If you have kept score you might have noticed we missed a pair of blogs here at 2020 Vision Quest’s “On The Path” outreach to our community. If you are wondering who is responsible for such things, look no further than me as that’s one of my duties. I’m a little disappointed but I have to tell you the “To Do” list piled up a little more than normal and I had to make some decisions in the priority. Today I get to share both my response to the feeling of being overwhelmed and some of the rather fantastic reasons behind it all.
I do not always respond ideally to feeling like I’m on the edge. This rather fun photo from the United Way “United Over the Edge” event last June highlights one positive response to a physical moment. In life moments I feel the stresses and pressure of a schedule occasionally a bit out of control. For me a list and a priority plan are quality tools but the best tool of all is to share how I’m feeling to inspire a little collaboration on the plan for managing. Essential in that process is to understand frustration leads faster to failure and curiosity creates calm. The quicker I convert frustration to curiosity, the quicker I’m on the path to resolution.
As for what has been building the backlog, I won’t be able to share everything but a few very worthy highlights:
Schools are at the heart of our mission and we are back at schools presenting with reviews already suggesting we are on the right path!
Did I mention we have this enormous book launch incredibly close to happening? You might even expect the big news in next week’s blog on official dates, blurbs and more!
Our 2020 Vision Quest website has been in the midst of a massive redesign and will launch on Wednesday of this week! We are excited to share the many aspects of it we feel will allow it to help us further our mission.
Most of you know I dislocated my ankle badly last November and ultimately dashed my National Marathon Championship hopes. I’m hard at work training to be ready for the December 2 return with Rodney Andre guiding me to the best performance I can provide.
Finally, we are less than 48 days away from our 9th Annual Peak Potential Event. While we are sold-out (Thank you!) and have tremendous sponsorship support, we are still working on the Auction details and ensuring it’s an event worthy of all those who put their trust in us for that very goal!
I hope you’ll forgive the two week hiatus and join us in celebrating the handful of exciting details above as well as the very big news coming next week.
“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” – Andrew Carnegie
So much of my life has benefitted from the incredible people with whom I have partnered along the path. In this book project, I’ve had partnerships aplenty. Even in the writing I was not alone as Tracy and I have been in this together, poring over every chapter, page, line and word to craft what we believe is a quality result. My friend Gene has been the editor — not just for the grammatical errors, of which there were many notable issues, but also for some excellent content guidance. My first and full test reader, Chris Woods, knows me well enough to share candidly even on some of the difficult topics: what works, what didn’t work, what needs more, and what needs to go away. Greg Neault has agreed to create the cover design for us and we are well on the way to finishing that process. Many more friends have had roles of encouragement and support bringing us to the effectively finished product of this book: See You at The Summit – My Journey From The Depths Of Loss To The Heights Of Achievement.
Now I’m asking for some of you to consider joining a new team with me. We are set to publish and have the process reasonably well in hand. I think most already know but for clarity, we are going to donate all of the proceeds at this point to 2020 Vision Quest and that increases our desire to help this be an excellent success.
We have chosen to manage all the promotion and events geared towards making this the best success possible. When do we reveal the cover and how? Where and when might I appear for book signings? How do we create the network of readers and enthusiasts who hopefully help us share a book we think has value to the world? This means I’ll need to convince you of its value as well and that’s no forgone conclusion on my part.
The more places we can think to reach out and connect to build excitement and connectivity for the book and its impending release, the better a success we may find for us and the 2020 Vision Quest charity. We believe the launch will officially happen on November 17 at our 9th Annual Peak Potential Dinner and Auction. This means I need to quickly get to work on all the best planning and approaches and it starts with this core team. Initially we need brainstorming and eventually we’ll need to be reaching out and contacting opportunities for signings, interviews and general promotion.
If you wish to help us on this big project, reach out to me with questions, comments or simply your suggestion you want to help and I’ll make a list. My intent is to communicate with an occasional conference call, some form of electronic connection such as an email list and very rarely, if ever, a live get-together. Some of us may meet at times if convenience encourages but people near and far may contribute and I’m eager to get started. My first outreach will happen on September 15 to the entire team at that point. We’ll have only two months until launch and so need every bit of that time.
