Boxing for 90 Days

February 15, 2008

Today marks exactly three months since Boxing For Cuba was introduced to English speaking readers.  I highlight this date simply to acknowledge the invaluable lessons that my book’s maiden voyage has brought into my life.  The most important one relates to how strangely wonderful and unpredictable life can be.  It was impossible for me to comprehend the powerful effect of writing my story, after all, it was only my intention to write it for my children and generations of Vidal’s to come.  My efforts to publish it came only after much encouragement to do so from my wife and friends.  But once the book publicly came out, I was overcome with a gargantuan sense of regret for having exposed my family and myself in such an unvarnished fashion for the whole world to see. Distressed that having done so would only bring me disapproval, I have been taken aback by the response I have received.  A day does not pass that I don’t receive a note or e-mail from someone who wishes to express gratitude for my memoir.  The overwhelming commonality has been that the story encouraged them to seek the beauty of their own family history – triggering family discussions with parents and grandparents to discover their origins.  But I have also heard from people with complex parental relationships who were moved to find peace with their parents.  Even those who feel downtrodden by the obstacles in their lives have found strength in my story to persevere in their own struggles.  Surprisingly, I have even heard from extended family members I didn’t know I had who have found some curative value to their  emotional wounds. 


The other important lesson I have learned is how we are all connected.  It has been surprising to hear from so many immigrants.  People from Iran, Somalia, China, Viet Nam, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Germany and Ireland have reached out to me simply to express their solidarity with my immigration experience.  It is clear that, although the details of our experiences may be different, the spiritual and emotional challenges we all faced connect us in ways that make us family.   I am so grateful for these contacts, they have helped me overcome my self-reproach and accept the value of having made my story public.


By the way, today I was featured on Breakfast With Brooke on Channel 4 in Denver.  Here is the link to the interview.

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