Monday, November 07, 2005

It Wasn't My Party, But I Cried Anyway

To sum the book launch party up for "No Immediate Threat: The story of an American Veteran" in one word, it was simply amazing. For those of you who have never been at the Writer's Place, it is an 1880's era house that from the outside looks like a castle. It is ran by a non-profit organization here to support local literary arts. The venue was perfect. It is so warm and inviting, that the approximately 80 guests who attended felt immediately at home.

As it is for most parties I've hosted, the night was very busy for me, almost a blur, I didn't get to visit with anyone for a long period as I was (thankfully) busy signing books. My oldest sister, Linda and Stacy, a good friend of mine since we were 12 and who was the maid of honor at my wedding, came up from Charlotte, NC and were helping me with the bookkeeping while my poor husband and sister in law were busy keeping the food and drink tables full for our guests. Another long time friend of mine, Priscilla, who initially hired me for my first full time job during a summer I was on break from college, brought a dozen red roses, which added the final touch of elegance to my table and the room.

It had been an emotion packed couple of days for me trying to get ready for the party and I could already start to feel the tears coming on before the program and I asked Maril Crabtree, who wrote one of the back cover testimonial covers to cover for me if I could not do my portion of the reading. When I got up to the podium, it hit me that it was the people who could be there that made it such a special night. My husband and mother were there as were so many of my local friends and family. Besides Stacy, we had friends and family travel from Florida (Kirk), South Dakota (Taryn, Keith and Janet), Minnesota (Mavis and Wayne) and Colorado (Rick) to be with us. One surprise email I received last week was from a screenwriter who is a member with me in professional writers organization. He apologized for not being able to "fly in" for the party, but he asked for a book so he could start pitching it to producers!

When I opened the book to read what had always been a happy memory with my brother from my childhood, I could not do it. Maril did a wonderful job of covering for me and after I regained my composure, I was able to go on introducing the rest of the evenings' speakers, which included Peter Zevenbergen, a mental health specialist and Vietnam vet, who wrote my foreword; Dale Irwin, a good friend of my brother, Rick Baker, another Vietnam vet who wrote the other back cover testimonial and Bob Waechter, director of the Kansas City Vet Center and director of Stand Down, to which some of the proceeds were donated.

As she was getting ready to leave, another friend of mine came up and said, "Do you realize how big your book is going to be?" Whether the book makes it big or not, I think she too was struck by the enormity of the evening and I've already accomplished what I have set out to do - Steve's story and that of thousands of other veterans is not dying and people are becoming more aware.

Thank you all for being there in spirit with me on Steve's amazing night because it was not about me or the book, it was about Steve and every other veteran who has served this country.

The book has also received its first review at eKC Online by Meredith Hines-Dochterman. I couldn't have summed up the book any better if I had done it myself. Please go read the review in its entirety at:



Anonymous Marv, DaNang 67-68 said...

WELL DONE, Kerri . . . you have eloquently presented the world with that most special of all gifts, you have shared the intimate and gut-wrenching details of personal loss. The impact of PTSD on family and friends is often overlooked. We tend to focus only on the affected veteran and cast those around him or her into the corner of our interest. Your book is personal. Your book hits home! It is beyond the realm of the practitioner . . .it is born from reality . . .it truly represents the cascade of this disorder! "No Immediate Threat" provides a dynamic dimension to a misunderstood and oftentimes mis-diagnosed calamity. The Iraq War will foster a new wave of combat trauma victims! Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines will return from battle with empty eyes and troubled hearts! The phantoms of war will haunt many for the remainder of their days. Their families will walk the path that you have already walked. Hopefully, your book, and the story of your brother, Steve, will reach those so deperately in need of knowledge and awareness about PTSD and the chaotic life that follows the terror of combat!

7:46 AM CST  

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