Kailua Beach, my place to think.
I kept after it and by the June of 2016, I had a hundred-fifty page manuscript that chronicled Jake’s twelve-year struggle to enter the world of big-time construction. But there was something missing, no, there was a lot missing. When people asked me, “What’s the book about?” I would hem and haw, scratch my head and admit, “I don’t know, or it’s about me, I’m Jake.” When prompted to dig a little deeper, I would respond, “It’s about a kid’s struggle to get into college, and subsequently achieve his childhood dream of becoming a big time builder.” When my reader/editors pressed me to explain what the book was about, they wouldn’t accept those lame explanations. They goaded me to accept the fact that my story was much more complex than a kid seaking his dream job. In fact, it was probably six stories, five of which were in he can and the fifth was yet to be written. Jake’s love-hate relationship with his Father, his coming of age adventure in a Seminary, his poignant love story, his struggle to communicate with God, and finally Jake’s search for his dream job. They further argued that Jake’s real, but latent, goal in life transcended his desire to become a renowned builder, and was somehow spiritual in nature. God’s subtle presence in nearly every chapter of the book subtlety pointed to something more. There had to be more. Jake’s adventure didn’t end with a construction job.
I did not want to acknowledge that. This was not a religious or spiritual story, perhaps it’s a little bit inspirational, but, no, it’s not about Jake seeking God. No way! I told them “this book is about Jake Winston struggle to enter the rough and tumble world of big-time construction, period! It stops right there. Don’t try to make it something that’s it’s not. It’s my book, damn it!
I’m old, but I’m not stupid. I took the weekend to think about the comments of my trusted crew and rode my bike down to Kailua Beach Park, my refuge for deep thinking. I bought a turkey sandwich from the Kalapawai Market and scored a prime spot on a log forty-feet from the water’s edge, on the busy section of beach reserved for the wind surfers. I could see southeast from Flat Island to the Mok’s, northeast past President Obama’s Ohana to Marine Corp. Base Kaneohe, and due east to the curvature of the earth. My friend John, an eighty-year-old who was walking his dog, approached me and asked if I had heard about our buddy Rodney passing away? John sat down and pulled a pint of Jack Daniels out of his pocket and we shared a nip or two as we told funny stories about our dear, dead brother, who had been a friend for the last seventeen years. He looked and acted like he was homeless, and collecting cans and bottles for the deposit refund. But he had a nice house a couple of blocks off the beach and plenty of money. He was the local bookie and the homeless look was a ruse to keep the cops off guard. I asked,
”Do you think Rodney was religious, we never talked about it?”
“I don’t know, but if he’s up in Heaven, I bet that little portagee has em laughing in the aisles! See yah latter, Jake.”
As I watched them stroll down the beach, I considered my own mortality and my very private spirituality. It was then that I realized my readers were right, as usual, and I needed to take the book to the next level, Jake’s carefully camouflaged real goal in life.