ALL THE WAY HOME comes home


It must be over five years ago now that a friend began encouraging me to write the story of The X-Kalay Foundation.

For my first try, I rented a flat for two weeks right on the waterfront above the Johnson Street Bridge in Victoria. I like to portray myself as terribly lazy and scatter-brained, but the truth is I am almost maniacally disciplined and focused. So I settled quickly into my daily routine – Up at 8, put on the tea, throw on a jacket and a ball cap, skulk sideways to the nearest grocery store and pick up the Vancouver Sun they had agreed  to hold for me. Read paper, write daily blog, eat breakfast and read novel or New Yorker and then settle in to three hours of writing.

When I could do no more, I was either on my bike and riding the Galloping Goose Trail or at the local Y or community centre pool. Afternoons, as always, over cappuccino or espresso in some local joint and more reading. Most evenings, I made a simple dinner, followed by Seinfeld re-runs and popcorn.

In two weeks I had written about 130 pages and managed to get the basic story on paper of how we created in 1967, almost by accident, and certainly with little forethought, knowledge or expertise, the very first residential treatment centre in Canada for addicts, alcoholics, jailbirds and others.

The irony of this first writing exercise in Victoria in 2008 was that the apartment I rented was very fancy and trendy and hyper-cute and perched directly above the favorite place for Victoria drug addicts to hang out, shoot drugs, deal and sleep in the bushes. My morning hike to the grocery was a charming gauntlet of misery and insanity.

The next year – after doing a bit of writing in cafes – I rented a beautiful heritage cottage just off Dallas Road in Victoria. Not only could I do some more writing, but I could walk every single day, regardless of weather, along the marvelous paths overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This time i came home with over 200 pages.

Over the next three and a half years, I added, and re-wrote and fine-tuned the manuscript on Salt Spring Island, In Venice, Italy, at Harrison Hot Springs, at home and, as always, in a variety of noisy bubbling lively espresso cafes.

Now, everything has been about the cover design, the fonts, page numbers, Dale Seddon’s wonderful Foreword, the acknowledgements and dedication to Geoff Cue, Carole Audet’s wonderful help as editor and completing the complicated deal with the printer and distributor.

The first run of paperback copies of All the Way Home should be in my hands about two or three weeks from now. Many of that first run will go to the media and friends and family. Two wonderful recovery organizations have pre-ordered boxes of books. Yeah!

As soon as the first run is being printed the book will be available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Copies in your local bookstore may take a little longer. And for you Kindle, Kobo and other cyber-readers, the e-book had not been scheduled yet, but it will in the coming weeks.

Living the events at the core of this book has been the largest and most dramatic part of my life – and the most rewarding. Writing about it and getting the story in print has been almost as challenging and certainly a huge thrill.

I hope you enjoy the ride.