Thursday, May 15, 2014

Driving Backwards

It is extremely exciting for me to share with everyone that my first book Driving Backwards is being published and is shipping from the press next week! Driving Backwards has been a five-year exploration, a project I initially embarked upon as a sophomore at Princeton University.

I hope you will check out my new website and that you will consider buying Driving Backwards. I will be spending much of the next few months marketing the book. On that note if you have ideas for where I can reach out to, libraries you could ask to purchase a copy, book groups that might consider reading it, or even if you would be willing to host a book reading I would love to know and would be very grateful!

As a sneak preview below is the opening page of Driving Backwards…..

In two months, David Bickford will turn 100.

One hundred is an age when memories have often faded with time, details become jumbled and lost, conversation turns repetitive. But, David has forgotten nothing. His memories are vivid pictures of the past. When he tells of neighborhood dances half a century ago, he remembers the day of the week and who was feeling under the weather. When a story includes a rainstorm, likely as not he knows the number of inches that fell. David re- counts stories as if they happened the previous day. Nearly one hundred years of yesterdays.

Now, David lives alone. He buys his own groceries, mows his own lawn and grows his own robust tomato plants in plastic pots next to the house. David used to feast on tomatoes as a teen, eating them as you would an apple, but he has since developed allergies. Nevertheless, each year finds him checking fastidiously for hornworms and laying fertilizer.

Four years ago in 2009, David’s roof developed a leak. He climbed slowly, methodically, up to patch it himself. He gathered sheets of asphalt roofing and caulking for the journey. He took with him too a four-pronged cane that usually rests by the door. The cane is a precaution only, an occasional means of steadying against the slant. In public, he never employs the cane. “It would,” he confides, “make me look like an old geezer!”

Wrinkles collect like a maple bark along David’s neck, but hardly any place else. His voice is low and soft around the edges. He laughs often. When he smiles, wrinkles do appear: his whole face crinkles upward. His hands are burled; his fingers angle out. His handwriting is tight and precise. He favors red ballpoint pens. David dresses simply, in white button-downs tucked into slacks— blue or olive-green. He bends to tie his own shoes and, when he rises again, he mimics pines in verticality. David credits his elongated countenance to Native American ancestry, four generations back. He wears thin-rimmed oval bifocals over light blue eyes and each day he reads two local newspapers in their entirety. He wears his white hair short. His next haircut will be free—a hundredth- year birthday present promised by his barber.

In nearly a century of living, David has been, among other things, a farmer, a carpenter, a mechanic, a fireman and a town selectman. I know him best as a storyteller….

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