My latest book, Bader Field (Nightengale Press, 2008) is the emotional story of our family’s struggle to survive after my older brother at age 22 took his life. I was just sixteen years old. The effects on myself and my family were horrific, beyond description. As a father now, I have a completely different perspective. Please visit my website for an extensive overview of the book. www.carledavid.com. This is a journey of love, forgiveness and acceptance.
In as much as teen suicides are now so ever present in the news, it is time for my book to hit its mark and wake these kids up to the horror this violent act leaves on their families. Suicide is no joke and should not be taken lightly, or worse yet, dismissed or ignored. It is one of the leading killers of children today and knows no boundaries; not age, gender, race, nationality or season. Children of celebrities who end their lives have been in the news recently. Movie stars, sports figures, and regular folk too. No one is exempt.
The only way to halt its insidious existence is through massive exposure. Teenagers and young adults are most impressionable and reading about this nightmarish act might just save someone’s life. It is a selfish act and perhaps knowing how it traumatizes the survivors, might give pause and cause such a distressed kid to seek help and realize that they are loved and that there is a better way to confront their problems, whatever they may be. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. More than a million people take their lives every year and that number is growing ever larger.
Now is the time to go very public with this issue and come out fighting so that lives can be saved. I need to show the devastation this violent act leaves in its wake. I am on a mission to save lives….even one. This is my way of paying forward by taking the darkest days of my life and helping others to see the impact of a suicide on the surviving family members. People need to know that when they take their life, they don’t die alone; they take their family with them.
My story will help other families who have walked a similar path. I have a very positive message for families everywhere. One of my hopes and goals for “Bader Field” is that it becomes mandatory reading for all College & High School students. It will save lives. This is an important issue which is too often neglected or ignored.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am the 3rd generation Fine Art Dealer in our 4th generation family owned and operated David David Gallery in Philadelphia, founded in 1910. We specialize in original 18th-20th century American & European paintings, watercolors, drawings & sculptures. www.askart.com/DDavid & www.artnet.com/ddavid.html. I am the author of “Collecting & Care Of Fine Art” (Crown, NY) and “Bader Field” (Nightengale Press) as well as many articles in major publications including The American Art Review (Marthe Walter), www.avantoure.com (The Lure Of Flying) and is a resident editor on www. flyawaysimulation.com. I have appeared in dozens of radio interviews and have guest hosted several live FM Radio Shows for Catherine Bradford on the Wellness Road Show in Seattle and am currently working having “Bader Field” made into a movie to spread my message of hope on my mission to save lives.
What inspired you to write this book?
Having lived through and survived the horrific experience of my brother’s suicide, I am awakened to the purpose in my life. I am to pay it forward by illustrating the pain with which the surviving family members are imbued so perhaps it will draw someone back from that edge of desperation by showing them that they don’t die alone. They take their family with them. Life is a gift and every day we wake up is a blessing. No matter the difficulty, we get a redo. We have the luxury of choice in how we will spend our time and what we will do with it. I have done dozens of radio interviews, live AM and FM, and internet and television as well. I need to let those who have walked a similar devastating path that life does go on and that life is for the living. Our scars become an integral part of us as the experiences imprint our souls, but it is what we do with that information that makes us who we are in the end.
How did you choose the title?
Bader Field is a small airport, now defunct, just outside of Atlantic City and that was the last place I saw my father. That is where the story begins and ultimately where it ends many years later. Since we used to fly in and out of Bader Field regularly (my father was also a crackerjack pilot as well as a legendary art dealer), the title was a good fit. The book began as homage to my father who was my hero. He was the singular most incredible person in my life and I knew that only through my writing this book would my children, not yet born, know and feel the greatness of this super human man. Over the years it developed in to a much more major work with manifold purpose.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I was rejected over the years on scores of occasions by large and small publishers and agents alike with the notion that my story was “too personal.” They missed it altogether….I was referred to Nightengale Press by a friend who loved it and wanted to publish it with one caveat; they wanted me to rewrite it “Movie Style.” I had no clue but agreed eagerly. I was told to “Show my story, not tell it” so with the help of a great editor who showed me how, but not telling me how to dialog and bring my characters to life.
I re-wrote the book in 6 weeks, working day & night and it did indeed come to life. I loved it and recognized what it had been missing before.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
In High School, I struggled to try and put a composition together. I just couldn’t see it. When I was in college, I developed a grudge for the cafeteria food and wrote a scathing article for the college newspaper. It was published but without my name attached for fear of reprisal. That was the beginning of my writing career.
In 1981 I wrote “Collecting & Care Of Fine Art” which Crown published gladly as an honest clarification and understanding of the abstract workings of the art market. I wanted the consumer to have a level playing field.
Along the way I have written several articles for major journals and have most recently become a resident editor for www.flyawaysimulation.com
Do you have any writing rituals?
I can only write when the inspiration is there. I need a quiet place, my laptop and an edge; a reason to say something.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
Writing this book was very difficult. It took a great deal of resolve. There were times when I just put it down for months on end and nearly quit. In order for me to get it right and do it justice, i.e. give it credence and the respect it deserved, I had to relive some deeply painful life experiences which was challenging and emotionally unsettling. In the end it was cathartic. I knew I had but one chance to do this and since I never quit, I forged forward and battled my way to a prideful end. I realized the larger purpose which was to share the devastation a suicide causes a family so that it may save someone else from taking their life by showing them the permanent wake of horror that is etched into the psyches of the survivors
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
No, I would do it exactly the same.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I love personal stories that draw you in and take you into their life. I also love comedy. When I was a kid I read every Ian Fleming book before anyone in the US knew his work. I also loved Woody Allen’s “Without Feathers” and Billy Crystal’s “Seven Hundred Sundays” and Tim Russert’s “Wisdom Of Our Fathers.”
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Don’t ever quit. Follow your dreams and pursuits.
Take rejection as a compliment and a challenge. Otherwise you lose. When I get rejected I fight harder. If I get knocked down I get up and start again.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Folks who have walked a similar path to know that life goes on and that we must turn negatives in to positives. Otherwise, we have learned nothing and have not paid it forward to help others.
High School and college students and young adults need to read my book and spread the word that life is precious. It is a gift and one that must not be abused.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
It will soon be available for download in the Apple iPad.