Monday, June 13, 2011

The Many Achievements of Mark Kram Jr.

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Today we're stepping back from the usual madness and mayhem to pay tribute to a budding young writer who will be coming to a bookstore near you, sometime next summer.

My dear husband, Mr. J, is better known as Mark Kram Jr. Over the weekend he finished writing his first full-length book. The book was commissioned by St. Martin's Press. It is titled Like Any Normal Day. Trust me, you will know when it goes up for sale. I'll even be able to get you a signed copy if you want it.

Mark wrote this book while working his day job as a reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, and also while contributing a monthly column to the South African equivalent of Sports Illustrated. In other words, he can't sit down, because he worked his butt off.

Not only was the work load daunting, but the subject matter of Like Any Normal Day was also very emotionally wrenching. The book tells a true story of a young athlete who became quadriplegic in the blink of an eye during a high school football game. At age 16 he could no longer move any part of his body except his head. After living more than 20 years like that, trying every miracle cure from Lourdes to Pat Robertson, he finally persuaded his brother to take him to Michigan, where he committed assisted suicide with the help of Jack Kevorkian.

The magic of my husband's work on this story is that Mark never passes judgment on the athlete, or his family, or his friends -- and Kevorkian just simply damns himself with his own words. This is not the story of how it is to be a quadriplegic, it's the story of one man's life and one man's decisions. It is left to the reader to judge the man's motives, to judge how he lived his life and why he chose to die.

Many people who choose writing for a career have a sort of natural proclivity for it. For my husband, it was the "family business" (hence the "Junior"). Writing has always been a tough row to hoe for Mark, but he has turned out consistently fine work. He has so many awards we don't have any place to hang the plaques. But this book was a Labor of Hercules that not only required sensitive writing but also demanded that Mark interview at length many people who were devastated by the athlete's suffering and his decision. He tackled and completed this difficult book without falling to pieces. I can't say I could have done the same.

At the moment when Mark Kram Jr. struck the final sentence of Like Any Normal Day, I was walking into a Barnes & Noble store to pick up some summer reading. It occurred to me that next summer (hopefully) the "New Arrival" table will have my husband's book on it.

Let's give a warm, wonderful "Gods Are Bored" huzzah for Mark Kram, Jr. No one will read this book with a dry eye.


Maebius said...

Awesome to hear, such hard wrok has come to fruition. Any possibility of getting soem insider-traded Signed copies? I'd happily get one, if you cna assist with providing the best avenue to ensure finances go more towards the author and less towards hte middle-man Amazon-style process.

I prefer small bookstores and direct-from-publishers for that very reason. Supporting the Artists is important, so they keep being Artistic. :)

Alex Pendragon said...

I WILL get he book, but I have to warn you now that I have a certain affection for Mr. Kevorkian, and there's no way in Hades I would have elected to suffer thru 20 long years of life as a total quadriplegic. I believe in reincarnation for many reasons, one of them being that a person has hope to get on with it and try again rather than suffer. I never saw the point in that.

Yes, I believe that life is precious, and not just mere existence, but LIFE.

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Huzzah, Mark Kram Jr. Huzzah I say, sir. May your book find a huge audience and critical acclaim.

Lori F - MN said...

Just watched a bio on Dr. K on the history channel.
Dr K performed a service, in my opinion. A couple of years after my Mom's stroke, she was very dehabilitated. Her health care providers told us we could give her extra morphine drops if she wanted. Isn't that assisted suicide?
How many have put beloved pets down because of injury or lack of joy of life?
If the person is deemed to be in control of their faculties, why not allow them the right to choose to die with dignity? Think of those in nursing homes, withering away. Or alzheimers patients, with no memory of self or ability to take care of themself any longer. I never want to be in that position. If I am ever in a hospital or care facility in a vegatative state, I would hope that my loved ones would help me die.
I'll get off the soap box now.

Anne, the book sounds incredible. Congrats to Mark. I be sure to read it.

Kimber said...

I find myself agreeing with Lori. I remember visting my great aunt in an assisted home when I was fourteen and it forever shaped how I and my cousin view care facilities/ending life decisions.

If I develop alzheimer's I'd love to have a big party (before I'm too far gone)and then when I hit a certain point where I lose my sense of self go quietly to sleep holding my husbands hand.

I'm looking forward to reading his book and thank you for letting us know about it!

-Kimberly in AK


I want a autographed copy..will even pay for the shipping..congratulations to Mark and hip hip hooray..

RedioSilence said...

Huzzah indeed! I can't wait to read this book! How much is it gonna cost for an autographed copy? :D

Wizardess said...

Wonderful! Keep us updated on the publishing progress.

Anne Johnson said...

Cover price of the book!

Intense Guy said...

Oh wow. Just your synapsis of the book sounds very intense and very difficult to put to words.

I wish it's author much success and hope to see him do the talk show rounds with quiet diginity.

Gej said...

Hello from the Philippines.

I just finished reading your husband's piece Forgive Some Sinner from the Best Sportswriting of 2008. Before I did, I had just finished Ghosts of Manila, by his father.

Let me just say that I was taken over by his piece, a poignant memoir about his father. His father, I think has written some of the finest sports writing of all time. Your husband has made his own mark, has taken his own path. But the honesty and insight has continued from the past generation to his. I'll be watching out for more from Mark Kram Jr.