The Value of Ten “Bucks” (Or, The Belated Announcement of a Book Release)

When I was nine years old, back on a summer day in the now all-too-vintage 1980s, I made a bet with my older brother John.

We were in the swimming pool, in our neighbors’ backyard across the street.  Lucky for us, growing up, our neighbors had an open-door (or, perhaps in this case I should say, open-water) policy with their pool.  I used to swim in their pool almost every day that summer.  But this day, something different happened.

 

“I’ll bet you ten bucks you can’t swim six laps underwater without coming up for air,” my brother crowed.  He was nine years my senior, and had just graduated from high school.  He was riding high that summer.

 

“You’re on,” I said.  I doubted I could do it.  The most number of laps I had ever swum underwater was four–six would push my lungs to the breaking point.  But ten dollars was a lot of money to a nine-year-old, especially back then.  I was all-in.

 

“This’ll be fun to watch,” John said, and waded over to the side of the pool.

“Ten bucks?” I called over to him, just to be sure.

“There’s no way you can do six laps, Mike,” he said.  “But yeah, if you shock me, the offer stands.  Ten bucks.”

That was good enough for me.  I didn’t hesitate.  I dove under and completed the first lap.

The next couple of laps were easy–I was feeling strong and still had plenty of air in reserve.  But by the time I completed the fourth lap–my old limit–I was starting to suffer.  My lungs were growing hotter, my arms and legs were getting tired.  But I pushed on, kicking harder.

 

I completed the fifth lap.  One more to go.  I nearly gave up then and there.  My chest was on fire.  I worried I might black out.  It was agony to attempt that final lap.

But I did, and when I tapped the opposite side of the pool to finish the sixth lap, I rose to the surface, gasping for air.  Oxygen had never tasted so sweet.

 

“Wow,” I heard my brother say.  I was vaguely aware of him approaching me, swimming toward me from the other side.  “I can’t believe you did it.”

I wasn’t able to respond for several seconds.  I continued to take deep breaths, savoring the air.  Finally, when my lungs had sufficiently recovered, I said, “What about those ten bucks?”  As I had propelled myself through the water on that final lap, it was the promise of the ten dollars that made it seem worthwhile.  That and seeing my brother admit defeat.

 

“Oh, sure,” John said.  “That was the deal, right?  Ten bucks.” And he proceeded to punch me, lightly, on my arm–ten times.  “There you go,” he said.  “There’s your ten bucks!”

With that, he got out of the pool, dried himself off with a towel, and bent over laughing.

 

I never did see that ten dollars.

****************

Looking back, benefited by the cooling perspective of time, I remember the incident fondly.  It’s a memory of childhood I’ll always carry with me–and to this day, I remind my brother of his antics on that long-ago afternoon.  All in good fun, of course.

But as the editing process for The Singularity Wheel–the sequel to The Eye-Dancers–has dragged on through various and sundry delays these past few months, I have thought often of that phantom ten dollars.   I’ve pushed the release date of The Singularity Wheel back half a dozen times, to the point where it almost began to seem like it would never be released, that it was a ghost-book, a figment, as immaterial as pollen on the wind or the light, feathery strands of gossamer in the dark heart of a primeval forest.  How many times would I say the release was imminent, only to see it pushed back?  Was my word no better than my brother’s that day, decades ago, in the neighbors’ pool?

 

Now, however, I can at last report that the manuscript is finished, the edits done.  After a seemingly endless catalogue of revisions, of much gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair and debates with characters, the story is truly over and done.  Even now, I have a hard time admitting that.  After all, no story is without flaw.  Even Anna Karenina and The Grapes of Wrath have warts.  Nothing created, nothing put to the page is without blemish.  There is always something, some word, some turn of phrase, some snippet of dialogue that can be made better.  Saying, “I’m done,” is one of the most difficult aspects of the creative process.  But here, today, I can finally say it.

 

The Singularity Wheel is far from perfect.  No doubt it is chock-full of issues and shortcomings.  But it’s the best I can do.  After four and a half years of working on it, there are no stones left to be turned, no closets remaining to open.  For better or worse, this represents my full and utmost effort.

 

So it is with great relief that I say, The Singularity Wheel will be released, on Amazon, within the next fortnight.  The files are being readied for publication, the last steps in the process are being completed.  My birthday is January 26.  The goal is to release the book prior to that date.

 

And this time, once and for all, that represents ten bucks you can most assuredly take to the bank.

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

52 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alexis Rose
    Jan 17, 2018 @ 23:56:17

    Congratulations!

