My son brought home a copy of my book Sully Street the other day. One of his co-workers who had bought the book wanted me to sign it. This is the third book my son has brought home for me to sign, and just like the other two times, I was humbled and excited at the opportunity. I still get caught up in my own emotions, wondering if this book could possibly be the same one I had worked on for nearly fifteen months. It’s all starting to slowly sink in, and the feeling is unlike most anything I have felt before. Strange and unfamiliar charges of emotion scatter through my body, reminding me of the countless hours sitting at my computer screen, popping away at the keypad. What a lovely sound.
Well, he had the book in an enclosed gallon sized baggie, trying to protect it from the rain outside. He set the book on the kitchen table and left the room. I went over to the table, sat down and opened up the plastic baggie and took out the book. Setting it down on the table, I got another one of those charges running through my body. The heft of the book, the feel of the pages flipping through my fingers, imagining what the cover looked like, all of it went swirling around the room as I picked the book up and held it in my hands. It felt wonderful. It felt alive. It felt just like the story I remembered typing.
I tried to catch a smidgen of a glimpse of the cover. I moved it closer to my face, then further away, but I wasn’t picking up any images from it. I was hoping to at least see the text on the cover, or the spine, but nothing was registering. The old vision was just about non existent that morning, and I was getting flustered with it all.
I set the book back onto the kitchen table and opened up the cover. I usually like to sign just inside the front cover, and positioned the book, readying myself for the signing.
I waited for my son to come back in the room because I needed his help to position the pen, line after line during the signing. He came out and handed me a pen as I continued to smile.
I slowly started writing and worked my way down the page, line by line, word after word until it was complete. I asked him if it was legible and he said, “It’s perfect pop!” Again I smiled as I closed the cover to the book and handed him the pen
Looking down at the book, I patted it and told him thanks for the help.
All of a sudden, he gasped and said, “Oh no.”
I felt a confused rush go down through me and asked, “What do you mean, oh no?”
He paused and whispered, “You signed the inside of the back cover, and it’s upside down.”
Well, let me tell you, my head dropped down and started shaking as it all sank in rather quickly. My first reaction was, “Oh my God, I can’t believe it.”, but then I remembered that a blind billy goat had signed the book. I smiled and started laughing as my son did the same.
“Looks like he’s got himself a collector’s item for sure pops.” He chuckled and set his hand on my shoulder as I patted the book again.
It was all good. It was an everlasting memory. It was one of the best moments I can remember, and as I handed my son the book, another rush of electricity ran up through me. Not the bad, overwhelming catastrophic kind, but the pure, good, memorable kind that feels wonderful as the tingle works up through your spine. The kind I used to get as a kidlet on Christmas morning. The kind I used to get as I stepped off the school bus on the last day of school. The kind of wonderful feeling that I am writing about right at this very moment.
My son called me up a couple days later and told me that his co-worker got a good laugh from the story as well. He agreed that it’s a cherished collectible, and couldn’t wait to read it, as he has this week off for vacation.
Humility has a way of defining your character. It has a way of shaping and molding who you are, where you are going, and what you’re all about. It has a way of showing those around you how important it is to live in the moment. It is who I am, where I have been, and it reflects the loves and passions of my life.
I have been humbly led forward these past few years, and most of the time, I hesitate at the emotions. I get caught up in the strength and swells that rush up, down, and through me. I have always been a very shy person, not wanting or feeling comfortable with much attention. I would rather step to the side and let someone else have the spotlight, but being a big old rickety goat, that’s sometimes hard to do, due to the fact that even standing to the side, I have a tendency to take up some of the spotlight. I should stand sideways more me thinks?
I don’t try to draw attention to myself, but as my mobility instructor used to tell me, I do anyway. Not for the reasons that I used to think about, but because she said that I exude confidence and pride, something that I hardly ever associated with myself. I’m usually shaking and trembling inside, lacking all the things that a spotlight demands. I imagine what other folks must see in me, and it’s usually crafted into a self induced image of a big, hovering pile of misguided skepticism, surrounded by a little boy’s anxious inhibitions. I have never liked the feeling of having all the attention, and I have never thought of myself as someone who draws it in.
My perceptions of myself are changing, bit by bit, one page at a time. My inner core is experiencing so many amazing emotions that I can’t see how it can keep from changing. All of the first times, all of the new directions, all of the amazing inspiration that seems to be tugging at me, well, it has a way of pointing you in a certain direction and gently nudging you forward from the rear. It has a way of finding an alternate route around those same road blocks that you thought you’d never work through. It has a way of showing you amazing things from an amazing world, and it’s all right at your finger tips.
When I held my book in my hands, it all became very apparent that the nudge forward is the way to go. It’s a thousand feelings, all at once, but it’s a thousand different ways to feel and a thousand different ways that your life can change.
In many ways, I have a lot of changing still to come, and I realize that I need to work very hard, still, on myself, and how I handle the changes. I am still such a big part of that scared little kid inside, but he’s starting to grow up, and out of the shell. I do get frustrated and angry with the plethora of changes that are associated with becoming blind, as they are unavoidable and unpredictable. I get caught up with uncertainty and doubt, and I try to recognize it, work with it and work through it. I probably will until the day I die, or run out of chocolate.
That’s life. Right?
Hey! Wait a second. What’s that over there?