I woke up around 1 a.m. and realized that my Kindle book had been released. I was excited—surprisingly so since my paperback had arrived around 10 days ago. That anticipation, that nervousness, the excitement where an idea had become reality was similar to when I held the paperback version of my book for the first time.
I turned on my iPad, opened my Kindle App and the first book listed—NEVER SETTLED: a memoir of a boy on the road to manhood by Shawn D. Congleton. Preorder worked.
It was real. It was real, real. It looked just like any other book—reeeaaaal professional like (in the voice of Cousin Eddie). Thanks to Brenna Myers, my cover designer. I clicked the cover and immediately it began downloading. It was loaded in mere seconds.
I clicked again. Oh, my gosh. My title page. My table of contents. It all looked so professional and just like I created. It was really, real.
I glanced down my chapter titles. Hmmm, Springfield. I don’t remember reading that chapter in a while. Tomorrow, I’m going to be sharing this book with Springfield, I thought. Well, later today, that is.
I scrolled through each chapter, checking out the pictures associated with each title. They were in color, different from the paperback black & white version. I zoomed in. Wow, each picture could take up the whole screen of my iPad when I zoom. That’s cool, I thought.
You could see the tears in my dad’s eyes at graduation. It was more obvious mom was in the picture at my wrestling tournament. You could see the pink in my 80s era button up, large collared shirt.
I got caught up at Chapter 22—Springfield, Ohio (Summer 1992). I started reading.
I was immediately taken back 28 years. It seemed like yesterday. Going to High Street Church of the Nazarene youth group for the first time. Meeting Steve’s dad. Missing our old senior pastor. Recognizing how integral my mother-in-law, Rosemary was in my life, though I had no idea at the time. (And no interest in her daughter.)
I started reading about my introduction to Jesus and church. Yep, that was true. That was real. I wonder how many people who don’t know, wonder about the same things I wondered.
Then, I just started to see these puzzle pieces coming together to set me on a trajectory. It was all seemingly so happenstance. And yet, so directed at the same time.
I cannot begin to tell you how much that church, that group of people meant to me. Sadly, it doesn’t exist anymore. I can’t go back. Yes, the building is still in Springfield. The “organization” of High Street Church of the Nazarene is still LIVE and kicking. A few of those people still attend. But, that original group of people, THAT church no longer exists.
They were my surrogate aunts and uncles and cousins and brothers and sisters and grandmas and grandpas and well, they were family. They loved me into the Kingdom. I wished I could go back and share my story with them. I hope they find it, wherever they are now and read it for themselves. It will be great if any of them make it to my Book Launch Party tomorrow.
My Book Launch Party. Excitement. Anticipation. Fear. Nervousness. All of it.
On top of that, I get to eat carbs tomorrow. I’m putting my Keto diet on hold for a day.
My mom is flying in to be with me. My family will be joining me on Zoom to discuss the book and our lives after many of them had Christmas together in Texas that ended in an argument for a couple of them. I mean, what’s family, without a few arguments?!?
While easy in one sense, I chose a chapter to read at the party that was a fairly good summation of my life and yet, one that was also less emotional. I can’t imagine reading an emotional chapter out loud. I tried to simply read my acknowledgements to my mother-in-law on Christmas Day and had to stop three or four times because I was overwhelmed with tears of joy.
I plan to close the event reading those same pages. We’ll see if I get through it.
This… anticipation… is all so overwhelming. But in a good way.
I can’t wait to share it with you.
See you at 5 pm at COhatch or Facebook Live! (Facebook.com/shawndcongleton)
Come early to purchase food and drinks from The Painted Pepper and hear Thaddeus Williams of The American Landscape sing one of my favorite songs—Dining with the Devil.
I finally fell back asleep around 3 a.m. Zzzzzzz…