Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Publisher, the Veteran, and the GPS

I've sent all the materials to the publisher: the manuscript, 16 images, a cover design, "about the authors", "about the book", and all my instructions to the people who will put it together.

We've been working hard for five weeks to get this book finished. I heard back from the publisher's check-in coordinator who's been working with me that my materials are complete and my communication very clear. I should get the proof within three weeks. Her grandfather is a vet and she's going to buy a copy of the book!

Here's the final, newest section of the book, written just this afternoon:

Me: "Art and I spent nearly a month working on the final revisions for this book. We talked often about his day of combat. I asked him what the impact had been of revisiting this experience."

Art: "It hasn’t been easy, not one bit. It’s going back there over and over and over. Remembering is not like it was at first, but it still has its trigger points, barbs, and head rushes.

I went on a retreat recently. It was one day dealing with Viet Nam, but I had a lot of backup, texting to friends at home and letting them know how it was going. And Ed Tick was on the retreat, and there were a lot of vets and other men who were very helpful. But this revision process was just a constant day after day going back there, and not debriefing, and it adds up. So I’ve been pretty wired. One night I was so agitated I punched the GPS in my Prius too hard and broke the glass! Then I talked to another vet, and he shared his experience with me, and it helped.

In spite of that, I’m glad we have written this story. The main purpose was to help other vets. I hope that talking about this journey of healing and how it has helped me – if even one person can get some good out of it and stop the nightmares and gain some peace, it will be worth it."

The rest of the story on the GPS incident is that I was busy making revisions so Art drove to a nearby community to pick up the beef we'd ordered from the butcher. When Art pushed the glass to get the GPS activated, the glass cracked. He pushed other options, and the glass cracked more. Now the glass over the electronic features looks pretty much shattered - like a frenzied spiderweb.

Art called our Toyota dealer. They said the part would be $4800!!!!! We had a quiet chat about how hard the last month has been on both of us as we refined the manuscript about our 2005 return to Viet Nam, where he saw combat back in 1968. We talked about what we could have done differently so he didn't get so stressed out over the process. We discussed canceling our planned trip to Norway in March so we can pay for the replacement part.

This morning Art confirmed that all the features no longer accessible under the dashboard glass -- except the GPS -- can be operated from the steering wheel. Since we're planning on driving the Prius into the ground over the next ten years or so (it's a 2005, so it's already six years old), and since he's the main driver, he may decide to just leave the shattered glass in there. Appearance doesn't matter a whit to him, as long as something is functional. We can take a hand-held GPS with us on trips.

So who knows about Norway?

At this point, I'm so thrilled not to be talking about Viet Nam every waking moment that I don't care.


Travels with Emma said...

I hope Art finds peace with this.

Linda Reeder said...

I hadn't really understood what your book was about until now. Maybe I missed something earlier.
It sounds like a wonderful thing the two of you have done! What a big undertaking. May it be a help to others and a blessing to you.

Rita said...

It will be worth all his stress if it just reaches someone else. All the work you have both put into this is to be commended.

I'd leave it looking like a spider web, too, if what I needed worked--LOL! I hope you get to go to Norway!! :)

DJan said...

Wow, that is one expensive GPS unit! I know what it is because I've been in other Priuses before.

I am so glad that today of all days you can lay aside your project and enjoy 11/11/11, Veterans' Day and a magical number all at once. :-)

Dee said...

Dear Linda,
The book you and Art have just completed is now going out into the world--like a small boat on a stream. It will touch, I have no doubt, many lives.

Some will write Art and you a letter; others won't. But that really doesn't matter. What does matter is that the experience he has shared--and doing so has been costly in terms of remembrance--will speak to others and, I so hope, bring them the peace that Art longs for.

Sally Wessely said...

I am inspired by the way you honor Art in writing his story. It is really insightful to read here about the price Art and others continue to pay because of their service to our country. I also pray for peace for Art.

Let me know when I can order the book.

Georgia said...

So glad you did this. And I know this was hard for Art. Alan's dad still doesn't talk much about his WWII experiences as a bomber. The saying 'war is hell' is so true and the soldiers experiences are so personal and life changing.

Barb said...

How exciting to be publishing your book! (And knowing the hard work of gathering information and writing is over on this project.) You should have a great feeling of accomplishment. Good Luck to both you and Art.

Deb Shucka said...

I look forward to reading the results of all your pain and work. May it bring you both peace and resolution.

Galen Pearl said...

Like others, I appreciate the merging of bits of Art's story with your publishing story. I really think this is wonderful. Hope you can take a break now!

Friko said...

congratulations on achieving completion of your joint enterprise. Well done!

Now you can start to think about what else you need to do!

Unknown said...

I admire that you've accomplished the finishing touches on your book. I know that this is just the beginning of many more adventures for you. Can't wait to hear more about it.

Unknown said...

I admire that you've accomplished the finishing touches on your book. I know that this is just the beginning of many more adventures for you. Can't wait to hear more about it.