The times were pretty wild when I was at the University of California at Berkeley, especially for one friend who called himself after a popular cartoon character; I’ll refer to him here as “Roadrunner” (not his real nickname). By spring of our freshman year, the combination of the rigorous academic schedule, various romantic complications with his girlfriend, the campus riots and a few unfortunate recreational drugs eventually caused a breakdown that landed Roadrunner in a psychiatric care facility.
When I was finally allowed to pay him a visit there, I was shown to a sunny porch where he sat quietly looking down at a bowl of strawberries sitting on the table in front of him. He looked exhausted but triumphant, with the air of tough battles fought and won.
“How are you doing?” I asked.
“I’ve come a long way . . . “ Roadrunner smiled and plucked a strawberry from the bowl, holding it up to the sunlight. “… to this strawberry.”
From that moment on, his phrase became my favorite way of describing the hard-won accomplishment of any enterprise worthy of the effort.
Eighteen months ago, I leapt into this book project on a moment of pure impulse and inspiration. Since then, I have spent countless hours writing, editing, rewriting, making the story line tighter, revealing more about myself than I ever expected to, taming recalcitrant phrases, working with editors and proofreaders, coordinating with production people, arranging distribution with Amazon sites around the world, getting the Kindle version ready for release…
And now, my book is making its official debut. It has changed a lot over the last eighteen months, but in all the ways that really count, it’s exactly how I wanted to write it.
I’ve come a long way to this strawberry, and it is sweet.
I'm an American travel writer based in Spain and currently living in California.
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