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Leap!: What Will We Do with the Rest of Our Lives?by Sara Davidson
Synopses & Reviews
The Long and Winding Road
When I walk through the stage door of the Roseland Ballroom in New York, I hear an unmistakable riff--the long electric piano solo that spirals up and down until it can't go higher or become more intense and then it resolves as Jim Morrison comes in to sing: The time to hesitate is through . . .
Light My Fire by the Doors was the number one song in America in 1967. But onstage at Roseland almost forty years later are Ray Manzarek, the original keyboard player, Robby Krieger, the original guitarist, and between them, replacing Jim Morrison, is Ian Astbury, a singer in his thirties who looks so much like Morrison that the image of the three suggests The Picture of Dorian Gray. Ray and Robby are in their sixties, with silver hair and deeply lined faces, but Jim doesn't seem to have aged--he looks frozen at twenty-seven, the age he was when he died.
The Doors of the Twenty-first Century, as they call themselves tonight, are doing a sound check for a concert celebrating fifty years of rock 'n' roll. Ray stands at the electric piano, wearing a black Issey Miyake shirt with pleats over gray pants. His hair is slicked back, and he's rail thin from lifting weights, swimming, and yoga. I feel juicy, Ray says into the microphone, testing the level. I feel juicy now. I got filth running through my blood, Robby. It's gonna be a dirrrrr-ty night. It's also going to be a loud night, and I make a note to come back later with earplugs and my glasses.
The Doors created and released albums for only four years, 1967 to 1971, but they've been embraced by succeeding generations, and my son has the lyrics to a Doors song on his blog. After Jim's death, Ray kept making music on his own and wrote two books, none of which connected with a mass audience, but that was all right. He hadn't played a Doors song in thirty years when in 2002 the Harley-Davidson company asked the Doors if they would re-form the group to perform at an L.A. concert celebrating Harley's hundredth anniversary. Robby and I said, 'Let's do it ' Ray recalls, but John Densmore, the third living Door, said his ears were too badly damaged to play drums. Their manager brought in another drummer and, to sing, Ian Astbury of the Cult.
Playing for thousands of inflamed Harley-Davidson riders at the California Speedway was so much fun, Ray says, that they went on the road as the Doors of the Twenty-first Century, until a lawsuit forced them to drop the Doors name and perform as Riders on the Storm.
Backstage at Roseland, I ask Ray how he deals with the fact that his most well-loved work was done more than thirty years ago. He waves his hand, dismissive. I tell him I have the same issue on a smaller scale. My first book was a bestseller--it was number two in the country and made into a miniseries. I've written five books since then and hundreds of articles and screenplays, but none has had that impact. I used to feel upset because people would meet me and say--
I know what they tell you, Ray says. You were big once upon a time, and you don't have it anymore. Well, thank you very much, really nice of you to point that out. Have you ever h
Addressing the question "What should I do with the rest of my life?," a study of the baby boom generation looks at the opportunities and pitfalls they confront as they engage in the second half of life, offering portraits of those making voluntary choices, those being forced out of their work, and those enthusiastically using their experience to seek success. Reprint. 30,000 first printing.
Thirty years ago, Sara Davidson wrote the phenomenal bestseller Loose Change, the definitive book about the boomer generation’s coming-of-age. Now this witty social observer has again turned her discerning eye to her contemporaries, with Leap!, a no-holds-barred, illuminating, and hopeful look at the choices and challenges we face and the roads open to us.
For many years Davidson earned a living as a successful journalist and screenwriter, but in her fifties she saw her life come apart: She could no longer find work, she endured a break-up with her partner, and her children left for college. For the first time ever, she had nothing to do. She felt adrift, but she found that she was not alone.
In Leap!, Davidson sets out on a passionate quest to learn how to do the coming years well. Drawing on her own experience and that of others, she explores such questions as
• How does a high-powered person learn to walk down the ladder gracefully?
• How can women continue to be sensual and not touch-deprived?
• How do we arrange to grow old with our friends?
• What will be the fire at the center of our lives?
• Why are we still here?
Davidson interviews people from across the country and from all walks of life, including such icons as Carly Simon, Tom Hayden, Tracy Kidder, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, and Iman, as well as teachers, writers, psychologists, businesspeople, and spiritual leaders. The candid portraits are both inspiring and cautionary.
True to character, boomers will approach these years differently from previous generations, and there will be no single path. Some will feel free for the first time to take risks; others will embark upon a spiritual search; some will want to give back, to make the world a better place; others will want to play or make creativity a priority. But they will not fade quietly into the sunset.
With Leap!, Sara Davidson holds up a mirror for readers, allowing them to see not only themselves and those around them but their potential future. With Davidson as a guide, the possibilities are boundless.
From the Hardcover edition.
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