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  • Paul Cumbo

Coffee, Tears, and Letting Go


Couple years ago, I was sitting in a coffee shop writing a pretty wrenching chapter of Wilderness Therapy. No spoilers here, but I'll just tell you it was a part of the story that takes a hard look at the interior life of a broken kid.


Anyway, there I was, on a sunny Saturday morning, typing away. Had my earbuds in, half-listening to some ambient music I tend to let play to drown out the noise. Well, just like that, I was in tears. There was this one sentence that just hit me in the gut.


This nice old lady came up, tapped me on the shoulder, and asked me if I was okay. We had a pleasant, if slightly awkward conversation, even if just for about thirty seconds. I have no idea who she was.


Well, having released the book into the wild this past week, I thought back to that moment. Sooner or later, you have to let go. It's a tough thing, finishing a story. When it's a novel you've been working on for years, it's even harder.

See, while writing Wilderness Therapy, I really came to admire Mike Whittaker and the other kids he finds himself with in Montana. We got pretty tight. Man, has that kid been through some stuff. I'm proud of him.

I can't change his story anymore. No more edits allowed. I'm glad he's out in the world. I hope you'll get to know him.

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