What a blessed Sunday. Church Saturday, so a lot done on the Lord’s Day…and some relaxing. Needed a break after some killer hours last week and 3-5 hours/night of sleep many days. Printed the fourth draft of The Book of James yesterday. Tomorrow will begin the revisions of the fifth draft. Going to be easier as I have a lot of the paragraphs subdivided into chapters. Now to figure out how they’ll fit chronologically-wise, if some points are in the wrong chapters, and if I have repeated points. I know I have some. Spent time with a wonderful friend. Who knows? So internally beautiful; externally, too. Should’ve been a model lol. A deeper story to that. Have waited for God’s best. I had been praying for her a long time. As chapter 25 or 26 in the book is titled, Thy Will be Done.

In hindsight, great progress on editing the second draft of the manuscript today.(373 out of 465 pages done). Many hours of work this morning on it and throughout the day. My back gets so stiff sitting. Cannot believe all the errors a closer read has fixed. Or, is fixing. A special word of thanks to Grammar-Man himself, my father, Alan Tong. I appreciate his grammatical input and suggestions. Much more chapter revision and division tomorrow. This is the real task that awaits, putting it all into the computer with all the changes.

Happy to have found a great church body, Ocean Church. With permission, I am referencing and analyzing their church mission statement in THE BOOK OF JAMES and applying some of the points from various messages. Just last night (Genesis 45.3-8), which applies so clearly to the book:

1. Form your character to be rightly ordered like God’s
2. God’s power is bigger than our mistakes
3. Set your course to be faithful
4. God determines the direction of our lives; you determine how far you go.

Also saw Sunshine last night. She is my dear friend and offered to be a proofreader of the manuscript for us. Happy, also, to speak to another dear friend, Pastor Kyle. He said he would give an endorsement of the book. That’s called belief, baby. Trusting things to fall into place. Working on chapter division, at this point figuring to have 27.

Wonderful week, wonderfu day, especially. Thought the first several drafts of THE BOOK OF JAMES: THE LIFE, BRAIN INJURY, AND LEGACY OF JAMES CLARY, JR. were good. Not a bit, I am finding as I have been spending 5-8 hours a day editing and revising. My friends at McDonald’s know me well, me and my Diet Coke ($1.07) nearly every morning. Time gets away as you’re doing stuff. Often the managers and workers come over and want to chat with me. In my mind, I’m like ‘Not now….I’ve got a good thought in my head.’ By the chance we’ve visited, it may be gone. Sometimes forget, sometimes remember. Am putting that McDonald’s in the Acknowledgments section, my fabulous friends. Wilbert had fun one day playing catch with the football with me on the way out. Couldn’t believe one-handed man could do it. What up, Wilbert? This book is almost going to be bigger than life. Taking a lot of work. Want to do James, my beloved and late friend, and his parents, Jim and Debby, proud. One day we’ll get it. Got ahold of another sweet friend that made me the offer of a lifetime. I met Yeniley Garcia. This young lady offered to be a proofreader of the manuscript in the upcoming months, or years. I believe she also will help determine which publisher to use. We want the most exposure for the book to spread the word, the dual message we wish to proclaim. The social media component is huge, glad for her input. Sometimes days end on a high note. This would be one of them. The words I long to hear in 45 minutes: “Welcome to Applebees.”

Exhilarating experiences with Jim and Debby Clary in Sacramento. Precious time and interviews with them and many of their family members. Besides their input to the book and direction of the manuscript, I am equally grateful to Lukas and Summer, James’ brother and sister-in-law. I have grown so close to the Clary family, so blessed. Wonderful during an off-day there to golf with Jim at Lake Tahoe. An experience of a lifetime.

Happy to report the manuscript has developed into twenty seven chapters. Editing, plus chapter development, would be the name of the game right now. “He who hesitates is poor,” and “You can’t steal second base with your foot still on first,” and “Progress involves risks,” three quotes I learned in high school, which would apply. It is taking gumption, eliciting feelings. This is evoking a lot of emotions from us all as we compose, read, and edit. Do pray, please, for my beloved friends: recently overwhelmed by another loss in the family.

So, “The Book of James: The Brain Injury, Life, and Legacy of James Clary, Jr.,” does not figure to be small. Currently 465 typewritten pages. Proud to be a part of this expose’ on brain injury juxtaposed to real life and marital (dis)harmony. Happy to have two publishers interested in the project. A lot to do but we’re getting there.

A really busy week just concluded. Must thank my editor for the kind words throughout the week. Thoughts for the manuscript coming at all hours, so I get up and write them down. Think I’ve got a good handle on things when I meet with the editor soon. Happy to have gotten business cards to help spread the word about this project. Kind of thinking we’ll have it done before three years, as the last one took. Also, glad to have discovered about another writing contract I’d had. My first publisher contacting me also.

Lettuce begin at lettucewrite. Lettuce see what a fine day. Well, the work has just begun. Printed out the first draft/manuscript of The Book of James. Took some time. Had to run and get more toner for my printer and more paper. It is 250 pages typewritten. Added 50 more pages, copied and pasted from another manuscript. Let the editing begin. Step one of 49 complete

Spoke to my editor yesterday, pleased with how things are coming along. So glad no definite time line or deadlines, but making the most of the time. Am spending well over half of my days contemplating the manuscript, continuously notating new thoughts and ideas as they come to mind, and communicating with Debby, James’ mother, my editor, and dear friend Madeline. Which brings up a thought I just had:  ‘You don’t know how valuable or invaluable you can be in any given situation at any moment. You are continuously shaping others’ perception of you in all you do.’ Wow, should’ve been a writer, or speaker. Maybe down the road. I’m thankful for friends and I’m thankful for Jesus.

Feels so good to be involved in this writing project, THE BOOK OF JAMES. Still saddening the predicament of my friend and the grief of his parents. It is a touching experience and blessed time to be alive. Continue to pray for Jim and Debby, his parents.