“My fitness program was never a fitness program. It was a campaign, a revolution, a conversion. I was determined to find myself, and in the process found my body and the soul that went with it.” – George Sheehan
The day has come. Twenty-four Years to Boston–My Journey from the Vegetable Aisle to Boylston Street, my memoir based on the marathon, hit the presses at St. Johann Press and is listed on Amazon.com. Since I began this blog two years ago, I’ve shared some of the stories that appear in the book and posted the Chapter Summaries. I’ve also learned that writing and publishing a book requires the endurance of a marathoner.
Writing is a journey. I’ve written most of my life, primarily technical writing and publishing reports, but I never had the appreciation for what it takes to write a book. Internationally acclaimed author and marathoner Haruki Murakami puts it this way, “Writing novels, to me, is basically a kind of manual labor. Writing itself is mental labor, but finishing an entire book is closer to manual labor.” Murakami’s assessment is difficult for a non-writer to comprehend, but I’ve learned it is true.
For the overwhelming majority of writers, publication is a maze; a crapshoot that takes some measure of talent and a lot of luck. Querying agents and publishers requires creativity, finesse, and perseverance. Summarizing your story in a few compelling sentences to convince an agent or publisher that your story is more appealing than the hundreds of thousands published each year requires stamina and immunity to rejection. There is no lack of examples of literary icons, such as Joseph Heller and Herman Melville, who had books rejected. So who the hell do I think I am?
I have many people to thank for helping me along the way. First, I must thank my fellow-writers at the Bucks County Writer’s Workshop, the talented pool of scribes who helped me shape my words and sentences into a story. I am forever grateful to each one of you, the readers who visit my blog, leave thoughtful comments, and gave me the encouragement and advice that kept me going for over 150 posts, an endurance feat in of itself. And of course, I must thank my running partners, especially those at Back on My Feet in Philly.
Finally, I created Rite2Run to establish a platform for Twenty-four Years to Boston, but it became a forum to share stories and ideas about running, fitness, writing, travel and art. Now that my memoir is published, I plan to continue posting relative topics, or you can visit my website at Writings by Jim Brennan, which links to Rite2Run and my other blogs.