Recently, after speaking at my second international Counseling and Treating People of Colour Conference in Panama City, Panama, Reverend Dr. Diane Gardner-Slater from Goldsboro, North Carolina, purchased 14 of my Finding You at the Zoo books for her family and friends. “I have just bankrupted myself purchasing your book for my son Andrew and so many other of my family and friends. I just kept thinking about all these people I care about who I know need to hear your words,” she told me. “It is such a liberating book if one listens beyond the words.”

At the conference, I shared that although the book’s audience is children and adults of all ages in all walks of life, I had one very special person in mind when I carefully selected each word. Myself.

An English professor once taught me, “Great writers with their writing strive to get to the center of town, strip naked, and bare their souls to the world.” Of course, my professor was speaking metaphorically, but his words struck me so profoundly and ever since I have been moving on this journey to the center of town.

In 2009, I wrote a baseball memoir called The County Stadium Kid that was close to being published when my dad died by suicide. I know I need to re-write the memoir through the lens of honoring my dad’s legacy, and I just have not yet been able to do it. Although I managed to write and publish four sports trivia books from 2010-2016, my real writing with my true authentic voice was trapped inside of me for a variety of reasons. 

In 2002, Steven Pressfield who wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance, wrote The War of Art and focused on how writers have to overcome what he called “Resistance,” (he chose to capitalize the “R”) the forces that keep us from being truly ourselves and the best version of ourselves.

“The more important a call or action to our soul’s evolution, the more Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it,” Pressfield wrote.

Although I feel and face this Resistance daily, I won the battle when I completed Finding You at the Zoo in 2020, and I am winning the war today as I write to you and continue to work on other writing projects that are fighting their way out of me, including the final draft of The County Stadium Kid and a completed first draft of my novela Satch’s Destiny, which is set on Old Friends Farm.

I carefully chose my words for Finding You at the Zoo hoping everyone of all ages in all walks of life gain inspiration and tools to move toward their best selves and spirit’s callings, but as I strive to be completely vulnerable and authentic here with you, I chose the words for me, knowing there would be a day I would need to read them to myself to help me move on leaving my wife.

I filed for divorce November of 2021 and the my book’s “Fix and focus your eyes forward. Forward, forward, always forward,” helped me sustain the fortitude necessary to get to and through the end of a two and half year divorce process and the finish line of a very unhealthy 21-year marriage.

As I decelerate, rest, and refocus after this 23-year at times suffocating stretch, I stand here today in front of you, hands and arms stretched wide open like Usain Bolt setting a World Record time, celebrating that I overcame intense adversity and Resistance! As I move forward from here, I promise to commit to the life and work that I know I am called to live and destined to complete.

The stronger the breeze, the stronger the trees.

Our best and most important work is always ahead of us.