My fortieth birthday was approaching like a tidal wave. I was single, childless, and questioning my life as a performance artist with a cult following but no steady income. I lacked the requisite evidence of adulthood: a couch, a dining-room table, a matched set of dishes, a color television. Although I tried to convince myself that this was because I had recently separated from a lover who owned nearly all of the furniture and electronic devices I had used for seven years, I knew the real problem was that I’d dedicated my life to my work and I wasn’t getting famous fast enough. There were no book contracts, no movie deals, no television appearances coming my way. I needed help, a map to guide me through the midlife moonscape of defeat.