As our television viewing for the evening came to a close, I leaned up off the couch and told my wife, Helene, “Well, I gotta go to work.”
“Oh,” she said in an empathetic voice, “too bad.”
“Oh, no. I get to write about the crowning achievement of the last ten years of my life.”
I finally signed a publishing contract today for my book I began writing way back in July of 2001. That first bit of writing was a chronicle of the early events that sustained my efforts to try to qualify to play on what was then the Senior PGA Tour (now the Champions Tour). It was a quest that eventually lasted nine years and led me all across the country (and Canada) trying to Monday qualify into that week’s tournament. I tried to do that 124 times. And I tried 8 times to get through the annual, four-day qualifying tournament, Q-School. I also attempted to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open 3 times. All to no avail.
Well, it wasn’t quite to no avail. As a matter of fact, apart from marrying Helene, it might have been the most substantive thing, the most principled thing, I ever tried to do in my life.
In case you haven’t heard the back story of this blog yet, I became fascinated with certain principles from the human potential movement that make life much more facile: Mastery, how do you master any skill; Transformation, how do you transform yourself into whatever you want to become; and Commitment, how do you fuel the fires of your efforts. If these ideas had any efficacy, why not apply them to one of the most fun things in the world to do, playing professional golf at the highest level?
The working title of the book is, Generating Miracles: A Spiritual Adventure on the Champions Tour. And how that came about is another story layered on the foundational one. When you are trying to learn things in a masterful way, you lean in real close and pay very close attention. When you are trying to create the new you, you can almost feel yourself transforming by the day. And when you are inspired by the commitment to achieve your goal, these little mini-successes strengthen your resolve. You can see that “it’s working.”
And so with that leaning in…and those new senses of yourself…and that self-generating commitment loop, your awareness expands and you notice things that you never noticed before.
And what I noticed was that things were happening in the process that were directly supportive of my goals, but weren’t things I was trying to make happen: a championship golf course with a suddenly dirt cheap annual membership with no greens fees; a pairing on that remote course with a man who had played inspirationally in the Senior Open and affirmed that I could play at that level too; and, not ten days later on that same remote course, a Tour caddie with that same emphatic affirmation and a helpful offer to caddie for me in a couple of practice rounds for free. Just to see.
I had been gingerly dabbling in spiritual material by that time — another manifestation of that expanded awareness — and slowly but surely, my ambivalence about the existence of God became a conviction that many of these “everyday miracles” were his doing. There were just too many of them.
To the point where ultimately, with rejection after rejection, I became convinced that when it was time for my literary agent to show up, she would show up. When it was time for the book to be published, my publisher would show up.
And finally, that’s what happened. A chance encounter with a young writer named, Adam Slutsky, in the otherwise empty locker room at my fitness center, unearthed a kind, generous man who became determined to get my book published. He began effusively introducing me to various agents he had used in the course of his busy career. Each time he moved on, he brought me along. This went on for six years.
Early this year, we moved on to Renee Fountain at Gandolfo Helin Literary Management in New York and she liked my book proposal enough that she signed me. Adam said that she was hard working and tireless. And in a matter of months, that proved to be true; she had an offer from Motivational Press in Carlsbad, California. They have this to say about themselves on their website:
“At Motivational Press, we believe in making a difference in the lives of others and contributing in any way that we can to help our clients get their message to the world.”
“When we talk, we will ask you about your work, listen deeply to your response to fully understand it, and share with you all the ways that we can put it out into the marketplace. We will connect you to the right people and work with you through unlimited revisions until we’re sure that you fall completely in love with the product. Then we’ll set up marketing and promotional systems to get your book picked up by readers throughout the world.”
That’s the deal I signed up for today because their core goal of making a difference in the lives of others is completely congruent with my own. I cannot begin to tell you how excited I am as my book finally moves into this new phase.
So with my eternal thanks to Adam and Renee and Motivational Press, be on the lookout! It’s finally happening! Just as I always knew it would.
I’ll keep you posted.