By Richard Mabey Jr.
There is a part of me that is overwhelmed by it all. I worked on my book, “I Remember Dad” today. Specifically the chapter about Dad’s stay at Hickam Air Field during World War II. It’s all a long story. But right now I have 80 pages written about things that Dad told me about what it was like, being at Hickam Air Field during the war.
Dad kneeling atop the wing of a P-51 Mustang Fighter Plane at Hickam Air Field.
I have to condense this particular chapter. Entire chunks of the story line need to be taken out. It all boils down to the economics of book publishing. Right now my book is typed on eight and a half by 11 inch margins. My book will have margins of six by nine inches. I will only be allowed to print 200 pages. It’s all pure economics.
My original plan was to begin my book, “I Remember Dad,” with Dad’s saga of his stay at Hickam Air Field.
Not to be boring with details, but my plan is to print 200 hard cover copies of my book, in a six by nine inch size. With each book being 200 pages in length. The bottom line price for the printing, when all the dust is settled, will be four thousand clams. It’s a lot of bread, at least for me. So, I need for this book to shine like a glowing diamond.
I look at a photo of my Dad and I think to myself, “I can’t let dear old Dad down. I just cannot let Dad down. Failure is not an option. I can never surrender. Never surrender.”
I am very, very aware that the clock is ticking and that in September, I’ll be 65. So there is the element of fighting against time. Aside from the Mount Everest factor of the price for self publishing my book. Still, a voice echoes in the chambers of my heart, “never surrender. Never surrender!”
Dad standing next to the propeller of a B-25 Bomber Plane. Again, at Hickam Air Field.
What most people do not know is that the men who were stationed at Hickam Air Field, were always on full alert of the very real possibility of another air attack from the Japanese. As most of you know, Hickam Air Field is right next to Pearl Harbor. Hickam itself suffered horrific damage from the Japanese air attack of December seventh of 1941.
An aerial view of Hickam Air Field during World War II.
In my hard work to capture that unyielding tension, that sense of fear, that feeling that today might be one’s last day of living; I may have been guilty of being too voluminous in my narrative. And, now, I must reel it all in. But for me, the big question is, which parts of this chapter stay, and which parts are tossed? It ain’t as easy as it sounds.
Dad in his Army Air Corps uniform.
Today, it all seemed overwhelming. I still am in mourning of the loss of my beloved cat, Figaro. But I am furiously determined to get back on the saddle and get back into the rodeo of writing my book. Tomorrow is Sunday. I generally take Sunday off from writing. But, I think I might get behind the plow tomorrow and chop down the Hickam Air Field chapter in half. I know that Sunday is the day of rest in the Christian faith. Somehow, I think the good Lord will forgive me.
Dad on a dock of what may have been part of Pearl Harbor itself.
In my wildest imagination, I never had any idea of all the factors that are involved in getting a book published. It’s as much hard work as digging a ditch, or moving furniture, or laying a foundation of cement blocks. It’s real work. But, something has a hold of me. I am furiously determined to see my book published. A flame burns brightly in the core of my heart. And, a gentle voice echoes in my mind, “never surrender. Never surrender!”