Stuart Greenbaum has been around aging-related groups and aging issues for a long time. A top-notch public relations and media professional, he has been responsible for many projects that McKnight’s readers have either taken part in or could benefit from.
Those include exhibits at LeadingAge annual conferences, media events with the California Association of Health Facilities, and activities at Eskaton, which has provided social and health services to Northern California seniors for over 50 years.
He’s written or edited multiple books, including “Longevity Rules,” “Media Takes: On Aging” and “Before the Aging Boom Goes.”
Now, we have “Humble Sky [Ages of the Uninhibited Mind],” his first work of fiction. Let’s hope it’s not his last.
The first time I read it, I was so charmed, I ultimately became irritated because I couldn’t put it down to get some overdue work done. This is about the intersection of a compassionate caregiver, inspired senior citizen and — inserted for more than just grins — a young boy who learns plenty at the local senior care center.
The sometimes sobering dialogue between Henry, the aging genius, and his caregiver Hanna reveals a sparkling relationship that all professionals should aspire to. The other main character, Sherman, is an inquisitive kid from the Bronx who adds another dimension to Henry’s journey of discovery. Together, they are unbeatable.
Clearly, Greenbaum’s is an uninhibited mind, like the one referred to in the publication’s title. Otherwise, how could he deliver such thought-provoking give-and-take? Such heart-tugging passages and observations? Many PR professionals strive to captivate with verbal patter, much of which rings hollow. Greenbaum, however, breaks into a whole new plain of warm discourse that keeps the reader wondering where Henry’s mind is going to take us next.
The dialogue between young and old, caregiver and patient, those rooted in reality and those trying to conquer their own new worlds, will all be oh-so-familiar to caregivers. Yet this story of struggle and enlightenment is anything but common.
At 72 pages, this polished novella can be consumed in one or a few quick sittings, though the driving plot will likely compel the former.
Greenbaum, who hopefully is working on his next writing project at this moment, is selling softcover copies of “Humble Sky” (not to be confused with his blog of the same name) on his website. You’d be doing yourself, and anybody who cares for others, a favor if you picked up a copy or two.
Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.