So what do you think? Want to be part of this next team?
I’ve finished writing the book but the complete work is not quite finished! We’ve been teasing at this book release on the front page of our website and in various social media posts for a little bit of time and it’s finally time to dedicate a full blog to the topic. Way back in 2015, inspired by the vast number of request for just such a thing, I set myself the goal to write the book of my life’s journey. As many know, my neurological condition had an interruption planned for 2016 and my writing goal necessarily fell by the wayside.
After the two-year delay, I returned in earnest this year to the project and the result has been a fantastic journey in my own growth. I’m here to tell you the draft is complete! We have already passed several edit cycles though a bit more is still being done to polish the final product for release. Writing a book is no small project and this is no small book as it checks in at roughly 100,000 words.
The process has involved my generating drafts and working on them myself until I feel they are ready to share with Tracy. She and I then go through an edit cycle together and I cannot stress enough how much this is our book as a result of her incredible talent, support, and encouragement. After we finish each section, it has gone to a professional editor who happens to be a good friend–thank you, Gene Lejeune. I’ve also had a few other friends read some or all to give reactions encouraging still more adjustments. Ultimately we are far enough along to be confident in the information I am sharing now.
The title of the book is “See You At The Summit.” The subtitle of “A Journey from the Depths of Loss to the Heights of Achievement” provides a little more insight into this auto-biographical journey. When and how can you expect to have a copy? We plan to have the book available for our 9th Annual Peak Potential Dinner and Auction event on November 17, 2018. Why not join us for the evening which will serve additionally as our initial book launch celebration?
This is the unofficial announcement and we expect to make official announcement we hope you’ll help us share far and wide come September. In the meanwhile, here’s the list of chapters in the order presently planned but understanding we are still providing some polish to the final product.
Introduction – A Leap of Faith
Chapter 1: Start at the Beginning
Chapter 2: First Struggles with Blindness
Chapter 3: NERO – Be All You Can’t Be
Chapter 4: Modi Norse Dog of Courage
Chapter 5: Losing Sight of the World
Chapter 6: Full Tilt Full Time Fan of the Year
Chapter 7: Ostend Summit to Surrender and Back Again
Chapter 8: Wheelchairs, Momentum and a Hiking Stick
Chapter 9: A Colebrook Boy At Heart
Chapter 10: Coming of Age
Chapter 11: The Mighty Quinn
Chapter 12: Hooray Tracy
Chapter 13: A Vision for 2020 Vision Quest
Chapter 14: Running, Marathons and Mudders
Chapter 15: Ashes Over Kilimanjaro
I hope you’ll look forward to reading as much as I enjoyed writing it and that soon we will “See you at the summit”!
“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Dr. Seuss
I just emerged from a difficult anniversary as it has now been two years that the Mighty Quinn is gone from us. The week leading up to it, WGBH in Boston and several other public television stations re-aired NHPTV’s “Windows to the Wild” episode of “Hiking in the Dark.” How incredible is it to know television stations air programming to honor our marvelous boy and his incredible accomplishments?
This week, we release my January writing collections intended for the book I hope to release at the end of the year. Those who have chosen can be pre-reading and commenting upon the story of my life’s adventures and the lessons found along the path.
Few of us in this world are spared the grief and pain of losing a loved one to death’s cruelty. Many of us understand all too well the bonds we can form with our beloved pets. My Dog Guides are so much more to me than a pet — and their loss takes a piece of me with them each time. Fortunately for me, their presence in my life leaves such a larger legacy of love, learning, and growth that I am far more for the experience of having had them in my life. As I ease away from the sadness and nostalgic reflections brought by Quinn’s passing, I want to share with you just a few paragraphs which I’m releasing to those following the progress of my book as mentioned above. It was a gift of sorts I gave to myself and an honor I felt my Quinn deserved when this year provided the opportunity. This is from a chapter I call “The Ashes of Kilimanjaro.”
