Sources of Joy: On My Teacher’s Shoulders Proof Arrives

It’s been a heavy slog these days with the Newtown shootings casting a pall over the country.

I’ve also been feeling a bit rundown today.

But not so drained that I could not appreciate the arrival of the proof paperback edition of On My Teacher’s Shoulders: Lessons Learned Along The Way.

Paul Tamburello sent the copy along, a lime green strip of paper sticking out of the inside cover page.

He wrote the words “Copy #1 Nov 2012” below the cover.

It’s a slender book, just a little shy of 150 pages, and it’s got an epigraph, a Table of Contents, a dedication, 15 chapters, a prologue, an epilogue and acknowledgments to boot.

Paul and I first discussed this project in the summer of 1999, a few months after I had run the Boston Marathon in his honor.

I saw the basic structure of having learned from him at three different points in my life then.

While we’ve lived a lot since then.

Paul retired in 2004, grappled with other health challenges, traveled and danced widely, made an adoptive home in the New Orleans/Lafayette area and blogged extensively about his adventures.

Dunreith and I have married each other three times, moved from Western Massachusetts to Evanston, gone through a career change, raised Aidan together and dealt with the decline and deaths of both of her parents and my stepmother Diane Lowenstein.

Yet the arc of the story has not changed.

One change I will say is that Paul and I have gotten to the point where we both step on each other’s shoulders, that is learn from each other, in a variety of ways. In that sense the story’s substance has changed slightly. Or, to be more precise, it’s continued to evolve.

But the book I conceived is done and, more and more, out in the world.

This week Jamie Dondero of the Harvard Book Store will fire up the Espresso Book Machine and print out our first batch of books.

We’ve got quite a few orders that we’re ready to fulfill, and are learning in areas I had never before anticipated.

The completion of the book is a chance to put a check next to a giant task on my figurative bucket list.

But it’s also part of a gradual emergence into the belief that Dunreith and I together can weave a life out of our deepest dreams and most basic values.

Becoming a writer and finishing this project are significant steps and parts of that process.

For this, as well as for the many gifts I received along the way to bringing my vision into reality, I am grateful.

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