My son has written a book. My son is an author. Looking back through the years, this is something I never imagined I would be saying and writing about. But he did, and I am, and I’m so very proud of him.
Let me give you a brief history of how this came to be, as it’s a path full of twists and turns. From the age of 5, when he first started playing basketball at the Y, my son was all about sports. He was a natural athlete, and seemed to thrive on the routine, the practices, the games, and at a young age, decided he wanted to make this his career. His dad and I went to every game, drove all over the place with a van full of boys, sent him to basketball camps, and even put him on a plane to go to Las Vegas to play. He received scholarship offers for college and ended up going to a great junior college that sent all of their players to Division I schools to complete their degrees. We always told him that making it in sports was not a certain thing and to make sure he had another goal along with that dream, and he chose Communications, working towards being a sports announcer. He was thriving at his college, first time away from home, getting good grades, working in the College President’s office, President of the Minority Student Group, and working towards his basketball dream. But at the end of the school year, the summer before he would have been the starting point guard, he was injured, not by basketball but rather by a local kid who was part of a group of kids there to tour the college and participate in some college events. The kid had a knife and my son’s dream ended in the parking lot of the school, a life changing injury that forced him to come home. He could have died in that parking lot. I’ll never forget the phone call that I got, telling me what happened. He recovered physically, and eventually mentally, but his dream for basketball never recovered.
I remember worrying all of the time about his future. He lived and breathed sports, basketball, and had a real shot at playing professionally. That dream was not to be. So what would take its place? He continued with college, changing his major, but nothing seemed to be a good fit until finally he changed to Health Promotions and found himself loving that major. This started him on a path of health and wellness and brought about the change of life that he needed. He changed his diet, became an advocate for healthy eating and taking care of his body, wrote a health curriculum, became a personal trainer, and began a new dream. During this time, he also changed as a person. He began reading, a lot, studying philosophers and redeveloping his own philosophy. He became more spiritual and looked into himself to grow and find new meaning. He wanted to make a difference.
About this time, he and his girlfriend made a trip to Lilydale. For those of you who don’t know, Lilydale is a camp and meeting place for Spiritualists and Freethinkers. It’s in upstate NY, set on a lake with a Victorian ambiance, attracting thousands of people annually. There are workshops and speakers, mediums and spiritualists, and the calm, wooded setting is seen as a place to connect with nature while recharging your batteries. “People come here for a lot of reasons”, stated Susan Glasier, executive director of the Lily Dale Assembly. “They come for private readings, the workshops, or they just come to be”. While there, my son prayed to be used for something bigger than him and described the trip as “spiritually amazing.” He spent a good bit of the first day in the library, a spiritual media library, reading and thinking. He visited various prayer spots, sat in the sweat lodge where he participated in the music, holding the “shaker” and made an affirmation-“Please use me to help the world. I’m ready.” He also felt the presence of his grandfather, my dad, who told him to pursue something from childhood. He and his grandfather were very close so this feeling of his presence meant a lot to him, giving him a feeling of peace. My son was always a spiritual person, even as a child, so this trip was a reawakening of that spirituality. He also liked to write and actually won an award for poetry. This was possibly the meaning from his grandfather.
After returning home, he continued to read and think and one night, while lying in bed, he saw the word “Future” in his mind, got up to get a pen and began to write. For two days he continued to write, calling out from work, and completed about 85% of the book. Finding Your Future” was born.
So what is this book about? I think it’s many things for many people. It took years to write, and rewrite, the language changing as my son grew as a writer. And as he grew and expanded his thinking, the book morphed into its present form. It’s the kind of book that makes you hold a highlighter at the ready, to underline phrases you want to read again and again. It contains chapters that are pertinent to some while not to others, so it’s also a book that you may skip around and read a chapter that has meaning to you, to go back to later, to reflect, to even change your thinking. It focuses on love, family, life, environment, our growth as people but also as beings connected to each other. The timing of this book is perfect as our nation divides under the new “leader” so it can also be seen as a manifesto to bring us back together. Each chapter begins with a quote, with the first being from Lao Tzu, “To lead people, walk behind them”, and other notables such as John F. Kennedy, Dali Lama, Socrates, Tupac Shakur, all giving a positive path forward in life. If you are looking for positivity for women, the chapter on “Women” explains the extreme importance women play in our society and the respect we are due, pertinent to the #MeToo movement; “Health” shows us the necessity to treat our bodies in a respectful manner, and “Old vs Age” begins with a quote by Sophia Loren, “There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity your bring to your life and the lives of those you love. When you learn to tap this source you will have truly defeated age.” I find this chapter personally pertinent as I age and plan this last third of my life, trying to stay relevant and valued though sometimes feeling invisible. I want to use my talents until the end, not just wait for life to be over. It’s harder to feel valued at this stage of life and my son and I have had many discussions about aging, staying positive, and continuing to build a life.
This book is also somewhat of a family affair. My niece proofread, as did I. My brother-in-law acted as advisor for publishing, formatting, lay-out, printing, the technical side of book writing. My other niece created the “Autore” logo and my grandson is on the cover. It was wonderful to have their support and encouragement, and it was so exciting when we realized that this book was finally ready to publish.
As his mother, I of course am going to encourage you to go to Amazon, type in Finding Your Future, and buy the book. But also as a reader and a writer, I think that you will find great value in this book. We all are looking for our future, no matter our age, gender, religion, or ethnicity. We all want to find happiness, success, purpose, but sometimes need a little guidance. Let Finding Your Future give you that guidance.
If you live locally, there will be a book signing on June 16th, 11:00 AM at Bogart’s Book Exchange on High Street in Millville, NJ. You can meet William and have him sign your copy. The book is also going to be used by local youth groups, as a book club read. He is in NY this weekend, promoting it. And there are more books to come. This won’t be the last you will hear of William Autore. My son, the author.