Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Book: Finishing My Ultimate Marathon

This weekend I completed TREES AND NUMBERS at last! I started it on February 1, 2003. I now humbly present a book manuscript that is 263 pages long, divided into 10 chapters and an Epilogue. Sprinkled throughout the MS are 75 contributions from acquaintances in life on every continent over those 5+ years. This is my own personal finish line for something that has been my passion during a comeback from the tech bubble that quaked my world, and to some extent it doesn't matter whether it is a worldwide bestseller translated into many languages or it sells one book. But anyone who knows me knows that I am determined to dance across the finish line and not just cross it. Now I am working on the book proposal and next step is to find the best agent on my contact list who believes completely in me and my own marketability as a longtime writer for major magazines and major daily newspapers, a distinguished tech company founder, and now in my seventh year as a regular voice for millions of users each day at MLB.com. I am ready to take the next step just as a runner does, and I don't care how many hills I face. A famous author once told me to "make sure your best book is your first" -- and I never have forgotten that and hope a major publishing house will see it that way. I appreciate every one of my friends and family who have believed in me along the way, and now it is time to honor those original streets in my boyhood town curiously named for 12 indigenous tree species on one direction and the numbers 1-10 in the crossing direction. Everything in life from Baseball to Running to Chocolate to Digital to Parenting to Book Readership (what is a book?) and Business Leadership starts with Trees and Numbers, and the story can be told. Hopefully it will be as interesting to other people of today -- and to readers of the future -- as it has been for me to research and to write it. This is my own magnum opus and for better or worse it is what I have to say.

Where this book took me:

+ To the Giant Sequoias to research their secrets of immortality;
+ To the Hillerich & Bradsby/Louisville Slugger Museum in KY;
+ To the Joshua Tree forest just like U2
+ To the finish line of the New York City Marathon;
+ To the Hershey Chocolate World factory tour;
+ To Route 66 and the history of the greatest teamwork lesson ever
+ To Fenway Park and New England's fabulous fall color show
+ To native lore and love at little Tucumcari, New Mexico
+ To Miami's Fifth Street Gym and an amazing phone call from Muhammad Ali
+ To Central Park and its 26,000 glorious trees in every season
+ To the shores of Lake Erie skipping stones
+ To the original streets of Evansville, Indiana, and its libraries/museum
+ To countless leadership books and on a philosophical journey
+ And, thanks to my special contributors, places all around the globe

During the course of this work, I had to change a sentence about the cost of a postage stamp not once, but twice. It was 37 cents when I first entered the sentence in 2004, then 39, and now 41. Less than one hour into my 2/1/03 drive West that began everything, I heard on the radio as the Space Shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry; by the end of the work, I was honored to be friends with a NASA astronaut who spent a long time on the International Space Station. During the course of this work, I went from overweight smoker to whom things happened to a marathoner making things happen.

Stay tuned! Nothing is handed to you. If you believe in yourself and follow your passion, I believe good things will happen. Maybe this will be a seminal work in literary history! Maybe it will be my great white elephant and I have just wasted half a decade! That is the thrill in it all. Just have a goal, enter the race, make things happen, and live it. Start and Finish. I have some more work to do now!

2 comments:

Tom said...

Congratulations on finishing your book and for all the other experiences it brought you along the way.

I'm a marathoner and very amateur writer, so I appreciate your passions.

Good luck with the publishing process.

Keep up the good running and writing!

Mark said...

Tom, I appreciate that very much. Same to you with your running and writing and keep us posted!