Sharing #TenThings about himself today is author Vinnie Apicella whose book Escape From America is available now. You can order your copy online here: Escape From America. Thanks to Kelly from Love Books Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour.
1. I’m an introvert and I’m an extravert. I don’t know if there’s a word for this, but I find value in both.
2. I recently released my new book Escape from America: An Introspective Journey from America into China. As my first and perhaps only book, I poured everything I had into it, and so when I reveal how it’s a book that can “apply to a broad audience,” indeed it can. It’s about America and China, two countries that are always making the news, but it’s so much more. It’s about my “journey,” but it’s so much more.
To try to neatly sum up what this book is about is a nearly impossible task. For anyone interested, please read the Introduction. Looking beyond the title “characters,” I sought to create the book that I had always wanted to read but hadn’t found yet. I wanted an authorial presence but also a cast of contributors that could add greater depth to the content. I wanted something serious but humorous, playful yet poignant, something with immediacy but also with longevity, and something that could appeal to anyone on a human level.
Consider those old Godzilla movies for a moment, where you have these two “foes” battling each other as part of the story, but beneath that lies the bigger picture—the dangers of nuclear war, threats to civilization, etc. So in my case, America and China are placed in these roles, but beneath the surface there are plenty of lessons learned and guided wisdom that can impact anyone from anywhere.
3. I take what I do seriously, but I don’t take myself very seriously
There was a popular rock group called The Knack who rose to prominence back in the late ‘70s. Some of you may remember them for their hit “My Sharona,” which was hugely successful. I was just a kid then, but I liked their style. Looking beyond their “hit” song, I discovered these guys, who appeared in dress shirts and ties on the album cover, were also quite mischievous once you looked beyond their appearance at their song lyrics. Well anyway, several years later owing to my work in the music industry, I got the chance to meet the band who were performing one morning on the Today Show in New York, and did an interview with the singer Doug Fieger. One of my questions had something to do with “How do you define yourselves as artists” or something like that. His response stuck with me ever since:
“We take what we do (as musicians) seriously, but we don’t take ourselves seriously.”
I pondered the genius of that statement afterward, and determined that was exactly who I’d been all of my life. I was something of a dichotomy, unable to rationalize my own quirky behavior and how to balance my inner child with the serious adult. There was my answer.
4. I still believe my best days are yet to come, even if the majority of them are behind me
Life moves quickly but as long as we’re alive, there will be a future and something to look forward to. So in my mind, no matter our age, don’t get stuck in past lamentations, and always believe there is a bright future ahead. As I wrote in the last chapter of my book: “If you can see it, you can be it.” It’s never too late to have a dream, set goals, and renew your purpose in life.
5. I enjoy being productive; moments are precious and I can’t bear to waste them
6. I find value in moments of self-reflection
It’s not always easy to find the time particularly during our busy lives, so I build in a few extra moments in the morning by simply gazing out the window and reflecting on the previous day or pondering what’s to come. These moments are so valuable. Sometimes you have to stop the world to “see” the world.
7. Anything worth doing is worth overdoing
Whatever you seek to do in life, your job, your parenting, your authoring, etc. you owe it to yourself and to those who may be impacted to learn all you can and become a master of your craft. Cutting corners and doing things halfway never results in the desired outcome. So in my mind, this approach of “overdoing” leads toward greater long-term success even at the expense of short-term gratification.
8. I love using famous quotes to help inspire myself as well as others. These are interspersed in key areas among the chapters of my new book, and all very significant in helping to illustrate the messages I’ve presented. One in particular from Oscar Wilde is something that I’ve adopted as a sort of life motto:
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Profound, and something I believe a great many of us could relate to.
9. I’m a very outgoing social person yet I adapt well to self-isolation (go figure…).
My new book, Escape from America is not what it appears on the surface, but then again, neither am I. Creating this book has allowed me to combine both my extraverted and introverted qualities to “speak” to people in a way that essentially combines 20 or 30 years’ worth of life experience that could only happen today, at this moment in time, and at a time where I feel it could be most effective and have maximum impact.
10. I love traveling overseas and discovering different cultures, foods, ideologies, etc. That’s what led me to places like Nicaragua and China. I had designs on settling in either place for a time, and later opted to relocate to China to “reinvent” myself and pursue opportunities for business and bring something to the masses who were hungry for knowledge from the West and where I felt I could make greater impact than back home.
From the back of the book
On the surface, Escape from America is the story of an American aspiring to change his life and plan a future in China. Beneath the surface, however, this book features critical analysis of both countries in an effort to promote greater understanding.
China, in spite of its long history, is still a very “young” country where development is slow and unsteady. Sure, we from the “West” can say we’ve arrived—but have we really?
EFA is meant to educate and entertain readers who wish to truly “know” two of the world’s dominant superpowers, as well as provide powerful insight from someone approaching the subject from both a local and global perspective.
But that’s not all..
My “story within a story” is one that I believe can encourage you, whatever your background, to take a closer look at your country, your life, and take everything into account. Step back and examine your world, ask yourself: Am I happy? Do I like what I see? What future goals might I wish to pursue?
Broadly speaking, for anyone who is not satisfied with the status quo and feels there are better ways forward, this book will inspire you.