20 March 2009

Review and Interview: Zig-Zagging by Tom Wilson


Tom Wilson's memoir is not a collection of literary essays or a self-help book. It's the story of one man's journey to finding peace after recovering from a personal injury, coping with his father's failing health, and coming to terms with the early death of his wife from cancer. The frame story of the book is Tom's solo drive from Cleveland to Cincinnati, bisecting the state of Ohio. The interlacing text draws on the types of thoughts we all have when driving alone along the highway. And through these thoughts, we learn the story of Tom, his family, his sorrows, and his joys.

I can relate to much of what Tom writes about because my older brother lost his young wife to cancer 10 years ago. And although I didn't lose my spouse, I have certainly watched the process of mourning and recovery through my brother's life as single parent.

Each situation and individual is unique, but Tom's personal story offers solace to the grieving by showing them that they are not alone and that it is possible to once again enjoy life.

The book is enhanced with photographs and Ziggy drawings as well as a history of the comic.

Three Questions for Tom Wilson

BFR: In your book, you mention synchronicity and give at least two examples of it. One is when you see your single set of footsteps on the beach in Hawaii and later find the card from Susan with the "Footsteps" poem on it. The other is when you pull off the highway and find Susan's Coffee Shop and the bookstore next door. Do you think such occurrences happen more often during times when we need guidance? Or are they there all the time but we don't pay attention to them?

TW: From my point of view, at least, I have a feeling that synchronicity and perhaps even miracles may be related in that our world possibly exists as possibility and our perception of any moment appears to be the commonality. It might be kind of like that belief that good things (or bad) occur in "threes"; our belief will ultimately lead us to see those three specific and related events and select them from within the full spectrum range [of] possibility ever present within any moment . . . Believing is Seeing.

BFR: You spent much of the first year after Susan's death attempting to be everything for everybody in your personal life and business. Once you recognized that it's a strength to ask for help, things started falling into place for you (more synchronicity!). Although everyone must go through grief in his or her own way, would you encourage others to seek support earlier than you did? Or do you think we accept help only when we're ready to?

TW: Really, I wouldn't begin to compare my grieving process to another's . . . I can only honestly, and as accurately as possible, offer them my own as possible contrast for potential help to define their own process for themselves. It seems to me that the character of any grief, as well as the catalyst behind it, is as unique as the person experiencing it. Maybe the answer to your question is something along the lines of a twist of the ancient Buddhist understanding: "When the student is ready, the teacher will arrive." How about: "When the grieving are ready to see, receive, and understand, the support will be recognized, accepted, and understood."

BFR: What do you think Ziggy would think about being on a Book Blog Tour? What kind of trouble would he get into visiting all these different blogs?

(Note: My real first name is Candace.)

Zig-Zagging is on tour during the month of March. Visit TLC Tours (here) to read other reviews and to visit other blogs on the tour. Thanks to TLC Tours for asking me to be a host.

Published by Health Communications, 2009
ISBN-13: 9780757307935
Challenges: New Author, A-Z Title, 999, 100+
YTD: 23
Rating: B-


Sandy Nawrot 3/20/09, 5:31 AM  

What a charming man. And you got a Ziggy! I love him! He obviously understands the grieving process so well. When you experience or see this level of grief, it becomes very clear that others cannot know how you're feeling. It is so personal. It is a very important lesson for everyone to know that you really don't know how they feel.

Julie P. 3/20/09, 8:19 AM  

The cartoon is awesome! I remember loving Ziggy when I was younger. I even had a cross-stitch pattern of him that I made. Sounds like a wonderful book.

bermudaonion 3/20/09, 8:31 AM  

Oh my gosh! I hope you're going to frame your cartoon - it's awesome! I'll be touring this one next Friday.

Beth F 3/20/09, 9:53 AM  

I am sooooo excited about my cartoon and it will be framed and hang in my office.

Anonymous,  3/20/09, 10:54 AM  

How cool is it that you have your own personal Ziggy?! Although now I am wondering about the name of your blog...

Dorte H 3/20/09, 12:03 PM  

Congratulations, Beth!

And what a cool cartoon.

Stacy 3/20/09, 12:20 PM  

That is just beyond awesome. What a great guy and just as sweet as Ziggy.

trish 3/20/09, 12:28 PM  

Beth, this is so cool! I don't know how you kept this to yourself. You must have been bursting.

Olga 3/20/09, 1:05 PM  

Great interview, Beth. What an interesting man! Ziggy's been a mainstay in American comics for decades.

Darlene 3/20/09, 1:22 PM  

Awesome post Beth and great cartoon! I just loved this book.

LisaMM 3/20/09, 1:42 PM  

WOW WOW O WOW!!! I can't believe you got your own personal Ziggy, how cool! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing Tom's book as part of the tour!

Ali 3/20/09, 2:03 PM  

Very cool that you got your own Ziggy cartoon! I hadn't heard of this book before, I'm intrigued by a memoir on such a serious subject, written by a guy who's known for his silly comics.

Ladytink_534 3/20/09, 6:52 PM  

Aw! Great review and interview. Love the comic!!!

Anonymous,  3/20/09, 7:32 PM  

Excellent questions that led to super answers. Your review reflects the heart of the book. I made myself finish my own review of the book before I would let myself come over and read yours. I knew it would be this good. And to get your very own personalized Ziggy! Good for you.

Jenners 3/21/09, 9:58 PM  

This was fantastic! I loved reading the interview and loved the cartoon! Wow! I totally believe in the sychronicity he talks about. My dad and I have called it "Zen living." When you are in tune with the universe, things just happen the way they are meant to and things become easy. And you find connections that you wouldn't expect. And I have a lot more respect for the Ziggy cartoons now! Wonderful post!

Amy 3/22/09, 4:56 AM  

How awesome! And your secret is out, lol!

Anonymous,  3/22/09, 1:00 PM  

I do some of my best thinking, and sometimes solving of challenges, on solo journeys (mine tend to be a lot of shorter trips stacked together).

This sounds like a good balance of a serious and difficult subject with the levity of Ziggy's insight.

Cool Ziggy cartoon!!

Anonymous,  3/22/09, 8:20 PM  

LOVE Zig! Great review and interview!!

Wendi 3/23/09, 12:57 AM  

Ohhh - I love Ziggy!! Great review and interview. :)

~ Wendi

Anonymous,  3/23/09, 7:20 AM  

Lucky you with your own Ziggy! This does sound like a book for those who are grieving. Great review.

TexasRed 3/30/09, 10:32 PM  

What a great review! So cool that you got your own Ziggy!

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