To discover the talent that exists in the valley is akin to finding a new treasure during a walkabout.
Gary had an idea when he was eleven years old: Told that he was only average, he wondered if he could he be more average than anyone else—if he could be the most average kid in the world. The very idea made a shy boy who suffered from poor self-esteem feel suddenly special. The boy who wanted to be invisible and escape notice and family pain now had a mission. He was somebody. He could cope.
One way that helped Gary cope was developing a sense of humor. By studying comedians on Ed Sullivan and practicing impressions, he could make kids at the school lunch table laugh. Two years later at age 13, he was selected to perform up and down the Hudson River with Pete Seeger and the great folk entertainers of the 1960s. His show business career had started.
Schwartz carried the idea of being the most average around for fifty years and decided to write a book about it. The King of Average combines the wit and wordplay found in The Phantom Tollbooth with the tale of an average boy travelling his emotional landscape in the Realm of Possibility. He befriends a talking scapegoat named Mayor Culpa, a professional optimist and an equally professional pessimist called Kiljoy, and goes on a journey to reclaim his self-esteem and authenticity.
“We take the trauma of childhood with us into adulthood and, without self-awareness, we can suffer our whole lives.” says Schwartz. “I hope this story will inspire children to better understand their feelings and discover their own truth in an entertaining and fun way.”
If you are in the area, join his book release party at Boxley’s Wednesday from 6pm-9pm.