My sister Maggie (shown here at about age 8 with her violin) loved all things beautiful, musical, natural, fun and lively. She had a lot of trouble with mean people, but mostly she loved everyone and served everyone as a nurse and a friend and a mother. In my book, Marrow, about our journey of healing, I tried to do her spirit proud. When the book came out a year ago, I was glad to share our tale of love and healing. I believed that my experience being my Maggie’s bone marrow donor and the process we went through to heal our relationship—down to the marrow—had relevance to people in any kind of relationship. The book may be about sisters, but it’s also about how all of us kooky human beings long for love and connection, and yet we often act in our own worst interests. Little did I know just how relevant the book would be. Two weeks after Marrow launched, the 2016 presidential election stoked a rift in our country that has continued to deepen. Throw on top of that natural disasters, terrorist events, gun violence, and the quickening pace of daily life, and there has never been more of a need for each one of us to slow down, attend to what really matters, and be agents of love in our own families, workplaces, and communities.
On October 3rd the paperback version of Marrow came out. The cover's changed some, and so did the subtitle. I did this because many readers expressed to me that the original subtitle did not adequately answer the question: What genre is this book? Memoir? Self-Help? Spiritual adventure story? The answer is YES. The book is memoir—mine and my sister’s—but it also is a guide to reaching out to “the other”—whether that other is a sibling, a child, a mate, a parent, a colleague, the neighbor next door who votes differently, worships differently, looks, speaks, or just seems “other.” So I decided to create a subtitle to express the fullness of the book: Love, Loss & What Matters Most
I have received beautiful, grateful emails and letters from people around the world who found inspiration and courage in the pages of Marrow. I have read from the book in bookstores, churches, hospitals and book club living rooms. I just returned from Europe where I did a few readings, and I was touched by the universality of our human struggles and losses, victories and gifts. Despite the heaviness of these times, I feel hopeful. There are way more good people, fueled by love and courage, than those who would tear us apart. It makes me happy that Marrow is part of the love fuel. Sometimes I can even feel my sister patting me on the back, telling me that this human experiment may be taking its time and its toll, but it's all OK, it's all FOR something...so breathe deep, shore up your heart, and live big and give big.