Interesting question isn’t it?

As a publisher, I owe my literary presence to a small group of authors who have helped me publish a collection of books. Can a book change a life is a question that is often on my mind.

My Dad

I am not a Chicago Policeman like my humble father. I know my dad changed lives. He was kind, he was honest, and he was a good man to be around. Many people loved my father including some of my close friends whose own fathers had come up short. But my father did his thing with brief conversations along the Chicago Midway when was on foot patrol for the University of Chicago Police Department. He did his life-changing work on his regular job working with a group of ordinary people like himself at his Chicago Police Department job in Hyde Park. He loved to talk to people and to hear their simple stories. He never seemed to judge people. He was just getting along and trying to make his life meet, as best he could, the kind of standard that would help get him to heaven.

We lived paycheck to paycheck when I was a kid. So much so that even with two jobs, if my dad’s payday happened to occur on his day off, he would get in his old beater and travel to the station to pick  up his check. Along the way, he would stop at a bakery and pick up a box of donuts and sweet rolls for those who worked with him. People didn’t have a pocketful of tens and twenties in their pocket so it was a treat.

There were days when my dad might have had 2 bucks on him, but if he saw someone who needed it, out would come his wallet and the dollars would be gone.

If you were in my dad’s car and he saw a nun standing a bus stop, which was common back in the day, my dad would always pull over and tell the sister he could take her anywhere she needed to go.  He would of course, flash his badge and tell her not to worry. If one of more of us kids were in the car, it wasn’t that difficult a sale.  My dad had something special, alright.

Big Jim

At church today, my parish had Big Jim Christiansen’s Funeral Mass. My dad would have absolutely loved Big Jim Christiansen. My dad’s ways were simple, often indirect, and subtle. Big Jim took a different approach. Big Jim changed lives often with purpose. Big Jim used to tell the men at church, you “have to be intentional.” And whenever you had a brief conversation with Big Jim, he would end it with “Go with God.” Big Jim was a 6-foot-10 former college basketball center so when he told you to be intentional and to go with God, you might at least give it some thought.  Big Jim would often talk to people at grocery  stores and shops, encouraging faith and just getting a read from people on the street.

My sense is that Big Jim and my father shared a lot of things in common none the less.  Big Jim liked to greet people as they headed into Mass at Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton in Crystal Lake in all kinds of weather, good or bad. He liked to greet the men who came to the That Man Is You meetings on Saturday morning a few minutes after 6 AM. He seemed to swallow people with his arms and lead you into Mass with a smile and firm handshake.

I have sure missed my dad since since he died over 30 years ago. I will miss Big Jim as well.

Working with books as I have done for over 50 years now may be intentional, but in these days it does not build you confidence. For the last dozen or so years though, my books are intentional.

Before my present company, I worked for a large international publishing company that reported out what was happening in business and law–sometimes with as much heart and soul as an old fashion teletype machine. Click click click click click, clack. But they used to be concerned with employees, pay a lot bills and keep families together not to mention help educate offspring and more. That’s all changed now.

For the last dozen years I have my own company and it has provided a means for my authors voices and their messages. And they  all have good messages.  I am happy to sit in the back row and see them communicate so convincingly with their audience.

I know my first few books turned some heads. I heard directly from buyers and librarians who love them and were excited to have them.

But though the publishing world put on a bright smile, the world keeps changing and getting stories out to people about good decent people and their efforts is becoming more challenging.

So, the question for me is not “can a book change a life,” it is “can one of your books change a life.”  “Can you reach  your audience?”

Please help me answer it affirmatively.

 

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