When I was in college in the late 1960s, I ran across a small framed poster of a prose poem by the name of "Desiderata" in a mall gift store. As I stood there reading it, I was struck by the profound nature of its phrases and phrasing, so I bought it for a few dollars. These many years later, I still have that very framed copy of it. The version of "Desiderata" that now hangs in the foyer of my home was professionally calligraphed, so it looks a bit different, but the words are just as profound to me today as they were that first time I gazed upon them.
Over the years, I have referred to "Desiderata" innumerable times as something in life would come up that caused it to flow back into my mind. "Desiderata" is many things, but one thing it is for sure is a prescription for life offered by its author, Max Ehrmann. I have tried to live my life by its dictates, but, as I state in the preface to Desiderata The Book, "spectacularly unsuccessfully at times." Nonetheless, I know what a wonderful prescription for life it is, and I keep trying.
A few years ago, as I was writing a chapter in a work of fiction, "Desiderata" came to mind for some reason. I called it up on the computer and gazed once more on its words until I settled on the phrase that was the answer to my fiction-writing situation. As I sat thinking about "Desiderata," it came to me that I had never seen a serious amplification or interpretation of this prose poem, a work revered by millions of persons worldwide. I then had the idea that each of its 23 phrases could be treated at chapter-length. Soon I added other elements to the project I knew I wanted to write, and so I did, with the assistance of my good friend Bob Allen. The result is Desiderata The Book.