Last week while I was in Seattle, the General sent me an email communicating that someone had called regarding BITTER OR BETTER, the book I wrote concerning the grief process. They wanted to highlight the book and ensure that it got the attention of the right audience. Details of exactly what was involved were sketchy, but the thought lifted my spirits. Under the auspices of “Confession is good for the soul”, the effort involved in writing a book pales in contrast to the time required to market a book. I have a very full life. Consequently, I don’t have either the time or the connections to successfully make much progress in promoting either of the two books I’ve written.
Maybe this was my lucky break? At least it made a worthwhile fantasy. I hung on to the hope until I talked directly with the person on Monday. If they had the wherewithal to produce all they promised, the business proposition they were offering might be a worthwhile consideration. However, the bottom line came with no guarantees. They’d create a website for the book and they’d ensure email blasts would capture the attention of the right audience. In addition, they would carry the book with them to a book fair. For the most part, it sounded pretty much like the written commitment made to me by my current publisher.
Did I mention the proposal was both pricy and time limited? The agency was willing to devote their attention to marketing my book, creating the right market for success and completing it all in three months. At just short of a thousand dollars a month, I had the thought: “Do I have stupid written on my forehead?”
As I contemplated the decision I needed to make, I noticed that an avid Facebook friend from high school had “Liked” a blog. Surprisingly, the blog had been posted on April 5, 2014. It was entitled: “Day three – Camp Lejeune”. While the blog chronicled a full day of activities, my focus shifted to a dialogue I had with my youngest grandson. He was five years old at the time.
Reading the account that I’d written over two years ago, validated my intent. I started writing my blog because I recognized that I was getting older and that I didn’t know where the years had gone. At some level, life has been lost in living. By capturing the adventure, or a memory, or a reflection in the midst of a day, at least I was highlighting a written record of the experience.
Re-reading something that I had chronicled two years earlier reminded me of the gift of my youngest grandson’s love. The setting was a baseball game for his older brother. I wrote this:
“Jake set next to me and verbalized that he didn’t feel good. In short order, I was headed with him to the car when he started vomiting. Poor little guy! Under normal circumstances I would have been vomiting with him, but I managed to be responsible.
“When we got to the car, Jake said, “Grandad, you’re my daddy’s daddy aren’t you?” “Yes, Jake, I am your dad’s dad.” “Do you mind if I call you Daddy, too?” Talk about a heart-tug! The bad cop/good cop routine obviously was paying big dividends.
“I responded, ‘Jake you are so precious. I love you so much. Thank you for wanting to call me daddy. I know you want me to feel special and the name daddy is really a special name, but it really should be used only with your dad. Grand in granddad means large or enormous. It is even a more special term. Why don’t you continue calling me Granddad? He responded, ‘I’m going to call you Granddaddy’. What a sweet kid.
“The rest of the evening was mostly uneventful. All is well in my world and obviously in Jake’s as well. He slept through the night and hasn’t been sick again…”
The general thinks I’m wasting my time chronicling my stories. Maybe she’s right, but do you have any idea of the joy I re-experienced by simply being reminded of Jake’s thoughtful conversation with me two years ago? I was totally oblivious to the memory until I took the time to re-read what a friend on Facebook had “Liked”. Consequently, I’m thankful I had written it down.
In the aftermath of that experience, the thought occurred to me that maybe I have a book or two already crafted in the content of two plus years of chronicling my memories. What if I identified those that could fall under the auspices of “Tender Moments” and those that could be categorized as “This Laugh’s On Me”? It’s just a thought, but maybe the script has already been written. As a secondary benefit, it might be a balm to my soul to re-experience by reading what has already been recorded.
As a side note, I’ll share with you a conversation that I recently shared with my daughter. It, too, falls under the category of “tender moments”. One day last week she scolded me for posting a blog at 4:00 a.m. I momentarily thought she had become the General made-over. I got the “you don’t get enough rest” speech and she was almost as forthright as the General in reading me the “right act”.
Yesterday morning, I was late in getting my blog posted. At 7:22 a.m., my daughter sent me a text: “Dad, you know you can’t win…When you post your blog at 4:00 a.m., I worry that you aren’t sleeping. When it’s after 7:00 a.m. and there’s no blog, I worry that you’re okay.”
I am a blessed man! I am surround by family members who genuinely love and care for me. You don’t find that everywhere. Consequently, out of gratitude, I’m writing it all down. If nothing else, after I’m gone, it will serve as reminder to loved ones that I valued the time and connection we shared. Mine really has been a lucky break.
All My Best!