Check this Events List to see if Bruce will be appearing in your town on The First Love Story book tour.
Wednesday, April 28th, 2010
Sunday, April 25th, 2010
From the New York Daily News.
Bruce Feiler’s twin daughters, Eden and Tybee, were 3 when he was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer in 2008. Just days afterward, the best-selling Brooklyn author came up with the idea of asking six friends to look out for his daughters should he not survive. Feiler’s moving new book, “The Council of Dads,” tells their story.
How did the Council of Dads come about?
It was a reaction to a fear about what my daughters’ lives might be like without me. The first thing I imagined was all the things I would miss … all the questions they would have. “What would Daddy think about this?” “What would Daddy say about that?”
Where did the idea spring from?
I awoke from a half sleep, and there was … this letter forming in my head to my closest friends asking them to be there to answer my daughters’ questions. I said out loud, “I will call this group of men the Council of Dads.” As soon as I said those words, it seemed like they lived in the room.
How did you choose the members?
I was trying to fill the dad space. My wife, Linda, and I agreed that we should pick people who embodied all sides of me, each phase of my life. There is a travel dad. A make-your-dreams-happen dad. A values dad. A playful dad. A thinking dad. A nature dad. Now I kind of think of it as a team of godparents updated for a modern age.
How did it affect your friendships with the men?
The first time I read the letter to a friend I’d chosen, he’s crying. I’m crying. He said yes, and I was taken aback. I hadn’t realized this was a request you could turn down. In the end, they weren’t family, they weren’t just friends anymore. We − my wife and I and the girls − just had this whole new relationship in our lives.
It also changed your life?
The Council of Dads turns out to be less about parenting and more about friendship. We all think there’s a divide between family and friends. And when you have children, you can be so busy you think you don’t have time for friends. This built a bridge between our closest friends and our closest treasures, our children.
How did the Council work?
They never came together. They would come to see me in the hospital. But what started happening is that they would always build in time to visit with the girls. These aren’t just Daddy friends anymore. They are friends of theirs. The girls have nicknames for all of them.
You’re cancer-free. What is the status of the Council of Dads?
There is something incredibly powerful about telling your closest friends what they mean to you. It’s like we’re friend-married now. It’s like “till death do us part.”
The Council is an idea that is catching on.
The word has gotten around, and others are forming their own councils. I’m seeing divorced women do councils of dads because they want the male voice in their children’s lives. Women have councils of moms. I’m involved with a special program with the military to form councils of moms and councils of dads.
What do your daughters know about the Council?
They know they have a Council of Dads. They don’t know that the shadow of mortality hangs over the thing. I want to be honest with them, but not too honest.
Friday, April 23rd, 2010
He came to power at age 9. Under the wing of powerful handlers, he overturned the changes of his father’s regime and restored the state religion. He died 10 years later after a mysterious accident that strongly suggests he had outlived his usefulness to his advisers.
In the 3,000 year reign of Egyptian royalty, the pharaoh Tutankhamun was a minor-if-intriguing figure.
Yet this weekend, after a much-hyped national tour, King Tut rides back into New York as one of the most celebrated figures of the Ancient World—right up there on the list with Jesus, Moses, Caesar, Cleopatra, Alexander, and Socrates. And unlike most of them, the tadpole pharaoh didn’t have the Bible, Shakespeare, or Plato to sing his praises. He was the Boy King of the greatest empire on Earth and all he got was one lousy Steve Martin song to show for it.
What explains the ongoing Cult of Tut? “King Tut and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs” (which runs through January 2011) is one of three Tut shows in New York this spring. There is also a spate of “landmark” television shows, “limited edition” $2,000 necklaces, and “miraculous scientific discoveries.” Why is it that Tutapalooza feels like one of those aging hippie reunion tours that always seems to be on its “farewell leg” yet never goes away?
In short, King Tut: How’d you get so funky?
The answer, inevitably, is greed, power, and a few very clever benefactors. King Tut may have been a puppet, but he’s had extremely deft puppeteers.
Read the rest of piece in The Daily Beast here.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2010
Saturday, April 3rd, 2010
The ongoing miracles of a rebuilt leg. Today I completed my first HOPSCOTCH in two years! Here was my reward from my daughters.
Thursday, April 1st, 2010
BRUCE FEILER—whose books have recounted his adventures teaching in Japan, joining the circus and, in the best-selling Walking the Bible, retracing the steps of Abraham, Moses and other figures from scripture—likes to call himself an “experientialist.” But the experience recounted in his slim but moving new book, The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me, is one you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy.
In July 2008, Feiler, an inveterate walker and world traveler in his mid-40s (“I’ve sprained my ankle on six continents,” he says), was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in his leg. Suddenly fearing he might not have long to live, the father of then-two-year-old twin daughters Tybee and Eden hit upon a unique plan: Like Danny Ocean assembling his perfect heist squad, Feiler would enlist six men, reflecting various aspects of his own personality, as his stand-ins. The hope, he writes, was that “together, collectively, they might help father my potentially fatherless daughters.”
The resulting book is a stirring hybrid: a memoir of Feiler’s cancer treatment coupled with a heartfelt meditation on parenthood, masculinity and living life to its fullest. Combining a chronicle of what he calls his “lost year” (including months of chemo and a 15-hour surgery) with portraits of Feiler’s own father figures and his Council of Dads, it’s honest, heartfelt and exceedingly raw. The book’s power comes in part from Feiler’s willingness to delve into emotions—including feelings of tenderness not only for our children and spouses but between male friends—that aren’t often spoken of with such candor. “There I am with no hair, a scar from here to here, talking to my friends,” the author explains, sitting with a cane in the Brooklyn, New York, apartment he shares with his wife, Linda Rottenberg, and the girls, surrounded by art collected during his years of globe-trotting. “The experience forced me to drop the normal trappings of contemporary life—vanity, pretense, ambition. It was very clarifying. I was still in the twilight of that feeling when I sat down to write the book. I just didn’t care. And it poured off my fingers.”
Interestingly, the result turns out to have less to do with disease than with life itself. While women will undoubtedly find the book fascinating for the light it casts on the vagaries of the male mind, men will almost certainly be moved to reexamine their own roles as fathers and as friends. “I didn’t set out to write a book about being male in America,” Feiler says, “but people keep telling me that’s what I did.”