With all the violence and injustice going on in the world, I am angered and saddened, yet I remember what Derek often said: “I shall not create an enemy. I choose not to live in fear.” This is not always easy.
Since Derek’s death in 2011, I have been coping with fear in my own small ways, particularly in the process of completing his memoir, Walking to Japan. In striving to do justice to his voice, to capture his loving presence and preserve his memories from the road, I’ve had fearful thoughts. What if I fail? What if nobody reads the book? What if they don’t care?” What after all the editing is done there’s still a spelling mistake—or two, or—? Or what if I die in an accident before I finish it?
To face my fears, I have needed to take to heart some of the lessons Derek shares in the book, and letting go is one of the biggest. I need to let go of ego, my need for control, my perfectionism. As paradoxical as it might seem, as much as I believe in this book with my heart and soul, I have to let go of my hopes for its popularity, and for Derek’s legacy. I must remember what Derek himself would tell me: “No matter what, it’s still a success, because we both did our best.”
It’s time now to let go of the book itself, and let it fly.