Category Archive for: ‘Woody Weingarten’

Finished book and little candy hearts bring writer delight

 

Mock-up for book, “Rollercoaster.” Design by Edward Marson; cover photo by Larry Rosenberg.

I can get really excited about little stuff.

So can Nancy Fox, my wife.

A few days back, for instance, she was bouncing on air because she’d had the vintage knives in our San Anselmo kitchen sharpened.

“Unbelievable,” she exclaimed. “They’re like new!”

I loved her enthusiasm.

Almost as much as I’d loved my own ecstasy when I recalled a guilty pleasure from childhood — a bowlful of sliced sweet gherkins and sour cream.

Others may grimace, but I blissed out again.

Big things can also electrify me.

Such as completing tweak No. 8,957 of “Rollercoaster,” my book manuscript that details how a man can survive his partner’s breast cancer.

I finally believe it’s ready for prime time — after years and years of updating and polishing.

Maybe one of you, my steadfast readers, can nurture the project.

If you know a publisher who might be interested, I’d be interested in your giving me name, rank and serial number. If you’re connected to a foundation and think I could be eligible for a grant, send me the details — pronto. If you know a philanthropist who might help buoy thousands and thousands of male caregivers, email, snail-mail, carrier-pigeon or smoke-signal me the info.

“Rollercoaster” is a 47,000-word memoir-chronicle of my wife’s breast cancer 19 years ago — and my role as primary caregiver (and leader of the Marin Man to Man support group for guys with partners in the same sometimes leaky boat).

Fleshed out by essential “how-to” sequences and information on drugs, scientific research and where to get help.

Because I’m more concerned with getting the message out than in making money, I’m willing to donate all royalties to a breast-cancer research organization or relevant nonprofit.

Time’s a-wastin’ — the stats haven’t improved.

More than 2 million U.S. women live with breast cancer, with almost 250,000 new cases diagnosed each year, one every few minutes.

Hundreds of books are aimed at them.

But their male caregivers (husbands, boyfriends, fathers, sons and brothers) typically become a forgotten part of the equation.

And they, too, need propping up.

The few volumes directed at them and still in print are woefully out of date. “Rollercoaster,” in contrast, is current (with references, even, to last month’s New York Times story on a key study of mammograms).

“Rollercoaster” tracks my bumpy yet uplifting journey from the depths of Nancy’s diagnosis to the heights of our climbing the Great Wall of China. It illustrates that most couples can successfully deal with the disease itself, “slash, poison and burn” treatments, fear, and the repercussions of it all — and that there actually can be light at the end of the tunnel.

I must believe in the book or I wouldn’t have tinkered with it 8,957 times.

I’m primed for a “Rollercoaster” hardcover to appear in oncologists’ and radiologists’ offices, in hospitals and libraries, and in the hands of individual caregivers and patients.

But I truly don’t want to change the text anymore — unless Brad Pitt calls me and wants to write an intro (so, if anyone knows how to get to him, tell me).

And I truly reject the idea of papering my walls with rejection notices.

Northern Californian Jack London got 600 of them before publishing anything. And Gertrude Stein submitted poems for 22 years before one was accepted.

I don’t have that kind of patience.

Nor do I want to be published posthumously.

I do want to help all the male caregivers of breast cancer and other life-threatening diseases that need support — while I’m still breathing.

So I guess I’ll just walk my purebred mutt, Kismet, in downtown San Anselmo while waiting for a fairy godmother to arrive with a publisher in tow.

And settle, for the moment, for being thrilled by the little stuff.

Like my wife creating a Seuss-like rhyming treasure hunt last month, with the Big Prize being a small box of tiny candy hearts.

I loved her reverting to her kindergarten-teacher days and getting me to run up and down stairs so many times I decided to forgo my daily exercises.

“Ten clues are written,” she wrote,

“For Valentine’s Day,”

“To celebrate ours”

“In a new, goofy way.”

Yes, being thrilled is a thrill — whether it’s tiny, silly things or big, important stuff.

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