I was physically exhausted. Despite the freezing temperatures, my cheeks were wet with the salty warm tears pushed out of my sightless eyes by the heaving sobs lurching from deep within my abdomen. All of my muscles ached with their oxygen-deprived exertions which had propelled me to the top of this Pillar of the Earth. I had not slept for two days and three nights which left an exhaustion nearly as complete as my grief. My hand trembled slightly as I used my index finger to slide through the weather-crushed rock which felt like sand to me as I began to form the letters of his name. Q – u – i – n – n.
Below his name I pressed my fingers more firmly and deeply to create a hole. Reaching into the chest pocket of my snow pants I withdrew the pristine handkerchief which had been so carefully prepared one week earlier.
Tracy and I had gone to the meditation room in the back corner of our home in Nashua, NH. In that room the ashes of my three boys are kept in a place of honor for the love, life, and joy we shared together. I hold none of my dogs more dear in my heart for each unconditionally and entirely gave entirely of their being to the partnership we shared. I too gave each my best love and care as I learned from them and with them so many lessons of being a better participant in the world we share together.
We pause there beneath a beautiful tapestry of Quinn from our final hike together. Pearls have been worked into the piece to provide a braille translation of the quote from Ghandi. I think briefly on Rachel Morris for giving us the quote, Kevin Gagnon for giving us the tapestry, but mostly of my Quinn gone from us for over a year and yet still so powerfully with me in everything I attempt. Tracy and I unfold the crisp new white pocket square and each of us reach into Quinn’s urn and collect some of his ashes for the journey. I’m surprised to feel the bits of bone whichare mingled within the ashes and it pains me for reasons I cannot fully explain. Ever so gently, I refold the handkerchief with his ashes now held within. I tuck that into the chest pocket of the ¾ snowpants which will be worn only on the summit ascent.
A sob shakes me from my remembrance and I feel Jose place a comforting hand on my shoulder. I pull open the handkerchief and ease his ashes into the hole. I feel the tears flowing steadily and I allow the drops to roll off my cheek and into this honorary grave I’ve created here atop the tallest stand alone mountain in the world. I mutter to myself what may have seemed barely coherent to Jose from our isolated retreat here on Uhuru’s peak. “I love you so much, my dear sweet Quinn-boy. You gave so much to me. It was you who taught me to fully walk again, it was you who taught me to run and who ever so patiently guided me to learn how to hike. We shared a lot of peaks, my beautiful boy, and all because you believed in me, encouraged me, supported me with an unrivaled spirit. Of course you are here with me today too and while I may never reach a higher mountain summit, we will forever bound across limitless peaks of love and achievement. A bit of you will always belong here as your love and friendship are the highest summit any of us could ever know.”
Then I simply cried until there was no more water for my tears. I hugged Jose tightly loving his friendship even as my heart yearned most for the thick furry body of Quinn to force itself under my arm and against my side as he did so many times in our past. Ever so slowly, we turned back to our team gathered around the summit sign for this tallest of Kilimanjaro’s peaks.
Those in attendance at our Sixth Annual Peak Potential Dinner and Auction in November were afforded a very limited opportunity to be an integral part of the experience ahead. For those not in attendance, we want to now invite you enjoy a part of that experience. We have created a private and secure website where each month throughout this year I’ll upload a portion of my writings intended for the book. This will allow for all those participating to have an advanced reading of all the sections under consideration for the final product well in advance of that book release. You’ll also have insight into sections which while very pertinent to me may not make the final entry into the book. As such you’ll have a more complete and full experience than those who ultimately receive the final version of the book which we anticipate releasing next year.
How does this become possible for you? For a donation of $55 to 2020 Vision Quest, you may have your email added to the list receiving the monthly release of my writings to our secure site. You’ll be able to visit that site at your convenience and review not only that month’s release but the entire year’s uploads. This is a great means for you to help support the incredible work of 2020 Vision Quest while proving yourself with a very rare and special gift into my newest and perhaps most epic quest of all.