Thursday, November 15, 2012

The story continues...

Joe was a brilliant man—quite possibly a genius.  However, (and I say this with great love and affection) it seemed to me that he never followed through on anything.  When I first found The Kabrini Message, I wasn’t sure if he had ever attempted to get it published.  I assumed that he had not—or that he probably hadn’t tried very hard.  

The oldest of my three brothers, Joe was twelve years older than me.  The year I started first grade, he started college.  Although there was a large age difference, I do have a few vivid memories of growing up with him.  I remember Joe building his own telescopes as a teen (not from a kit, but from scratch—grinding the lenses himself, etc.).  He was absolutely fascinated with stars and planets, and he spent much of his time at the observatory.

So, as I began reading Joe’s book, The Kabrini Message, I was not surprised to find that it was Science Fiction.  (What else would Joe write?)  Although Sci-Fi is not my usual reading genre, I found that I couldn’t put it down.  I genuinely enjoyed it!

I was amazed and in awe of the imagination that created these twists and turns and intricacies; especially considering that, as far as I know, this was a first novel.  Most of all, I loved the quick wit and humor in the dialogue between the characters.

I always knew there was so much more to Joe than met the eye, but I never realized just how much more.  All of these wild, elaborate ideas were going on and most of us never knew it.  I always knew there was pretty complex stuff going on in Joe's head, but now I finally know what some of it was.

Author J.R. Egles
and mom, Marie Egles
I’m not surprised that my mother took the time to type Joe’s entire manuscript.  She and Joe had a special relationship; she was his “champion of causes”.  She believed in him and always encouraged his greatest hopes and dreams.  Unfortunately, Joe did not seem to believe in himself enough most of the time.

But Joe had many wonderful qualities, too.  He had a fabulous sense of humor and a sharp wit, similar to that of some of the characters in his book.  He was funny and extremely intelligent and we always enjoyed his company so much, when we actually saw him.  But we rarely saw him.  When we invited him to family get-togethers and special occasions, he never said “no”; he always said, “I’ll try”, or “If I can”, but he seldom came.  The only events he attended with regularity were weddings and funerals—and even then, he’d only stay for the briefest amount of time that was socially acceptable, and then he always “had to get going”.  Even so, I somehow always knew he loved his family very much.

In January 2010, two months after his 60th birthday and with so much talent and ability that it seemed he never really tapped into, my brother Joe passed away.

My mother always recognized Joe’s potential, and now I do, too.  And although at the time of his passing it appeared that much of his talent never materialized, perhaps that is not true.  Perhaps it is not too late.

I now realize I was wrong when I assumed Joe never followed through on anything.  He completed this book.  And I recently learned something else from his wife Gwen—soon after Joe wrote the book, they mailed copies of his manuscript to nearly 50 publishers.  When interest was not immediately shown, however, Joe stopped pursuing it.

So I decided to take it one step further; I would get The Kabrini Message published, as a gift to both my brother and our mother who always believed in him.  The journey has been a fun, fascinating and educational labor of love.  Next, the journey begins...

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