Woody Allen comes out with a new film. And lately, every year I come out with a new book, and this year is no exception. Now Woody and I who are almost exact contemporaries (he arrived on Planet Earth just twelve days before I made it here) are both 87, and it’s rumored this year will be his last film. So, too, for me. My new book is definitely my swan song. Yes, I know! I already told you that my previous book, Blogging Toward Infinity, would positively, absolutely be my last one. It seems I was premature. It’s actually this one. May I tell you just a bit about it?
The title is A Near-Death Researcher’s Notebook: What I Have Learned About Dying, Death and the Afterlife. It’s available now on Amazon for a pittance: $12.95. Here’s a bit about the book from the copy on the back cover:
Beginning with a hilarious account of the foibles and follies of a body that has expired before the author has, renowned NDE researcher, Kenneth Ring, in this collection of essays takes the reader on an exhilarating ride on the train whose destination is death – yet the journey is anything but morbid or depressing. On the contrary, in these genial, entertaining, and often witty essays, Ring invites us to ponder not just the hardships of facing death (he does not shy away from the anguish of dying), but what we can learn about how to live fully before we die. He even considers ways to ease the transition into death by the use of psychedelics. But much of the book distills what Ring has learned from his long career of researching near-death experiences, and the promise they hold out for us of a life beyond this one.
Although Ring can write with a light touch, the book also grapples with serious issues, such as the ethics of the right-to-die movement, the epidemic of loneliness in modern American life, and the views of various literary and other writers who feel, unlike Ring, that life is a dead end and the idea of an afterlife is pure fantasy. Finally, you will find in some of these essays deeply moving stories of people dealing with death that may make you cry. And yet, the book leaves one feeling upbeat and hopeful about life. Hop on the train and enjoy the ride – while you’re still alive!
Does all this sound familiar? Yes, it should because all I did for this book was to cull some of my best essays over the past few years and collect them into a new volume so that people could read my deathless prose about death all in one place. Most of you, I hope, have already read some or maybe most of these essays, so obviously you’re not going to be interested to pay money when you’ve already read them for free. Although wasn’t it Henry Thoreau who said that a good essay was worth reading twice? Well, actually no. I believe that was me, though whether I was referring to Thoreau’s essays or mine, I no longer remember. Well, never mind.
What you might remember is that when my previous book was published, I wrote a blog called Advertisements for Myself, asking for your help to publicize the book or even to buy it. Well, I’m back with the same request here, so I might as well just paste in a couple paragraphs of that blog here.
I’m not just asking you to consider buying my book, though perhaps some of you will, or, if you do, whether you would be kind enough to write a review and post it on Amazon, which would be nice and appreciated. No, I would like to ask you another favor, if you’d consent to become a part of my coalition of the willing.
You see, although I don’t expect to retire on the royalties from the sale of this book, I would like to avoid ending my life as a literary failure. So, to avoid that sorry fate, since I am not able to use a professional publicist to toot the horn for my book, I’m hoping that some of you would be willing to post something about this book on your Facebook page or other social media that you use. Please don’t do this if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. In which case, just don’t expect to be invited to my next garden party.
Oh, before I leave you to better things, would you like to view my whimsical cover? Here it is:
Just a last word before I sign off. This book is actually best read before you die so you can be better prepared for your own death, in the unlikely event that you will have to undergo it someday. If you wait until after you die, it’ll be too late to do you any good. And I’ll lose any royalties as well.
As for me, all I have to do now is to wait for Woody’s last film. See you at the movies….