The Making of Finding Moosewood, Finding God

I think of this book as my Spiritual Memoir. But it was not always so.

I worked on it for many years, through many versions.

One of the publishing world’s greatest literary agents, the late Owen Laster, read an early version of the manuscript and was extremely complimentary, praising the writing and eager to get to the work of selling it to a major publishing house.

Fortunately, he didn’t. He couldn’t.

I say fortunately because that early version of the work -- I realize only now -- was not right. It was not right because I was not right.

It not only told the story of how I had given up my TV News career of thirty-five years and with my wife transformed our lives by moving to a small, empty island off the coast of Maine, but it told readers that they should find a way to make for themselves a similar LifeBreak, as I called it. I preached. It was arrogant. And shallow. I started to re-work it.

At the same time, I began pulling together tales from my fascinating TV years, the adventures from wars to politics (between which I found little difference), going on an African giraffe roundup with William Holden, rowboating in the Bois de Boulogne with Sophia Loren, playing softball with Stephen King, going to Budapest to learn to do the Rubik’s Cube from Rubik himself, doing the first live broadcast of a solar eclipse from a mountain village in Mexico, visiting Jimmy Cagney on his horse farm, Joan Miro as he watched his latest lithograph roll off the press, joining Aaron Copland conducting and reflecting at Tanglewood, petting a whale, doing the only interview with assassin Sirhan Sirhan, being gassed while broadcasting the ugly riots at the ’68 Democratic convention in Chicago, and, oh yes, conducting the Boston Pops. Many tales and, happily reminiscing, I spun them together.

And what did I have then?

Two manuscripts!

It was a worthy and wise freelance editor, Dennis Mathis of (I heartily recommend his perspective and skills to anyone in need of editorial consultation.) He persuaded me to weave the two together and helped me find the most powerful ways of doing that.

As, once again, I re-worked the material I began to understand some things about not just the book but myself that I had been so derelict in not realizing earlier. I had always appreciated how my life had been blessed, directed by inexplicable flukes and happenstances, but I had not brought myself to acknowledge that those, in fact, were not unguided events, but that throughout my life, I had been guided by a force far greater than I, and that force was the hand of a providential God working through the Holy Spirit, the God-Within.

Actually I had come to realize this during our time on the island, Moosewood, but I had been far too slow to acknowledge it. But isn’t one of the debts owed the recipient of God-blessed serendipities the obligation to speak them out loud?

This book, this merging of my two books, would be my opportunity to “speak them out loud.” To praise my Creator not just for his multifold creations but for my chance to live in their midst for thirteen blessed years with the wife He gave me more than fifty years ago.

And now to proclaim it all in this book.

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