Has life in 2018 got you in a kerfuffle? Is the caterwauling of the clodpols who surround us getting to you? Do you doubt, amidst the hurly-burly of — oh, the news, for example — that the path to true happiness and satisfaction becomes more dimly hidden every day?

Fear not: help is at hand.

Speaking from — well, the grave where he was buried with pomp and splendour 471 years ago — King Henry VIII of England has published his first (but surely not his last) self-help book: “Unleash Your Inner Tudor: Henry VIII’s Inspirational Guide to a Completely Sizzling, Sparkly, Tyrannical, Much Wider, Demanding and Sexier You.”

To be sure, he engaged the service of a non-dead writer to help get his pearls of wisdom to the public. He even acknowledges this with royal generosity, as in “by King Henry VIII, @knghnryviii, with Andy Demsky (who contributed very little and managed to do even that rather poorly).”

What’s more, he found a Napa artist, Nick Cann, to create a suitable image reflecting his Tudor glory (see illustration.)

Demsky will be reading from the work and discussing the remarkable circumstances that led to this publication at Napa Bookmine on Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 7 p.m. All things considered, this is preferable, although less dramatic, than having Henry in person.

Help from the Crown

Demsky is the first to point out that the Tudor monarch was sharing his thoughts with the masses long before the advent of other large, orange-haired rulers with predilection for tyranny and Twitter.

How Henry chose Demsky as his oracle could puzzle some, but it is possible the king had perused other works by Demsky, former journalist and Napa-based writer who co-authored “A Vineyard in Napa” about Shafer Vineyards, and “Little House in the Hollywood Hills” about actress Charlotte Stewart.

The connection began in 2010 when Demsky was in London with his family. Visiting Hampton Court, where Henry dazzled visitors with his wealth and power, Demsky says he began to be fascinated with the notorious but undeniably regal royal and his times.

By 2012, the forward-thinking Henry had taken to Twitter to send out proclamations, advice and whatever else was going through his head that day. By 2017, 70,000 people worldwide were following Henry’s tweets, and Demsky decided to publish Henry’s matchless wisdom — such as his thoughts on joys of rumpity pumpity, cake, and making war — in a book.

Demsky’s enthusiastic agent showed the completed book around. But while editors admitted to loving the book, no one was quite sure what genre was a fit for “Tudor self-help.”

Demsky decided to self-publish the book, available at Bookmine and online at Amazon. Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second of six wives, has contributed a forward “authenticated by a great number of experts and witnesses who were not paid by the author.” It is generous in its praise of the man who had her beheaded, even despite Chapter 20, titled, “It is Better to Have Loved and Lost Than to have Dated Anne Boleyn.”

‘Unleashing Your Inner Tudor’

The monarch opens his book with “Rules for Peasants Reading This Book,” which includes instructions to look on it only from a position of full prostration and to learn Henry’s version of “God Save the King.” (“make him notorious, obese and glorious...”).

This is followed by an Introduction “from this My Very Pen.”

“Why have I written this inspiring guide to life?” he asks. “Because you need it... and I think you know you need it because the question I get constantly asked on Twitter is: @knghnryviii, how can I be more like you?”

“Thus here I am, dear modern reader person, to do the herculean task of guiding, Tudorsplaining, and, one hopes, shaming and frightening you into become the best Henry VIII you can be.”

Although no one could really hope to attain his glory or, perhaps, his weight.

He notes that he is even offering advice for ladies, “because whilst most have not been taught to read (this is still the case, I assume?) ... somewhere deep inside most ladies want answers to things, just like other people.”

The following pages are devoted to recounting Henry’s life and achievements interspersed with Tudor Love Tips: “God gave us marriage that we might more fully appreciate wine”; and Tudor weekly plans: “Wednesday: maybe insult Spain; perhaps burn heretics; probably traumatise Parliament; WILL make an heir; nap.”

He also includes samples of his poetry and other writings, such as “The Glorious Henry VIII Nighttime ABCs Book for His Various Children,” which includes: “A is Annulment, I awarded myself; B is Boleyn whose head’s on my shelf; C is for Cromwell who’s no longer healthy; D’s dissolution, which made me quite wealthy.”

By the end of the book, even if you have not managed to transform yourself into an extremely large, harp-playing despot (not to mention All-England Swan Eating Champion), at least, this is guaranteed: you will be laughing.

Which is no small feat, these days.


Features Editor

Sasha Paulsen has been features editor at the Napa Valley Register since 1999. A graduate of Napa High School, she studied English at UC Berkeley and St. Mary's College and earned a Masters in Journalism from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism.