Being Changed for the Better, But at a Terrible Cost

KickStarterThankYouI want to offer my heartfelt thanks to everyone, known and unknown who generously contributed to my KickStarter project to help launch An Early Work Late in Life. I vastly exceeded my set fundraising goal, which is a very good thing, because I also vastly exceeded my original budget and cost estimates.

Lots and lots of fascinating images and information came in about Danny Allen’s life and artwork–and much of it came in after the book was fully designed and ready to go to press. All the new information was pertinent and valuable serving to further enhance my own understanding of Dan. Some spectacular art surfaced at the eleventh hour as well, and eventually a decision was made to add images to the addendum at the end of the book rather than tumbling the layout and design each time new things surfaced.

The new information and images led to more time working with my editor to find the proper way to incorporate these insights and stories into the existing narrative. That resulted in more time going into designing the book, and the number of pages and color plates increased. The end result was a $12,000 project morphed into a $22,000 project. But KickStarter more than absorbed the additional costs resulting in my being far less out-of-pocket for this project than I’d budgeted for in the first place. Funny how life works…

I recently had an email exchange with my lifelong friend, Leah Warnick, and our conversation drew-out feelings within me–to the point where one of my replies was nothing short of a personal breakthrough. Here is a response I wrote to Leah that was part of a larger conversation:

  • “For years I blamed myself for Danny’s death. I was angry at myself for being so self involved that I couldn’t see his pain and illness past my own ego and self centeredness. I’ve come to believe that what took place could never have happened any other way, because what happened is merely a fact–a shared history of loss that a lot of people still carry. Dan’s death was something that wasn’t averted, and can never be averted in hindsight. It can only be reflected on and learned from. But I’d rather be who I am today and know the hurt in my own heart than be the silly, shallow person I might have become if my life had not been gifted with loss and pain. My own troubles and heartaches have made me more aware of the struggles of other people. My own lessons are things I’ve tried to call on and impart to younger people–or to better understand the sick or the elderly. Dan’s death changed me for the better, but at a terrible cost.

As I reflect on this project (which even as I’m writing this, is on the press being prepared to be bound and shipped in order to be ready for the opening at the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery) I’ve come to a decision: Should additional pertinent information about Danny Allen surface–or artwork that begs to be included, I will amend the book in a later edition if my finances allow.

Again, thank you to everyone who contributed art, photographs, stories, insights and funding. I hope the book meets your expectations and helps to promote a greater understanding of a young man who was lost and loved, but never forgotten.

– Bill Whiting

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