Sunday, July 31, 2016

Bike MS 2016 - Whiskey in the Jar

It takes a village

My MS and E is a work inspired by a lifetime of support and inspiration. I’d like to thank just a few of the many who made this story a reality:

The Cast
  • E – It goes without saying, but it still must be said that Eleanor is truly my inspiration. She is the reason I fight so hard. She teaches me new lessons every day, reminders of why I need to fight. My Little Love
  • Mama – Brie plays a lot of roles in our lives, always steering, carrying, and providing the essential support needed when life goes awry. My life… My love…
  • a colonel – Colonel Terry Walters, U. S. Army (Retired), West Point Class of 1980.  Doctor Walters made quite an impression on me back in September of 1999. Her accomplishments don’t quite receive the justice they deserve when I try to share my gratitude in my stories but, trust me, I am forever in debt!
  • this bride and that groom – Leah and Ryan Goudie. Thank you for setting the stage and creating magic to last a lifetime. Congratulations!
  • the Irish band – The Haggis Brothers ( From the moment they started until the wedding tunes ceased, all E wanted to do was twirl! Inspiration personified.
  • GO ARMY! – Captain Tyler Hash, U.S. Army, West Point Class of 2012. When I first wrote the story, Eleanor refused to read it with me unless there were pictures. While flipping through some Go Army! Beat Navy! shots she fell in love with this picture of then-Cadet Hash. I haven’t quite had the heart to tell her that he is engaged… Beef Gravy, Ty!

The Support – as much as I might like to pretend I made this happen by myself, the artistic and technical expertise supporting this effort truly brought My MS and E to life. Thank you! If you have professional requirements in these areas, look no further:
  • Illustration and Layout – Nate Jensen. Ellie twirling across the cover of the book says it all. What an outstanding artist!
  • Editing – Michael J. Haas. Reigning in my content and context is definitely one monumental challenge. Editing my meter and rhyme in a children’s story was quite the herculean task. Mike, I apologize for making you read those first few drafts!
  • Publishing – BookLocker.  Publishing your first book is hard. Your first children’s picture book?...for minimal cost as a non-profit venture?…expecting national/global outreach? Well, if that’s what you expect then you’d better just stop looking. Email Angela. Nate and Mike made my story sellable, Angela made it a book!
  • Final Layout – Gwen Gades. Final polishing of our work, now ready for press!
  • Plus, the Army of proofreaders, content editors, and reviewers who tweak the final product.

It takes a village, indeed! Thank you all so much for making this dream a reality.

It’s easy to create a story when you have already watched it play out before your eyes as I did that weekend. My favorite aspect of the book is the fact that, quite simply, every bit of this tale is real. The conversations E and I have. Her energy and excitement over all things she comes in contact with. Twirling. It was her twirling at the wedding which inspired my words. While watching Ellie dance, as I was trying to enjoy this a moment or two, I snapped this photo:

I watched in amazement as she twirled and she twirled and she twirled and she twirled, like there’s no other need for this girl! For the entire wedding, the trip home, and most of the month afterwards, it seemed like all she could talk about was “twirling”. Viola, the story that wrote itself!

I do have to give non sequitur credit to one more inspiration. Metallica, a long time source of motivation for me, is the final piece for My MS and E. Like this year, the inspiration for all my blogs in 2015 came on the music I chose for my ride. Unlike this year, my music selection was the music I use to exploit the raw energy and motivation feeling my emotions ( When The Haggis Brothers broke out into a fine Irish version of “Whiskey in the Jar”, I had my theme. Watching Eleanor twirl just forced the rhyme.

The hard part as just begun: marketing the book, selling as many copies as possible in support of my fight, and fighting. Whenever my mind wanders to the fear of what will still come in this fight against MS, all have to do is reflect on the book that my daughter and I wrote together:

The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®

* Inspiration: The Dubliners - Whiskey in the Jar, Major Minor Records, 1967

For the full selection of Ellie's 2016 BikeMS mix, go to:
 Never Stop... Never Quit... Reg. U.S. Pat. & Tm. Off.

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