To the Pole and Back
Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored" on April 24, 2012 -- the official publication date of Like Any Normal Day, by my husband, Mark Kram Jr. It's very surreal to think of his book being unpacked from boxes and placed out on tables in Barnes & Noble and fine independent booksellers like http://www.jacksonst-books.com/?page=shop/privacy Jackson Street Books!
Writing this book, for my husband and me, was kind of like setting out on a journey to reach the North Pole. We didn't know if we would ever make it, and we weren't prepared for the ordeal of getting there and back again.
I like to use metaphors, and this is an apt one. Extending now:
Let's say Mark was an explorer who had done Arctic expeditions before, but never all the way to the Pole. And I was confident he could make it, but whoa. What a trip! We have both come back changed. Not for better or worse. Just changed.
Like a wilderness sojourn, this story tested our bond and our resolve. Mark had to immerse himself into other peoples' lives and try to understand the thoughts and dreams of a quadriplegic man. I was just starting a brand new job too, with a steep learning curve and no margin for error. Some days it did feel like a teetering sled, pulled by poor, exhausted, under-fed Buck ... just trying to get us there.
While he worked on his book, Mark kept his day job in the dwindling print journalism industry. He also wrote a monthly column of 2,000 words for a magazine in South Africa. Another metaphor: If he was John Henry, he would have beaten that steam-driven hammer by a country mile. I never saw anyone work harder, keep more balls moving in the air.
Sometimes we ask the rhetorical question: If we knew then what we know now, would Mark have embarked on this literary challenge? Whenever we are tempted to say no, always in the back of my mind comes the thought that it's better to get frostbite on an epic journey than to stay and stagnate in your comfort zone.
And so we have come to pub date. The journey is not over. It's just entering a new phase. My guess is that it will never really end until we do. Writing is like that.