Many people have asked how we came to write a book together and keep our relationship intact. Well in fact, it did not stay intact; it changed as life changes all the time. There were several phases to the book: the idea and conceptualizing the chapters; the writing of the material independently; editing the book to make a cohesive story; and writing and conversing together. And with the creation of the book, our ties got stronger and stronger even when we disagreed.

We often worked at night, or during the week, but our most productive times were during a weekend retreat. We were alone, not disturbed by our children or our spouses, and all we did was non-stop writing and thinking, and writing and thinking, and eating. The place we stayed always had a microwave oven with complimentary buttered popcorn. Those were special moments, ones that will be treasured in the memory chest, both for the love and for accomplishments. Every time we went, which was about 5 weekends in all, we would eat pop-corn, ice cream, and chocolate, in some aspects it reminded me of the time I grew up when everything was simple and my mom was there to protect and guide me. Although we were close to the shopping mall, and my mom religiously brought her filled bags with items to take back to a store, we never left the room. We would joke how when we finally finish our mission we would finally have time to go schlopping together again. It was the classic story of a shoemaker who walks barefoot.

Throughout the writing process we worked magnificently together, complementing each other with our different strengths and weaknesses. We were even shocked how smooth the process was going and patted ourselves on the back. But, alas, finally after completing the book and starting to lay it out, the rip came. As with most projects, when everything is complete, the final decision of the title can no longer be prolonged. In this case we desperately disagreed and could not speak over the phone for almost eight weeks, without hanging up in anger. It was a rough patch, and when every side feels they are right, the rip grows bigger and bigger.

And so we did what we could only do, and we took it to other people to decide. We asked numerous people, from friends to salespeople, to people waiting in line at the doctor’s office or buying a cup of coffee, or on the T, to professional marketing companies. And each time a person agreed with our own preference we each had our usual grin on the face, it was like we copied each other completely. Very quickly we recognized a pattern. Often the title a person preferred depended on the generation he or she belonged too. So how did we solve the problem you ask? Well, I want to say that we utilized our different strengths and weaknesses and made the best decision for the project, leaving our egos aside. But I cannot say that without adding the influence of the people. I believe we each took to heart specific opinions and with our own reflection decided to agree on the title. But the way, other peoples’ opinions affect us, especially about the way we look, is a story for a different moon.

Our differences are very obvious. One of my most vivid memories was going to the bank with my mom when I was 15 years old and the bank teller said me “Why is your mother so sweet and you are so sour?” in my heart I answered ‘because my mom loves chocolate and I love pickles.’ We also have very different working styles and when I say very, I mean very. I like things short, simple and to the point, whereas my mom likes things long, artful, and descriptive. The book, and the way it is written, is a mirror image of our different personalities and generations. But even with all our differences we found a common ground and a way to work together.

Schlopping is not only a book and a word, but a way of thinking. It parallels the idea to stop and smell the roses. When you are out with a loved one shopping, take that moment and make it special. Things that are said and done during these ventures shape our views of the world. Even if we are completely different or the same, we all have special moments in life we should cherish. Even a trip to a bank can be a time that shapes our relationships, self-image, and memories.

All the best,
Yael Magen

Co-Author Schlopping: Developing Relationships, Self-Image and Memories (noun, schlep+love+shopping)

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