I’ve decided that today is the official Release Day of Learning to Walk. In classic indie publishing style, I’m deciding everything. I do believe I will decide to have more Release Days, too. But today will do for now.
I’m sorry for those of you who don’t like Amazon, or don’t like their business model, or don’t buy online, or don’t care for Jeff Bezos. I get that. I have my own corporate enemies.
But they’re local, and they’re ours, and actually I’m OK with them, and they sell books. In a few weeks, assuming the bigger distributors are interested, it’ll start showing up in other places, but probably not a lot of bookstores, if any outside of this area (and it’s like pulling teeth to even get them to stock independently published books). So right now, Amazon is where you can get the book.
I’m tempted to beg a little here, if tongue in cheek a bit, just because I’ve lost a significant amount of income from a non-writing source recently, and now my daughter and her family have been hit with medical expenses that almost rival ours. Life just keeps the meter running, sometimes.
But the truth is, nobody makes money from writing books, in general. Some, of course, make oodles and oodles of money. But there are a lot of books, and I’m not famous, and there are other roadblocks. So while selling a few thousand copies would be a nice relief (and that’s probably not likely), it wouldn’t make much of a dent. You get it. So forget the begging (but remember it at the same time. Like it was a dream).
I wrote Learning to Walk because, unusual for me, I had to. I have to write something all the time, because people pay me and they have deadlines, even if I have no ideas. But I had to write this, it felt like, because it was keeping me from writing anything else I had in mind, other than weekly columns about how warm our winter is and how sad the Super Bowl was. Just couldn’t move on. Thought there was a story there. Couldn’t make it work. Took me years to figure it out.
And then, really, in a matter of months I did. Figured it out, did marathon writing, rewriting, editing, got it read by people I trust, and sent it to the printer. And here we are.
What is it? I’m not quite sure. I start with my adventures with alcohol, how I reached a point where I was sick and miserable enough that I could actually ask for help. But that’s the beginning, even though it runs a bit throughout the book.
As I say in the book, it’s what happened next. The good, bad, and painful.
And honestly, I had that part. Had it for a long time. Just couldn’t see why anyone would want to read it.
But I got through that, and ended up with something that’s scattered, a little, and odd, a little, and a story of how life is unfair and tragic, sometimes, often painful and frightening, and certainly helpless. And how we need to fight that.
Or how I needed to fight it, anyway.
If you want to know how a fairly unimpressive guy deals with recovering from addiction, there’s some stuff there. If you want to hear stories about hospital rooms and surgery and strength that only comes from a woman who was born and reared in Texas, dammit, that’s there, too.
If you knew me in high school or college, it might explain a few things. That part felt important. I was lost, wandering, immature, uncertain, and if you knew me then maybe you wondered, a little. Maybe this explains some of that.
To my atheist and agnostic friends, I want to tell you that I mention God. You can skip that part, although you might be interested in my messy, unstructured relationship with the unknown. I dunno; it might make some believers mad, too. It’s just my personal theological philosophy, and what I’m aware of, not what I believe. Whatever you call God (I stick with God), if you do, or even if you get all Bill Maher and call God the imaginary man in the sky (the man is a moron, I’m sorry, but he is), it plays a part, here and there.
Mostly, though, this is about what happened next, as I said. I got sick, then better. My wife got really sick, and better. And there were happy interludes, and lots of flashbacks, some family history, some wordiness on all sorts of subjects I should have left to experts but it’s my life, I lived it.
And there’s a resolution, of sorts, or a revelation, or at least a realization. The world is not fair. We can try to fix what we can, but mostly it’s out of our control and we’re left trying to fix ourselves.
If there’s a point to all of this, then, it’s that, at least from my experience, we can. Fix ourselves. Change. Get better. Transform. And find joy.
And then look up, just to see what’s above your head. It can surprise you, so far away, so distant, so out of your hands, and then, amazingly, brilliantly, beautifully, filled with grace and unexplained movement, it comes down to you.
Then you’ve learned to walk. Baby steps, but they add up, and that’s what I wrote.
I’m much better now, by the way.
(Click on disturbing picture for link to book)