Out of Money Less Than A Decade In Front of Retirement? At Middle Age, Life is a Pipedream

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Author Anchor Stevens offers a gripping story of one man's harrowing experience leading up to the economic bubble burst, and how his protagonist, Jimbo, attempts to avoid financial catastrophe if for no other reason than to simply get through. Moving from personal disgust to despair to desperation and back, Jimbo leads us through an imaginative tale that may be all too common in modern America. Welcome to Pipedream: Life at Middle Age.

"No money, no life," in a nutshell. It has taken Jimbo a long time to learn this simple fact of existence.

Running out of money a decade away from retirement is a particularly messy, debilitating, frightening affair. Author and self-publisher Anchor Stevens, introduces us to the character of Jimbo, an educated, professional man who has led an otherwise unremarkable, risk-free, reasonably responsible life. Until the arrival of his mid-forties he has known good fortune. But after years of battling the disruptive power of the computer, he makes the fateful decision to close down his small business, to which he has devoted almost 20 years. His pipedream life is underway.

The story opens after Jimbo loses his fourth professional gig in a decade, just before the bubble burst, in 2008, shortly after the age of his own father's death. In the aftermath, Jimbo quickly realizes he has for the first time reached a vague and indecipherable time of life, a moment when he first grasps with horror why he can no longer find steady employment—age. Jimbo is no longer employable. No matter what his skill set, connections, accomplishments, capabilities, experience, native traits or desires, he comes for the first time to see what the rest of the world apparently believes. His best days have passed him by. The world no longer values who he is or what he can do. For a generation unaccustomed to being irrelevant, this simple realization arrives as a cold, hard and terrorizing fact of his existence.

In his home office, his daily solitary, Jimbo sees the end of his modest resources coming at him with blinding speed. He can do nothing to prevent the circumstance from enveloping him in merciless fashion. Jimbo’s entire sense of reality is turned upside down– as is his grasp of what is still professionally possible in a decaying job market complicated by the passing of time, debt and his own substantial misjudgments.

Quickly, Jimbo's troubles become acute. In only a few short years, after each job loss, he has racked up heavy personal debt. Against his home, he has taken out, first, student loans to get his children through college and then second mortgages to help finance new, entrepreneurial ventures that have not taken root. Like millions of Americans, Jimbo thought the big bubble would go on and on, and that in time, he would bounce back, as he always had.

Under the weight of his agonizing fall from grace, Jimbo’s critical personal relationships suffer as he suffers. His wife, Ella B., does what she can to push him along, though she cannot do for him what needs to be done. No one can. His sons live at a distance, friends fall away.

In his fictional encounter, Anchor Stevens takes us on a wild ride of circumstance and emotion, hurtling between disaster and despair, between moments of extraordinary clarity and exhilaration followed by others of mayhem and horror. Underlying his very being is a certain realization– the grim reality that the money is gone– savings, investments, even his 401ks, all modest, but now, spent. The gig is up. Living estranged takes on new and ominous meaning. What is he to do between the age when his skills are no longer valued, and the statistical age at which the lives of most come to an end?

Jimbo fights the urge to drink, the urge to take pills (http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-medications-antidepressants), the urge to sleep continually and the urge to give up, entirely. His growing sense of his own sheer ineptitude, rules.

Ironically, day-to-day life is complicated by his determined, stubbornly persistent idealism. Jimbo believes, fleetingly, he can and will find his way out of this life-threatening, hapless predicament. Despite long odds, his deteriorating health, and an increasingly large disconnect with reality, Jimbo clings to the far-off notion that a particular date will arrive when he will be delivered, when all will be repaired once again, and his life, their lives, will return to normal.

Is there to be any redemption? If Jimbo can’t find a job-job, he will start-up several new on-line enterprises one of which will surely become successful. He will apply all his accumulated knowledge of self-employment, and simply dig his way out, by the grace of God, one day at a time. He will develop new skills even at this late age, skills that will get him back into the game, one last time. Using his still-vital imagination even in the most far-fetched ways, he will by some means or other find a way to keep him and his wife Ella B., going. Through it all, Jimbo comes to realize the power of the Holy Spirit in his own life, and the role of faith in his daily struggle.

If there is a book out there that highlights any more forcefully the frustrations and disappointments in the American workplace and the personal sense of dread and terror that inhabit the lives of those who comprise the corporate landscape (http://www.globalissues.org/article/768/global-financial-crisis), this writer does not know of it. Anchor Stevens has created a work that is the 2009 winner of the book-length Eaton Literary award (http://www.eatonliterary.com/awards.htm), and one can understand why.

Pipedream: Life at Middle Age is available on line from two sources:
CreateSpace: https://www.createspace.com/3541632
Amazon publishing: http://www.amazon.com/Pipedream-life-middle-anchor-Stevens/dp/1460914961

Parties interested in representing this book at the upcoming Book Expo (http://www.bookexpoamerica.com) at the Javits Center, NYC in May 2011 can contact the author at anchorstevens(at)gmail(dot)com


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