The morning of May 13 of 2017 a package arrived at a little house in Inglewood, California. The recipient of the package knew it was coming but did not know what was in it. The only instructions were, "Call me when you get it before you open it." This little package would be responsible for a world of change for many people. The sender of the package was me. The recipient was my mother Wanda. I waited and waited for the delivery to come. My mother wondered what in the hell did her son send her now. She was eager but not nearly as eager as me. Finally she calls me and begins to open the package. She complains about holding the phone and trying to get through all the "damn tape" to get to it. She does not know what it is but she knows if her son, who doesn't call nearly enough for her, wants her on the phone it must be special or important. I must confess, at that point I already had an expected response from her. She did not disappoint that expectation. As she opened the small package and pulled out the wrapped item and unwraps it she excitedly yells, "Seeeeeeeeaaaaannnn, You did it!" To hear my mother filled with joy was my first goal in sending her that package. She was proud and I was proud that I had made her proud. On that day I think I won Mother's Day. Oh, you don't know what was in the package. What my mother was holding in her hand was my book. She had copy number one.
You see I wasn't always the best kid. I had my fair shares of dumb mistakes, lack of trying and failing to meet up to potential. I flunked classes I should of easily passed. I didn't get to collage when I could of gone to any school I wanted if I had applied myself. My mother, like many parents, loved me through it all. My pigheaded boy days long passed. She had been proud of me and my life before she got that package mind you. I served honorably in the military for 22 years. I have an amazing wife and two pretty good kids who stand on their own. I've learned to follow my dreams and I love what I do. For her, as a parent, all she wants is for me to be strong, healthy, happy and doing what speaks to my soul. I think I'm doing pretty good at that so far.
However, this day she was standing happily staring at my face on a book, Just A Thought by S.L. Brown. Her son is an author. The woman who has a million books in boxes and on shelves all over the house now has one by her son the kid who flunked English at one point. Took me 42 years to do it but I did something I'd never imagine doing. No one could take that moment from her nor take my published book out of existence. It happened. I am legit. What a gift. In fact, this picture of myself with the book and my cohort in crime April with the book is the actual first copy I got of my book that went to my mother.
I would have a picture of my mom with the book but getting her in front of a camera is like asking a dog to fly. Without serious help it just ain't gonna happen. We love her anyway. In any case that was the Saturday before Mother's Day.
On May 14th, I shared with the world that I published my book. It shocked everyone that knew me that I finally did it. Of course certain people got a copy (not many) and then others bought it that day or within that month. I have another confession, I was happy with making my mom and my wife happy that I wrote the book. Everyone else was just a great bonus. I had no idea what a difference a year would make. I owe a lot of credit to my good friend and crime partner April for what we have done so far from joining the Northwest Independent Writers Association (NIWA), being in Barnes and Nobles, signing events and even conducting wellness workshops to help
others build tools to be better for self. I would have never imagined being in any of these places. Even as I type and look at those couple pictures I am in disbelief that the two of us, April and I, have done so much in so little time. Here I sit, in belief, because I have lived it. I have met so many people and touched so many with my words. I, the kid who wasn't great to my teachers, have my book in the local high school for reluctant readers. A few weeks ago I stood in that class talking about my book, my story and my life to those very kids. My book and I are making an impact? Still is a shock.
That is a huge shock, the kids loving my book, but there is nothing like seeing yourself on TV because of what you have done. A few weeks ago I was interviewed by the Kitsap Literary
Artist and Writers (KLAW) group hosted by Author Peter Stockwell. I sat in the Bremerton Kitsap Access Television studio with April and talked about my book. In front of the camera with my writing as the focal point. It was surreal then and even now. The best part was when it aired
on May 12th. Who is that guy on the big screen? Me! Just a day short of my mother opening her book I am on television. Don't believe me? Check it (Here) I don't know if it is fitting or not but I find it remarkable the difference a year can make. And, after 5000 words I get to the actual point of today's blog.
Everything you read I am proud of and humbled by the fact that I, with my friend April, have accomplished with my book and my workshops. I never once imagined I'd be doing this or coming close to anything of this nature. That is the point. We all have dreams of doing something or being something but life, more often than not, may lead us into a different direction. Be free enough to follow what your heart and mind are telling you. Don't be so quick to hold onto one idea of what you "should be doing" so tightly that you miss the opportunities that you did not know would take you on an adventure. Yes, I made my mother proud when she opened my book. Today, I am proud because I opened my mind to "possibilities" of life. When it is all said and done I am so happy I Jumped-In!
I even have a picture to prove it. That guy doesn't like heights or really water he can't see the bottom of yet he did just what he feared and jumped in.
Where will you be in one year? Would you still be complaining about what you don't have or will you be celebrating all the gifts you do. Maybe i'll be reading a blog about how you decided to take a chance and jump in to the unknown and made a major change. I'd love to see that happen. Life is great. Live it!
I'll finish with this last thought. One day, no matter who we are, the road of life will end. For others it will carry on and in time the trail that was designed for me will be reconfigured for someone else to ride. Make the most of your time on the track and embrace building stories for yourself. When its all said and done those stories will be how you are carried with others. Live exceptionally simple friends.