BIOGRAPHY / SELF HELP
Ambush Publishing, Barksdale, TX
Softcover and eBook,979-8519097192, 314 pages
August 25, 2021
As you read Sonja Klein’s newest book, your eyes may widen, and you may wonder “Did she really just say that?”
Not Yet adds more fire to this West Texas writer’s reputation for being saucy and outspoken. It also serves up plenty of the wit and wisdom promised in the subtitle. One quick example: “One of my favorite boyfriends, Billy, once described living with me was like walking into a fireworks stand with all the fireworks going off at the same time.”
At its heart, Not Yet is a call to action for anyone who thinks they’ve grown too old and too settled to do anything else with their lives. “The anxiety of aging and dying should be replaced by purpose,” she declares. She exhorts her readers to keep doing positive, enlightening things for themselves while also trying to make good differences in other people’s lives.
Now approaching her eighth decade of life, her own keep-going purposes include writing more books, operating her ranch, and staying involved in the lives of her children and grandchildren. “At my age I cannot participate in protests or run for office with any hope of success,” she concedes. “But I still have my words, both spoken and written.”
You can be entertained and inspired by this book even if you have not yet reached any of the alleged “golden” years of being a senior citizen. Not Yet is her sixth book, and she has said she keeps writing not for fame and fortune, but as “a passion that keeps me alive.” Her new work contains an eyepopping 92 chapters, yet each is short, typically a page and a half to three pages. Most involve memories, opinions, and responses to events—whether out in the world, within her family, or within herself. And each essay or vignette builds up to a point to ponder.
“If I can stay focused on living one day at a time,” Klein contends, “and forget about worrying about the future or dwelling on the past — if I can live in the right now, the present — then every day will be not only a good one but also a great one.”
It’s tough, of course, to remain focused from one day to the next, much less one hour to the next. Life keeps coming at us from all directions. When Klein describes some of the unwanted struggles and surprises she has faced, she sometimes does it by blending light and dark humor in the same paragraph or sentence. For example, while referring to herself and her three surviving brothers in a chapter titled “Moral Compass,” she writes, “The four of us have been married 14 times, and if that does not show a lack of moral compass, I give up.”
You may not agree with every opinion she expresses. You may not identify with all of the deep places from which her views and personal pains sometimes arise. But if you’re currently living through your sixties, seventies, eighties, or nineties, and nervously pondering what’s next, Not Yet can inspire you to get more involved in life again and quit being a sitting—and just waiting--target.
Sonja Rose Klein is a native Texan and graduate of The University of Texas. After retiring, she lives up a canyon in west Texas, where she gardens, writes, and raises sheep and goats. She is active in the nearby communities of Barksdale and Campwood and has won awards for her poetry, essays and short stories. Sonja is an adventure traveler, having visited remote places around the world. She prefers the solitary journeys and knows her way around a shotgun.