This past weekend, I witnessed such an awesome display of show...and it wasn't even one for me.
This is how I typically finish my book signing events at libraries.
"Before we end this, I just want to thank you all for coming out to see me. I realize most people are not so fortunate as I to not only know there are others in the world who believe in them, but witness proof of it too."
Some of you may think it sounds cheesy.
That doesn't mean my words aren't true.
Again, showing up takes effort.
We all have busy lives, or things we consider important at the time. For the past nine months, I've been consumed with writing and preparing for these previous two weeks of touring. My health suffered for it and I landed in the ER for a quick minute. My wife and everyone I love warned me to slow down. Take in the day and enjoy the journey.
Of course I didn't listen - I'm selfish and stubborn.
I've fallen into the same trap ensnaring so many others, including the great Heisenberg.
I've believed my working hard is to benefit my family when the reality is I benefit my family by being present. By showing up, rather than locking myself away and writing stories about witchcraft, selkies, and cemeteries.
'It'll be okay,' I told myself. 'This is what a man does - he sacrifices to provide for his family.'
But that's only partly true too.
I mentioned this in a previous post, but one of my favorite movies is Christopher Nolan's The Prestige, a film about dueling magicians, each wishing to be the more renowned. During one scene, one magician tells the other everything he did, all the sacrifices he made, were for nothing. His nemesis says the following:
"You never understood... why we did this. The audience knows the truth. The world is simple. It's miserable. Solid... solid all the way through. But if you could fool them, even for a second... then you can make them wonder. And then you... then you got to see something very special. You really don't know. It was... it was the look on their faces..."
Every entertainer knows that look.
When you show someone something they're not accustomed to seeing.
When you prove something to them they didn't believe possible a few seconds ago.
That look is the one Team Cunningham received when we gathered for a team picture this past Saturday at the Ovar-Coming Together Walk/Run in Indianapolis.
Such an awesome show of love that made me stop in awe with all the others who watched as the above group of family and friends gathered in support of an equally amazing woman - my mother-in-law, Debbie Cunningham.
Much as she would have liked to, Debbie wasn't able to attend this year's walk.
I suppose we could have told her how many people showed up, who was there, etc.
It's not the same as seeing the above picture though, is it?
We learned Debbie had ovarian cancer three years ago when my wife was pregnant with our oldest daughter. If I'm being completely honest, we were scared. Yet here we are - three years later and she's still fighting.
I suppose some of you may be wondering why I haven't shared much about this before now, or why I haven't spent any time talking about it if this cause means so much to me.
Words are wind.
They don't mean much without acts of proof.
And, like I also mentioned, I've been selfish.
Countless hours sending emails and editing, money spent trying to hurry along my books in time for a two-week tour, and all well worth it, to my mind.
Yet witnessing such a display on Saturday for my mother-in-law and all the below pictures from previous walks reminded me that all the book sales, all the tour stops, all the work doesn't mean anything without family.
So...to all my California friends and readers who planned on seeing me at the Orange County Children's Book Festival this Sunday, Oct. 4th....I won't be there.
This guy finally has his head on straight. Much as I love and appreciate you all, I need to do a little more showing to those who mean the most to me.
Author. Actor. Rascal.