Fame?

Five hundred more copies of Jody’s book arrived on my doorstop this afternoon.  And this e-mail from Chapters South in London showed up in my Inbox:

“I am very interested in having you in the store to do a signing or two.”

Assorted thoughts now proceed from my brain:

1.  Get a grip, Bruce.  You’re not going to become famous.  You’re just going to sign a few books.

2.  Fame sounds like a pain in the ass.  You’d have no life.

3.  I want our story to reach the hearts of people far and wide.  How exactly do I do that?

4.  There’s no time for book signings.  On July 21, I’m heading off on a six-week road trip to Western Canada.  Then home for a week, followed by a very long meditation retreat in Massachusetts.  See?  No time.

5.  Think of all the folks I could meet in the store.  I love talking to people.

6.  What if nobody came?  What would that do to me?

7.  It’s not like Jodiette: My Lovely Wife is a novel or anything.  I just wrote a lot of e-mails and blog posts and strung them together into a book.

8.  But it’s a good story, of two human beings who love each other deeply, who suffered and joyed together.

9.  I don’t want this to be about ego.  It’s not “Oh, what a good boy am I.”

10.  Jody touched so many people in her life – friends, family, patients, colleagues.  Now she’s opening the hearts of readers after her death.

11.  What exactly am I going to do with the rest of my life?  Whatever it is, I’ll be with people.

12.  Will a publisher pick up our book so that readers across the globe can be nudged a little closer to their loved ones?

13.  What are you blathering on about?  Pick some other topic for today’s post.

14.  On the front cover, Jody is looking deep into the soul of whomever’s holding the book.

15.  Stay on topic, Bruce.  Corral your thoughts into some coherent whole.

16.  Who am I?

17.  One woman told me that she read our book and now her mom has started it.  And her daughter is waiting in line.

18.  It’s just a book … 190 pages of large type.  No photos.  It’s ordinary.

19.  Me, sitting at a table, watching a line of book holders approach?  (No, no.  There won’t be a line.)

20.  Why don’t I just meditate for awhile?  You know, the silent stuff.

21.  Whew, sigh, hmm, and other short expressions of the unknown

***

Tomorrow I’m going to write about golf

Proof Positive

A couple of weeks ago, I thought that by March 6 I’d be pretty close to welcoming a UPS guy on my doorstep, laden with boxes and boxes of Jodiette:  My Lovely Wife.  It wasn’t to be.  I wrote to you about how it took me a couple of hours before I had the gumption to even open the package containing the proof of Jody’s book.  After a quick perusal, I remember thinking that all I needed to do was have Blurb change the colour of the tree painting on the back cover.  Plus make the print level at the bottom of the pages.  No sweat.

But then I looked more carefully.  A very long time ago, someone told me that in your writing, and in your speaking, don’t give the audience any errors that they can focus on, rather than paying total attention to your message.  So … I looked through the 193 pages of our story.  And I found lines such as these:

My   queen   is   safe   at   Victoria   Hospital.        Her   nurses   are   all
marvelous human beings.  I love her quadruple oodles.  All is well.
Thank you for your prayers.  I see them in Jody’s eyes every day.

I loved the words.  I didn’t love the spacing.  What I did in response was spend at least six hours looking for opportunities to put hyphens at the ends of lines, so that there wouldn’t be huge gaps between words.  Not too many hyphens – that would be distracting too.  Moderation in all things, so I’ve been told (but not necessarily lived).  This time, I did.  It looks better.

The image of the tree is so central to Jody’s and my journey.  The back cover of Jodiette is graced by the most lovely of creations, coaxed into existence by Kym Brundritt, an artist from Kingsville, Ontario.  Kym’s tree is radiant … bare curlycue branches set against a yellow background.  Except the proof rendition’s context is a heavy orange.  It doesn’t shine.  My friend Neal has worked his magic on the photo, and now the yellow will reach out and touch the reader, revealing the life of the tree.  I’m happy.

Then there’s the centerpiece of the whole shebang … Jody’s eyes and smile looking out at all of us from the front cover.  The proof was too dark, and too red.  Jody, with a sunburn, was sitting in a dark room of the Chez Temporel restaurant on Rue Couillard in old Quebec City.  Not so.  The photo needs to glow, just as my darling wife did in life.  Just as she still does.  Neal made the adjustments.  I’m happy some more.

On Wednesday I uploaded the second incarnation of Jody’s book to Blurb.  I should have the proof by Friday, March 13.  May it be a lucky day.  And I’m definitely not waiting two hours to tear open the cardboard.