I got a note in the mail from my publisher, Travelers’ Tales, today. It included an accounting of how the two books have done in the last two quarters. Let me just say this: To anyone who has picked up the book – thank you, thank you, thank you!
Writing a book was a lifelong dream, and I am indebted to you who have made it come true. Without the people I’ve met, the kind reviews and your willingness to give my sense of humor a try, it never would’ve happened.
For anyone who doesn’t know the story, here’s the quick version:
Growing up I was a voracious reader. I’m the guy that used to get in trouble for reading in the back of class instead of paying attention to what the teacher was saying. That, naturally, led to an urge to one day write a book. When I was quite young, I thought I wanted to write about sports. Or rabbits. I can’t really remember. I just know that I wanted to write as far back as kindergarten.
When I was a teenager I wanted to write action-filled pulp novels. Swords, gunpowder, manly-men fighting against evil – stuff like that. I got into the 1930s fiction of Robert E. Howard, the macabre stuff of Edgar Allen Poe and anything by Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. I wanted to live in those worlds.
Know what though? Fiction is hard.
In college I took a creative writing class and a journalism class. I knew I wanted to write, so I thought those two classes would get me typing away every day. Creative writing was fun, but journalism is what did it for me. Why? Because I could write something today and see it in print tomorrow. Instant gratification. That’s me in a nutshell. Just ask Amy – she’ll tell you.
Fast-forward about 18 years and I found myself laid off from a magazine publisher. As I sat in front of my computer at home wondering what to do next, it hit me: If I was ever going to attempt to write a book, I better do it now. I had the time and the obsession in the form of Walt Disney World. So I started writing.
I came up with an outline and started filling in the blanks. The days melted away as I logged-on to a Disney music Live365 station, put my fingers on the keyboard and disappeared into Walt Disney World. I swear it was like I spent the day at whatever park or resort I was writing about. It was completely immersive. I’d start typing, and my computer room and desk would disappear and I’d be standing in the middle of the Magic Kingdom looking around and writing about what I saw. It was an unbelievably rewarding experience.
Next I had to find a publisher. Long story short, I found a perfect fit with Travelers’ Tales. They have been incredibly supportive and I’m forever grateful to have found them.
And that was the end of my dream. For the moment, anyway.
I had never thought beyond writing the book, getting a publisher and visiting in a book store. That was everything I had envisioned from the time I was very young, and I saw it come true. It never struck me that as soon as it hit the shelves, it would be judged, and when that became a reality it scared the life out of me. Thankfully, everyone has been very kind, forgiving and supportive. There was so much more to the experience than I could’ve ever imagined.
Amazingly, I got to do it again. The second book was published and I was officially way beyond what I could have foreseen.
Through it all I met new friends, visited my favorite vacation destination many more times and felt gratitude toward anyone who took the time to say hello or talk about Disney.
Which is why I wanted to write this thank-you note. Once the book was out in the wild, it struck me that it might be nice if people bought it. Turns out, you did. And that’s what made my dream come true. Yes, it’ll sound corny, but as the Man once said, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” Or, as the Avett Brothers say in a tune that struck me right between the eyes one day, “Decide what to be and go be it.”
So thank you again for being so great and putting up with my odd perspective and our shared obsession. And for making my dream come true.