Why I Wrote ‘Miracle on Hammertown Road’
Since I’d had my share of tragedy in life, even before my near-death on Hammertown Road, people had sometimes suggested to me that I write a book. I tried once, after my son James died. But the process of writing a book takes great determination and patience to complete even the first draft, let alone the many drafts that follow after that. And so I didn’t finish a book then. But the idea of writing one was born.
And then, on November 15, 2009, I fell off Hammertown Road and God came to visit me in my time of need. One of the things God told me was to share the events of that night. Eventually, I began to share my story with people one by one as I talked to them. Some listened intently; others I imagine were just being courteous to me and listened though not believing a word I said.
At this time, the idea of writing a book reentered my mind. I wanted to reach as many people as I could, more than one at a time in conversation. But there were two problems. First, I’m not a writer, and especially after my accident and my brain injury, I have trouble with words. I knew I needed help. The second problem was that, especially nowadays, authors need to market their own books. I knew if my book was ever published, and if it had the good fortune to become popular, it might mean speaking engagements and networking and travel and appearances and all the rest that might be required of an author. I enjoyed my simple quiet life; I thought I wanted to keep it that way.
So while I was weighing these two problems, the first was solved by my high school friend Mickey Ruzich, who said he would take this trip of writing the book with me. The second dilemma resolved itself when I realized that the book would not be written for me: it would be written in God’s honor. And I knew that God would take care of me on the journey and that I needed to have profound faith in that.
As we started writing, I was plagued by doubts, as I imagine most writers are. I began to doubt why anyone would want to read the book, let alone spend any of their hard-earned money on it. I started to think that what happened to me was not worthy of a book at all. In this time of doubt an understanding came to me, reassuring me that I was on the right path. I realized that the events of that night on Hammertown Road are miraculous whether one believes in God or not. Somehow I was able to climb up out of that culvert and then walk over 200 feet- with 26 fractures on 23 bones- to knock on my neighbor’s door. And so I realized I had to continue working on the book.
I also hoped there would be many people who might benefit from reading the book, people with brain injuries like mine, or people who have suffered from a life-altering accident, or the death of a child. People, too, who, like me, have struggled their entire lives with weight and issues of self-esteem, or who suffer from chronic pain. And I thought those who doubted that God is here for us all, those who had trouble seeing through the dark times in their lives the everyday miracles that wash over us all the time, might take some solace or inspiration from my story.
To all my readers and readers-to-be, I wish to say thank you and I hope you enjoy the book.