When your baby book grows up
Written by
Miriam Weinstein
December 2016
Written by
Miriam Weinstein
December 2016

We often hear that producing a book is like giving birth. But what about after your offspring acquires a life of its own? Now that I have three books and two adult children, I can say that the metaphor continues to resonate. Your book can move in directions you never imagined. If you are lucky, you can go along for the ride.

My first book, Yiddish: A Nation of Words, brought me from being a lousy public speaker to being a reasonable one.It anointed me as a sort-of expert on the Yiddish language. I got to travel around the country, meeting Jews of more varieties than I had ever imagined.

My second book, The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes Us Smarter, Stronger, Happier, and Healthier, propelled me beyond the U.S., as I was hired by international corporations to proselytize about the benefits of eating together as a family. Now I was an expert on family relations, cooking, and household management, and I found myself holding the hands of young parents who felt beleagured by their pressured lives.

My new book, just out from SheWrites Press, is All Set For Black, Thanks: A New Look At Mourning. Now, it seems, I am an expert on death and grief. I have spoken at a funeral home, at a Death Education class, as well as at the standard libraries, bookstores, book groups, and universities. I am stretching my empathy muscles, as audience members tell me about the dreams, coincidences, and late night visions related to the deaths of dear ones. I have learned about Death Cafes, Death Salons, and the many ways that people comfort themselves after a loss. I have learned to be, not just a good speaker, if I say so myself, but a funny one, because this topic goes over better when we can share a grim joke and a good laugh.

Writing requires sitting alone in my little room. Publishing invites an engagement with an always-surprising world.

Let's be friends

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