As writers, we all want very much to be heard. Nothing gives us more pleasure than when we receive kudos for a job well done. Whether it’s in our ability to make people laugh, or our reminder to look at things through fresh eyes, it’s extremely gratifying to know that our words have made some kind of a difference.
Imagine my utter surprise when I received an email back in April (on my birthday, no less!) from a guy we’ll call Joel (mainly ‘cause that was his name) asking me if I’d like to read a very special book.
My initial reaction? “Who is this…really?”
Followed by the New York cynic’s reaction: (Wary) “What do I have to do?? I’m not giving you my credit card, just so ya know…”
Joel assured me that this was the real deal. He then erased any doubt I might have had by offering to send me several copies of said book that could be given away….as prizes, if you will.
Ya gotta love that Joel.
For the next three months, we attempted the impossible: Coordinating the shipment and safe delivery of said books…and the arrangement of a phone interview between myself and the author of this book. No easy feat, when I up and move residences right in the middle of things…and then I further complicate things by (rather forcefully)
The book is called “Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go”…and it’s written by Lucille O’Neal. You may have heard of her son, Shaquille. Shaquille O’Neal? The NBA basketball superstar? Yes… that Shaquille. But before becoming Shaquille’s mom for the last 38 years, Lucille was…and is….a person in her own right. A woman with incredible tenacity…who had her own story that needed telling…and was smart enough to realize that as Shaq nears retirement, the spotlight will fade on her now infamous son and their family.
And so, now was the time to tell her story. Lucille’s life resonates with adversity…from her parents divorce (in an era when divorce was virtually unheard of), to becoming pregnant at the tender age of 17 (much to the immense chagrin of her stern, domineering grandmother). It takes us through her years of struggle, both as a young teenage mother…and later as she tried to hold together her own family through a tumultuous marriage and its eventual collapse.
Throughout it all, one is struck by her unending faith. One line in the book is particularly poignant. She says, “Faith is taking a step when you don’t see the whole staircase.”
I liked that. So here’s the deal, people. I’ve got 4 copies of this book that I have permission to give away. (I’m keeping my copy, thankyouverymuch.) I’ll put those interested in a hat and have Connor and Taylor pick the four…that way, it’s a family affair. On second thought, maybe I'll just put your names in the hat. It'll be easier that way.
Interested in winning a copy? If you are, here are the rules:
- Leave me a comment telling me you’d like to be entered
- Make sure you’re a follower
- Hop on your left foot whilst singing “I’ve been working on the railroad” (be enthusiastic, now...)
- Bow to your pretend audience, blow kisses and wave like Miss America
Okay, so maybe you just have to do the first two. Oh, and feel free to comment either way on the LOUD, RAMBUNCTIOUS voice you’ll hear in this snippet of my interview with Ms. O’Neal. I wonder if you’d know it was ME if I hadn’t told you….
Lucille? You are now officially part of our elite inner circle of friends, a-la Oprah, Bill, George, Jerry and Ellen.
Call me….we’ll do lunch.