    Reply

  2. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 00:29:48

    YAY! Almost there…looking forward to its birth!

    Reply

  3. jjspina
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 00:58:33

    Wow, congrats, Mike! I look forward to reading it! It’s a difficult thing to end a book! It’s like saying goodbye to a dear friend.

    I am in the process of saying goodbye to my sequel to my first novel. I need to polish it and edits will continue but I will publish hopefully next month. I pushed forward the date twice myself! Oh well, keep on writing! Great post as always! 🤗

    Reply

  4. joannerambling
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 02:20:19

    Big congratulations from me to you

    Reply

  5. ellie894
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 02:46:41

    So exciting! And an early Happy birthday to you! 😊

    Reply

  6. Bonnie Marshall
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 03:13:45

    Admirable determination, Mike. Looking forward to reading your book … and I like your title and cover art. Intriguing!

    Reply

  7. Ste J
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 03:30:30

    Congratulations on both the six laps and the book! It’s a very exciting time for you, I’m looking forward to reading it.

    Reply

  8. Steph McCoy
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 14:33:22

    Congratulations Mike!!

    Reply

  9. Karen's Nature Art
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 14:37:24

    Congratulations!

    Reply

  10. Baydreamer
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 14:57:07

    Loved your childhood story, Mike, but sorry you didn’t get that $10! Congrats on your book, and what a birthday gift that will be, too! I look forward to reading it.

    Reply

  11. magarisa
    Jan 18, 2018 @ 20:50:25

    Congratulations!

    Reply

  12. Lyn
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 01:50:21

    after four and a half years No…it can’t possibly be that long 😮 Seriously?
    I can’t wait to get my hands on the finished product. I’ll be waiting at Amazon’s door on release day 😀

    Reply

  13. ritaroberts
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 13:27:45

    WOW !! That’s great news Mike CONGRATULATIONS I know the feeling because I was working on my little book for 3 years and I thought I was never going to get it finalized and published. What a relief when it did,Then hoping it was going to be a success Wishing you all the very best with your book Mike. Just one question, are you going to write another one?

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Jan 19, 2018 @ 19:44:56

      Thanks, Rita! I really appreciate that! As for a third book in the series–there are no plans for one. Then again, I didn’t initially plan on a sequel either.:) So you never know!

      Reply

  14. evelyneholingue
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 17:52:15

    Yeah! Bravo! A double birthday sounds perfect to me, Mike. Looking forward to celebrating.

    Reply

  15. Anna Waldherr
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 21:25:59

    Bravo! I wish you much success w/ the new book.

    Reply

  16. Karina Pinella
    Jan 19, 2018 @ 23:57:03

    At least you keep getting closer to your goal. That’s when you know it is still possible–the activities that continue to take place can the manuscript just sitting in a drawer. Great progress!

    Reply

  17. MelHopkinsdotcom
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 18:23:45

    Yaay! And The cover image is gorgeous! 🍾(champagne emoji) Congratulations, Mike! I am extremely happy for you! Where are the cigars? 👊🏽 (<-Fist bump emoji)

    Reply

  18. Carol Balawyder
    Jan 22, 2018 @ 19:37:48

    All the best. The cover is very appealing as is the title. All the best that everything goes smoothly and that you do get it released on your birthday. 🙂

    Reply

  19. Lesley at Lola Rugula
    Jan 23, 2018 @ 01:07:07

    Awesome news and it’s about time! 🙂 Congrats!

    Reply

  20. Teagan R. Geneviene
    Jan 27, 2018 @ 21:24:11

    Congratulations, Michael. The Eye Dancers is great and I’ve no doubt this one will be too. Hugs.

    Reply

  21. floatinggold
    Feb 01, 2018 @ 05:56:28

    Happy belated B-day!
    Well done on your book progress.
    I really enjoyed your 6 laps story. I’m the older sibling and I wasn’t always easy to grow up with. I hope my younger sibling cherishes those moments like you do.

    Reply

  22. Seyi sandra
    Feb 07, 2018 @ 14:12:11

    Congratulations! I will read your book thinking of your brother! I hope you’ll sell over a million copies!!! 🙂

    Reply

  23. The Eye-Dancers
    Feb 07, 2018 @ 15:18:07

    Thank you! You actually made my day,.:)

    Reply

  24. reocochran
    Mar 10, 2018 @ 23:36:37

    I liked your brother’s bet and the story has paid off over the years I’m sure, Mike! Happy belated birthday (1/29 is passed by now) and continued success wishes are sent off into the ether. 🕊️ 🌈 🐦 ✨

    Reply

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