May 31, 2015

Open Letter To Ray O'Conor

Open Letter To Ray O’Conor

Ray, I finished your book, “She Called Him Raymond,” yesterday. I knew I had to send you my thoughts about it. The book provided more than a great read. I realized how many life lessons I’d accumulated since  we met at Chris Millis’s writing seminar last June. I thought they were worth sharing with others. 

Here are just a few:

#1- Do your homework. It was obvious the moment I met you that you do your homework. Based on your background and successful work career I guess that would be a given. Listening to you tell about all the research and personal sacrifice you invested in your book made it clear that this was an all-in commitment. 

#2- Tell the story. You sure did a fine job with this one. You should be proud that you didn’t let this story go. I tend to lean to memoir and nonfiction reading. I can’t think of a finer story than the one you brought to the surface. It has everything a great story should have. Although it may not have possessed the happiest ending it certainly possessed a real-life one. You couldn't read the chapter titled, “The Letter,” and not feel the absolute emptiness that anyone who’s lost a loved one to war must feel. It really enveloped the devastation war places on families. 

#3- Ask for help. You surrounded yourself with knowledgeable people who excelled in their area of expertise. It was apparent by the structure and visual quality of the book you placed on the table, that a great deal of thought and effort went into the final product. 

#4- Stick with it. Something kept you marching forward with this project. Based on the look I saw in your eyes a year ago when you were telling me about writing your book and the passion you placed in your presentation at the book signing a year later, I don’t think anything could have gotten in the way of you sharing this incredible story. That’s the way it should happen. That’s what made this story even better. How many of these stories are gone forever because someone didn’t follow through with their dream. 

#5- Be honest. You told a story void of gimmicks, tall tales, or sensationalism. You revealed the deepest of human emotions from one end to the other. From birth, to love, to death, you gave us all of it in its truest form. You told it the way it happened without adding any bling. This story didn’t need it and thankfully you understood that. 

Lastly I want to thank you for what I took away from my experiences in the year between that writing seminar and finishing reading, “She Called Him Raymond.” It was much more than the list above. It reaffirmed what I’ve felt all along; that I can do this with the right toolbox. I have a story to tell and the passion to tell it, I simply need the “write” tools. You, your book, and your story have helped keep that dream of mine alive. 

Sincerely yours,
John R. Greenwood

Here is a link to Ray O'Conor's webpage : "She Called Him Raymond." 

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