard me speak before. I think the Barclays team especially expected a rah-rah speech on building community—the typical charitable approach. At that point, ours was a boardroom relationship. They didn’t know my speaking style and had no clue what I was going to say.

I was genuinely overwhelmed by my surroundings and the idea of launching this new financial instrument that would recognize people with disabilities as a market. I ended up giving probably the hardest-core business speech of my life. I don’t generally write speeches—I speak from the head and the hip. Toward the end, I remember saying, “This is not the end of the journey, this is just the beginning. This is where we focus on the economic potential of 1.3 billion people in the world who have disabilities. We put the power of financial capital behind these lives of phenomenal potential. That’s what this institution was created to do, and now we’re going to do it with disability.” I ended the speech with a call to action: “We’ve got some work to do, folks. Let’s get to work.” I don’t usually speak that way—I generally default to facts and the logic that flows from those facts. But in that moment, something compelled me to make that call to action. In the moment, it dawned on me that we were about to trade disability as a market for the first time. I owed it to the thousands of people with disabilities whom I had met to unleash my own passion. I owned my own identity as a person with a disability.

It was time to head to the trading floor. As is typical for me when I’m in an older building, I took the back way, the way the public never gets to see—which I kind of enjoy. I walked past offices and conference rooms and closed doors, and I could imagine some of the world’s great inventors walking through those halls. Once again, it dawned on me that we were breaking new ground by leveraging a centuries-old institution in a new way. I smiled and thought, Okay, let’s go.

To reach the podium on the balcony, we had to go up a flight of stairs. Some folks were obviously concerned about me getting up those stairs. Cerebral palsy (CP) gives my walk a distinct wobble, so if you don’t know me, you might think that climbing stairs was a problem. The NYSE had assigned me a security detail of three big guys. If I had had a wheelchair, they probably would have carried it. The attention was wholly unwarranted, but I found it grounded in genuine concern. Working with me requires people to think differently, and many certainly were.

I waved the big guys off and walked up the stairs just fine. When we got to the landing, I sat down and got my briefing: “This is what’s going to happen. In ten minutes we’re all going to go up on the podium, and at 9:29:50 you’re going to ring the bell. You press the button and hold it for exactly ten seconds. Then . . .”

“Wait a second,” I interrupted. “There’s a button?” At that point, my mind felt like it was about to explode. I had spent the early part of my career working on automating equity trading at Merrill Lynch, and I assumed that the opening bell rang thanks to an algorithm automatically linked to a clock. Nope.

“Are you sure you want the guy with CP ringing the bell?” I asked jokingly. Part of my disability functionally impacts my fine motor control. In other words, I shake a bit. Great, I was thinking, I’m going to be the guy who double-rings the Bell. Given the respect I have for the institution of the New York Stock Exchange, I didn’t exactly relish that prospect.

One of my Barclays colleagues said, in a stage whisper, “Isn’t that kind of the point of what we’re doing?”

Yes, we were putting people with disabilities in control. What blew me away, however, was that in this day and age, at the New York Stock Exchange of all places, where everything today is about computers, where financial modeling software conducts trades automatically and petabytes of data fly along fiber-optic superhighways every nanosecond of every day, you needed to put your finger on a button to ring a bell announcing that trading was open for the day. The enormity of the moment came down to the simple pushing of a button. It was perfect.

When our group moved up to the podium, we had an amazing view. There it was, spread out before us: the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange. I looked out over the packed room, a room I had first gaped at, bug-eyed, as an undergrad from Canada’s York University. A room that I’d surveyed with calculating eyes as an MBA candidate at Columbia Business School. And a room through which I had put billions of dollars during my time as a trader at Merrill Lynch. To say I was nervous would be a colossal understatement. For the next nine minutes and fifty seconds, I was utterly focused on that button. It was all I could think of until 9:29:50 finally came around, and I placed my left index finger on that button and pressed down using every newton of force that I could muster. The bell rang. It was loud. I had every muscle in my body trained on that fingertip. You could have come at me with the entire defensive line of the New York Jets and I wouldn’t have budged. After precisely ten seconds, I released.

For me, the game shifted at that point. Up until that moment, the lives of people with disabilities did not include one of the primary inputs of everybody else’s lives, which is financial capital. Now we had a platform to build from. A lot of people would look at me ringing that bell and see it as a crowning achievement, but I looked at it as a beginning, as a way to start something new. I looked at all of the things that needed to happen from that moment forward to bring this market into alignment with every other market of its size. It was mind-boggling. Change is not simple. You can’t brush it across the canvas like paint to make it magically appear. You can’t give a speech to a billion people and expect change to occur. It’s cumulative. First people make slight changes in what they do in their daily lives, both within institutions and in their interactions with those institutions. Multiply that by the number of institutions that we have, whether companies, brands, or governments, and it quickly adds up to billions and billions of new actions. To me that’s both very daunting and incredibly exciting.

Until we change the way we think and act with disability in every way, we are wasting the potential and futures of hundreds of millions of people. That’s why I must ask that as you go ahead and read this book, you, also, change the way you think about disability. So don’t expect that I’m going to offer you stories about my struggles to overcome limitations to do the everyday things that other people take for granted. A, boring. B, I learned from a pretty early age that if you want to have success as a person with disabilities, you focus on knocking the ball out of the park every chance you get. Because guess what? We will be judged on our results whether we have a disability or not. So as you read my story, please don’t handicap my performance, if you’ll excuse the expression, by feeling sorry for me. And please don’t come to me looking for inspiration. This book is intended to be 100 percent free of inspiration porn. I’m a business guy with a market-based vision for a new way to build economic value by attracting and delighting people via the process of thinking differently. It happens to have been informed by my personal experience of CP and my observations of people with disabilities acting in consumer and labor markets. I’ve written this book to share what it takes to make this vision come true—a vision that will “unleash different.” I invite you to join me on the journey.

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The Street Savvy Sales Leader

The Street Savvy Sales Leader

A Guide to Building Teams that Consistently Win New Business
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Invest Like You Give a Damn

Make Money, Change the World, Sleep Well at Night
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Love, Money & An Inspired Life
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