I took a break from this blog.
The break turned into a hiatus. The hiatus to an absence. And now, here I am – more than two years since the last helping from the Brainfood Cafe.
The point of the break-hiatus-absence was to focus my writing on finishing my book – the tale of an average fella who one day wakes up dazed and confused with a misfiring melon. As you may recall from past blogs, it turns out that this fella – me – had a stroke, losing the ability to read, write and do arithmetic. My memory was shot and much of my cognitive skills were set back 40 years or so. Not too good as I was 45 when the stroke struck.
I figured finishing the book would take a few weeks. Maybe two or three months.
As well as I’ve recovered from the stroke, my math must still not be too great ‘cause I didn’t put a bow on the book until the summer. This past summer — 2020 COVID-19 Summer.
Why so long?
Because it was damn hard. Re-living the worst months of my existence took an emotional toll and required regular stoppages to reset my mind and rest my soul. And I had to get the writing right. Hemmingway said writing is easy, just sit down at the typewriter and bleed. There’s even more bloodletting when what you’re writing about is so personal. In the book I write about demons that haunted me as I fought to recover. Those demons also struck me as I wrote, making me question my words and my recovery.
But I finished.
And that felt great. My life’s goal was to write books, which is why I became a newspaper reporter way back when. It made sense at the time, but that trade left me with a lot of good ideas and partially thought-out beginnings. After career changes and years of starts and stops with my writing, along came the stroke, wiping away my ability to read and write and presumably putting a definitive end to my dream.
But now the dream is reality (I hate when cliches fit).
I’ll never forget the morning early this past June when I stopped typing, re-read what I’d just finished and realized that this was it with the book. I’d tied the yarn together, it was complete. At least complete enough to get it out in front of other sets of eyeballs. My bride, Patricia, had a final read for me with some suggestions. Then I reached out to writer friends of mine about agents and advice on the path to publishing. I got some great feedback and advice.
Edmonton writer Wayne Arthurson (The Traitors of Camp 133, Fall From Grace, The Red Chesterfield) gave my yarn a spin and suggested an epilogue. That was a brilliant idea. Then it turned out that Wayne is also working as a successful agent. We shook hands electronically and Wayne is now shopping my book around.
I’ve been warned about how hard it is to get a book published. Told not to get my hopes up. Cautioned how difficult it is even to get a good publisher to just read a synopsis. But so far, Wayne has managed to get these folks to take notice. I’ve even had the most inspiring rejection that I could ever imagine from a major publisher.
“Tim writes with poise and emotion (not surprising given the ordeal he’s been through!) and I feel he has a good voice here, and a sense of what he wants to convey.”
This publisher feels that my book isn’t the right fit for his company, but also believes that it is worthy of seeing the light of day in book stores. I’ll take that – for now.
At last count, five publishers are considering my yarn. It really feels like this thing will be hitting store shelves and e-readers sooner or later.
So, with that happening, I figured, the extended Brainfood hiatus is over. I can take you all on the journey with me as I wait for news on a publisher, write about the talks I’m preparing to start giving again and share with you the new writing I’m working on. Oh, and you’ll also get the scoop when a publishing deal is (is, not if it is) struck.
The other inspiration for getting back on the blog horse is the milestone I hit while we were all dealing with the new Covid-19 realities. March 15 marked 10 years since my mind was sizzled by the stroke. My plan had been to celebrate that day with a book on store shelves and an incredible trip somewhere. I didn’t finish writing in time for that and the Coronavirus killed the dream of sipping Corona beer on a warm beach, in any case.
So, while I put all that on hold, I want to get back to writing stories that inspire stroke survivors, and the people who love them. Stories about different paths to recovery and to great new normals that can be even better than before. Like, for instance, writing a book after a stroke wiped out your ability to read and right 😊.
I also want to write more about the big beautiful brains we all have and explore with readers how to get the most out of them, how to treat them with the love and kindness that will keep them firing on all cylinders. And that can maybe coax just a bit more brain power out of ‘em, too.
All of this is what you can expect in future helpings of Brainfood.
RIP John Le Carre