Fair to Middling- Behind the Scenes

Hey everyone! Kira here. As promised, I’m giving you the inside scoop on my latest book, Fair to Middling which is coming out later this week (Friday, 10/26). If you’d like to pre-order your copy, you can do so by clicking this link: http://www.fivesmilingfish.com/shop/pre-order-fair-to-middling-print

This book was originally planned by myself and Grandpa with more than a little nudging from Grandma. The idea was to get all of his wonderful, vivid stories recorded and to give him something to focus on other than Grandma’s failing health.

I’d always known Grandpa had been in WWII, but he’d never really spoken about it too much when I was growing up. When we started recording his tales, I wasn’t sure how much he’d actually say.

Turns out a lot.

We spoke every day for five years. At first, I called about the project, but then to just check in on him after Grandma passed. He began all of our conversations with “oh, I’m fair to middling” and ended the with “I love you very much. Thank you for calling.” We shared jokes and we shared sorrow. We had adventures, some of which I’ve recorded in the book.

Grandpa died three years ago this November. 

I wasn’t prepared for the actual writing of this book. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, this type of story is not what I usually write. I wasn’t sure where or how to start and, with Grandpa’s passing, I was terrified I started too late, that I missed some vital piece of information that would cause the whole project to go up in flames.

This was, by far, the most difficult piece of writing I’ve done to date simply in terms of how sheerly personal the subject matter is and how emotional the topic is for me. (I still can’t read part 10 without bursting into tears). However, that’s not to say it wasn’t blessed. So many times I was halted in the process by missing whole swathes of information. Within a matter of hours, I’d discover a misfiled video of Grandpa that answered all of my questions. I’d find pages of notes out of nowhere only to realize that it was the exact bits I needed to get unstuck. I like to think Grandpa was there guiding me through the many drafts of the story, making sure I got it right.

Grandpa was an amazing story teller, one that I wish I could be like. This book is my attempt to honor the man he was and pay tribute to his time with us.

This project was a promise. It was a post mortem connection to a man that influenced my entire life on so many levels. Now that the promise has been kept and his stories will be available for everyone, I can picture the twinkle in his eyes and him giving me that lopsided grin. Ever so faintly, I can hear him say, “I love you very much. Thank you for calling.”