When I got up this morning the first thought to pop into my head was “It’s Thursday Blog Day. What am I going to write about?” It’s been a very quiet week, frankly. After I approved the layout for “Bats, Balls, & Burnouts” last week, I requested a slightly different look for the artwork that will be placed atop the first page of each chapter, and I hadn’t heard back from them. I figured this would have to be one of those classic Seinfeldian blog installments about nothing.
And then, just minutes ago, my author’s representative Bridget sent me the revised artwork. And it’s spectacular.
Originally, they came up with a baseball placed over some “tribal” stripes, and while I thought it was fantastically creative and really cool, I knew the baseball only represented a portion of the subject matter. A very key portion, for sure, because baseball has been central to my entire life, but the book really focuses on three major sports: Baseball, soccer, and drag racing.
My first thought was to come up with three different pieces of art. We could have a baseball, a soccer ball, and a Funny Car tire and put the appropriate one atop each chapter. But, what about the chapters in which I’m doing something else, like working for Converse Shoes? Would we put a Chuck Taylor high-top on that chapter? It was going to be confusing, at the very least.
Then it struck me. I asked Bridget if we could do the three major sports in one piece of art, and then put that atop every new chapter. I went so far as to mock it up and send her a close-up of a Funny Car wheel and tire assembly, to give the designer a head-start.
I hadn’t planned to share any of the formatting in the blog, up until now. This is just too cool of a sneak peek not to share. I hope it gets everyone jazzed up over the idea that all of this hard work, spread out over well more than a year, is finally going to be a book. And yes, Chapter 1 is entitled “A Most Uncommon Childhood” because it was just that. And I wouldn’t trade a day of it for any other option.
What we have here is my sports life in a nutshell. Or if not in an actual shell from a nut, at least in one piece of creative artwork. I love it.
It’s cool and it’s me. It’s my life.
So there you have it. I approved it immediately and now the entire manuscript will be formatted and produced. Then, one more quick set of editing passes and we’ll have a book on our hands. Shortly after that, we’ll have a book in our hands. And yes, of course I asked Bridget what the timeline is from here. I’m waiting to hear her best estimate.
And here’s another funny thing. As a writer, you can become completely blind to stuff that other people see immediately. That’s why it’s so hard to proof your own material. Your brain makes the corrections for you, and you don’t see the problem. That was 100 percent the case with the titles of the two sections that come before Chapter 1.
I’ve known all along that such an introductory page is called a “Foreword” because it’s made up of words that come before the actual book. But for some reason I wrote “Forward” over them and then never noticed that dumb mistake. I’ve even been calling them “Forwards” in this blog. Forward is a direction. Foreword is an introduction to a book. Sheesh.
Today, Bridget coyly asked “Bob, would you like me to change the heading to ‘Foreword’ over those two sections?”
After smacking my palm to my forehead and actually laughing out loud, I wrote back and said “Ummm. YES!” I also might have mentioned to her that I’m a complete doofus.
So that’s your book update for this week. And I big important update it is. Also cool.
Moving on to another subject, it’s not just Thursday Blog Day. In the Facebook and social media world’s it’s also Throwback Thursday and I stumbled upon a photo I had forgotten about, which I’m going to post here.
The year is 1951. The three Philadelphia Phillies are, from left to right, Del Ennis, Del Wilber, and Andy Seminick. I don’t know why the look on my dad’s face cracks me up so much, but it does. He looks mischievous, like he just cracked a sarcastic joke. He looks playful, and fun. He’s 32 years old here, but to me he always looked older than his age once he got to the big leagues.
I do wish I had been born early enough to see him play in the Major Leagues, but I have all of these photos to recreate what he looked like and how great he was as a player. He was a career back-up catcher, but in an era when MLB had only eight teams in each league. There were about 32 catchers in the show at any given time. That’s all. Just 32. He was one of them for nearly a decade.
And 1951 was his best year. He played in 84 games and had 263 plate appearances. He hit a solid .278 against big league pitching. A lot of teams today would like to have a catcher who hits .278 for the money they’re paying them. He also hit eight home runs in ’51. And, three of those home runs came in his “perfect game” when he went 3-for-3 against the Reds to singlehandedly account for all the runs in a 3-0 win. That game was the inspiration for the name of our family charity, and this very website you’re looking at now.
And gosh, he looks like such a fun teammate. Miss him every day.
So this is a short one, but it’s a big one at the same time. We are about to welcome a new bouncing baby book to the world soon. And he’ll be a hefty guy, at that. Maybe “husky” is a better word.
I’ll be back with you, same time same channel, next week. By then, I hope we have a decent estimate for a publication timeline. A month? I don’t know, but we’re a heck of a lot closer to it right now than we’ve ever been.
Thanks for your patience, and all of your support!
Bob Wilber, at your service and about to be an author.
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