Strawberries in wintertime are something I cannot recall from my boyhood in Ohio. This changed when my family took a Christmas vacation to Ventura in Southern California in 1971. I had never before seen the ocean in person; explored tidal pools at low tide; or chased a “grunion run” under a full moon’s high tide.
And here is something else magical: fresh strawberries in wintertime!
Driving from the farmer’s market stand back to the beach house where we were staying, I ate crabapple-sized strawberries by the handful, by the big mouthful, sweet red nectar dripping down my chin.
The following summer we moved from Columbus to Ventura and strawberries became a year-round fare. Still, in my mind they have always remained a special treat in wintertime. Hence the title of this collection of essays – each one, I hope, will lift your spirits, make you smile, and leave you wanting another.
A note about the format of STRAWBERRIES IN WINTERTIME: originally, I arranged the essays in groupings of similar themes as is the general method in this genre. However, editing the pieces while listening to music one evening, I was inspired to rearrange the essays like an album where an artist purposely varies the tempo and lyrical style from one song to next in an effort to create an overarching flow.
So have I tried to do. To be sure, some essays of similar theme simply begged to be placed together in pairings or small clusters, as with the handful about my travels to Ireland to learn more about my distant family roots. For the most part, however, I have strived to weave together groupings of four or five dissimilar essays that still flow from one to the next, and then three or four more, over and again. The end effect, I hope, is similar to a set of pleasant waves, much like those I enjoyed as an 11-year-old boy at play in the Pacific Ocean for the first time. Furthermore, these “Essays on Life, Love, and Laughter” – even the few about Loss – aim to warm your heart.
Topics include: hellos and goodbyes; celebrating “lasts” as well as “firsts”; old, new and rekindled friendships; childhood and fatherhood (and motherhood, too); wedding anniversaries and graduations; the magic of a jar filled with marbles and the beauty of a messy garage; Batman from my boyhood and heroes from adulthood; and much more that will make you smile, think, laugh and perhaps shed a few tears as well.
One preview reader of the manuscript has kindly compared this collection of essays to the bestseller “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.”
As a national award-winning sports columnist and general interest essayist; a Jim Murray Memorial Foundation Journalists Hall of Fame inductee; and winner of the James S. Copley “Ring of Truth” Award, among other prestigious honors, I could well pursue publication of STRAWBERRIES IN WINTERTIME via a literary agent and New York publishing house.
However, my Kickstarter experience two years ago with my previous book – WOODEN & ME: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach and Humanitarian to Help “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece” – was so positive that I am excitedly choosing this route again. Doing so allows me full creative control in sharing my precise vision, much like an Indie-produced film, and I am also able to publish at least a year sooner than with a traditional NY publisher.
As I ask for your generous support with this worthy project, let me leave you with these words from Coach Wooden from WOODEN & ME: “There is great joy in helping others.”
I hope you will find “great joy” in helping STRAWBERRIES IN WINTERTIME come to fruition. Thank you!
Risks and challenges
The major challenge was writing the essays and organizing them with the best flow among the various themes. Another challenge was revising the entire manuscript, over and again, so it is now a polished collection I am most proud of sharing with readers. The front cover design has been mocked up and the back cover is awaiting only the addition of the generous MVP, Manuscript and VIP level supporters. Similarly, the book's interior layout has been completed except for the final list of “Patrons In Print” level Kickstarter backers on the acknowledgment pages.
The funds raised through Kickstarter from your generous support will be used to overcome the final hurdles: final editing and proofreading; hiring a professional graphic design artist to finalize the covers and interior layout; publishing costs; and mailing out "STRAWBERRIES IN WINTERTIME: Essays on Life, Love, and Laughter" to backers.
When this Kickstarter campaign finishes – successfully! – in early October, I will provide the MVP, Manuscript and VIP supporters’ names to the graphic designer to include on the back cover and inside acknowledgements pages. Once the exterior design and interior layout are completed by mid-October, the finalized materials will be given to the book publishing company. After inspection of the printer’s proof for any errors on their end, the paperback books will be delivered to me in November. I will then excitedly sign and mail the books (and other rewards) to have in your hands by the promised delivery date of December 1st. In fact, a cushion for unexpected issues has been included in the timeline and my expectation is to get STRAWBERRIES IN WINTERTIME to you before the promised delivery date – and well in time to give as gifts this holiday season.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (17 days)