The Making of Firm Grip

A picture of the book Firm Grip on a table

I never set out to write a book. I had no lifelong dream to be an author. Writing a book wasn’t on my bucket-list. And it certainly wasn’t part of any career change plans. Being a lawyer is my thing. Still is.

But I also didn’t plan on a cancer diagnosis at age fifty-one. I was in the prime years of my law practice. My wife and I were exploring the new-found freedoms of being empty nesters. And I was in the best physical shape of my life. I was healthy, active, and full of energy, eager for all the good life that awaited me.

There’s no room for cancer in a life like that. Cancer doesn’t get to charge in unannounced, uninvited, and steal my thunder. But it turns out cancer doesn’t ask for permission. My life looked like the American dream, like a highlight reel of Instagram golden moments… until it wasn’t.

Cancer has a way of disrupting pretty much everything, especially future plans and thoughts about life expectancy. My doctor said my type of cancer was extremely rare, and worse, incurable. So writing a book was the last thing on my agenda. My agenda was very focused on one thing––not dying.

And then I didn’t.
I survived.
I’m still here

When you think you’re short timing it on Earth, then discover you have more time than you thought, perspectives shift like an 8.2 earthquake displaces the ground.

That’s my story.

Quickly, I began to see my life with new eyes, a clearer view, and a wider lens. Not only was I elated to be on this side of the dirt, but I intentionally chose to step into my future with a grateful heart, eager to discover better ways of being human that can often only follow a collision with the darkness. As that life opened in front of me, full of hope and possibility, I couldn’t resist sharing with friends and family what I was experiencing. As those conversations unfolded, many people encouraged me to share what I was learning with others. So, I created a couple social media posts, hoping to encourage others, offer a bit of hope.

But a book?

When the idea of writing a book first entered my mind, I quickly dismissed it. That wasn’t possible, I reasoned. My life was far too busy with my law practice, two sons playing college baseball, being a husband, and living life. I had no time to write a book.

But the idea wouldn’t leave me alone.

After fighting it for months, and begging friends to tell me all the reasons it wasn’t a good idea, I gave in. To this day, the main driver in my decision to write Firm Grip was one thing…

I couldn’t not write it.
I had a story of hope that needed to be birthed, created, written, shared.

So that’s what I did. Firm Grip took slightly more than four and a half years to come into existence, but that too was a process I needed to experience. It was therapeutic after the trauma of dealing with cancer and all the uncertainty that devil brings with it. And the creative process of writing the book shaped me and the message I desired to share with others.

So, yeah––I made a book called Firm Grip. And I hope in some small way, it will help others discover the life they were created to live. Maybe one of them is you.

One comment

  1. Yup. That sounds familiar. Except that my first shock was the divorce papers at age 47 and three children. And that first book was therapeutic. Disorienting when everything around me was progressing according to plan. Trying to get my footing was greatly aided by my book exploring that part of my journey. Then the growing up book, the cancer book five years later, and the business book after being fired (again). Then collecting the two cancer compilations when I had connected with enough rare cancer fellow travelers. Then the two “envisioning the future” books, were no longer written under a pen name because I hadn’t wanted the stigma and weakness of a cancer diagnosis to interfere.

    No, don’t try to deny it! Writing is healing, and you have a talent for it. My question is where this joyful pasttime will take you next?

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