Three years ago, I walked out of Tim Kreider’s house with a 300-page, typed manuscript and a large box of letters he had received from people in the community who had wanted him to know he was not alone. We whittled the 80,000-word manuscript down to about 45,000 words, then added scenes, rewrote large sections, revised, added some more, and finally ended up at around 60,000 words, or 200 pages.
There were drafts that lay dormant for months, when Tim needed a break from the story of his own life. There were chapters too difficult to focus on, so we put them to the side until later. There were long nights spent across a tape recorder, nights when a bottle of wine slowly emptied, nights when we sat in silence as the reality of his life hung around us like a cloud.
There are images from the story I will never forget: the brutal crime scene; the day Tim found out his son had been committed to a psychiatric facility; the confession. There are things Tim has said that will never leave me, none more powerful than the questions he asks about making the long walk through the prison to see Alec, and what it will be like to make that walk when he is an old man. Questions like, “Who will visit Alec in prison after I’m gone?”
There were joyful nights, too. Finishing the manuscript. Choosing a cover photo. Holding the proof copies in our hands and hoping, hoping, hoping that somehow the painful retelling of this story would make a difference, change the trajectory of a life, prevent the unthinkable from happening again. There were the early reviews, the first hints of people who were being changed by Tim’s story.
There was the realization that Maile and I had become life-long friends with this couple, Tim and Lynn, simply through the shared mission of trying to retell a story.
Three years ago we started on this road. And it all comes to fruition tomorrow, when we unpack boxes of books and sit behind a table at Aaron’s Books, an independent book seller in Lititz, PA. It’s been a long time coming. It’s been a long journey. So here we are.
Many of you have asked, “How can we help?” If you’d like, you can buy the book. The different options for doing that are HERE. I also wrote a blog post not that long ago entitled, “20 Free Ways to Help Your Writer-Friend Survive the Writing Life.” So if you’d like to help but don’t want to spend any money, you can check that out HERE. You can invite Tim to speak at your church, library, business, or other organization. You can buy 500 copies and give one to each of your Facebook friends. There are all kinds of ways to help.
Finally, Tim and I would love to see you at Aaron’s Books tomorrow anytime from 12 to 2pm. Thanks so much for all your help on this incredible journey. I hope you read the book, and I hope it gives you a different perspective on life, gives you a glance into what Tim has been through, and, most importantly, gives you hope that no matter what you’re currently going through, you don’t have to drown in the circumstances. You can find hope.