Once I told publisher, Ethan, and book designer, Sonja, that I had a date for the book launch, the drive to the finish line required a bit more gas pedal. A book release without books would be rather anti-climactic. Phone calls to confirm details from months past became a priority. The twenty-nine details about how the book would be printed, bound, and packaged all became unintended obsessions.
A set of emails each with the little red flag noting urgent started to color my inbox. Ame, Rosy, and Laura’s Rome-to-Seattle travel plans had to be confirmed. Like most other endeavors I’ve dreamed, this one too was the work of many friends who went well beyond the call of duty. I am a lucky man. I have a collection of really special people around me who rise to the occasion time and time again. Jill and her trusted posse of girlfriends took charge of preparing the room in the spirit of Montanare; Jim and Jan Hawn opened their home and outdoor pizza oven to make sure I could create and serve the very focaccia Francesca had served on our first night in Montanare a dozen years ago. The night was dedicated to authenticity. I wanted nothing more than to have, for just one night, an opportunity for all my friends and family to understand what a profoundly unique set of loving people on the other side of the world have made this story possible. Relationships, friendships, connections with people, that’s what my book is really about. I hope you’ll see that when you read it and that reading it might help you recognize the importance of the friendships in your own life. 90 Days after the night of the launch, my life will never be the same because so many of you stand beside me on this path. An important part of these initial book launch events was to “Give Forward” and support one of the most important causes I know. Over $20,000 was raised for Project Violet at Fred Hutch to further pediatric brain tumor research, a mission near and dear to me. Grazie.