David, el Dundore: The Untold Story Behind “Just Man, Enough”

From time to time in this space, WestBow Press  publishes articles written by our authors in which they share some aspect of their self-publishing journeys. The following are the words of David, el Dundore; author of “Just Man, Enough.” To begin your self-publishing journey, get your free WestBow Press publishing guide today!

During my first month of service in Iraq, in late 2006, there occurred a series of seemingly unrelated and wildly disparate events, and it would only be later that I could see the linkages tying them into a chain. Outside of my regular duties. I spent the first month savoring Cervantes’ masterful Don Quixote and loving it for its style, humor and craftsmanship. Around that same time I saw the movie Wedding Crashers from a borrowed collection and laughed out loud despite myself; and I also a read a review of the recently released movie The Nativity Story, which called it “wooden.” Finally, on the night of my birthday, I was read my rights by the commanding officer and confined to my quarters pending the outcome of an investigation based on allegations made against me by a suspected double agent.

Dundore coverI didn’t take it well, and anyone valuing his good name as I do mine would not. Sitting quite alone, in a solitary condition, unjustly accused, can make even the darkest, most difficult thoughts revolving around your device pistol seem reasonable. I sat in that funk of despair for a solid month, then finally shook it off to attend chapel on December 3. The chaplain focused on the journey of Mary and Joseph from Nazareth, and I remember thinking that the trip would make a good story, and I would write it for Him. I set my limit at ten pages.

When I easily surpassed the ten-page mark I moved the new goal to twenty; then maybe to fifty, but I knew that I could finish in 100. When I got there I resignedly surrendered to the characters who had taken over the story, and decided I would just follow whereever they went, but around the time I passed 200 pages of hard composing I remember thinking, “I want this guy to die soon.” In the meantime, something or someone who wanted this book written had taken up occupancy with me in my room; He met me there, relieving my misery with delight.

Those days of writing are among the happiest of my life. In one setting, at another camp (my name by then restored), there behind my sandbagged windows in quite cramped quarters, I would stay up until one or two a.m. working, not wanting to sleep, and eagerly await the arrival of 5 or 6 when I could arise to continue. Why don’t people love the nativity story? Because it’s not relevant to contemporary life and it’s not fun. This one is.

The perspective I chose and the pious liberties I took with it allowed for interpolated stories, and provided me opportunities to subtly – or not so subtly – talk about everything from inbox spam to Hollywood personalities. And, like the Quixote and even (in a far different way) Wedding Crashers, it’s meant to entertain. The real reasons for its relevance, however, are not those things or even the baby but the people surrounding him: They are parents, neighbors, spouses and others trapped in world, like all of us, of neither our making nor, often, our understanding.

The author (left) with a pair of Iraqi interpreters.

The author (left) with a pair of Iraqi interpreters.

As a result of its influences and its unorthodox author, the work is neither fish nor fowl in the conventional sense of categorization. Too worldly for some to consider ‘Christian,’ yet too Christian to be secular, it finds itself alone having (to date) found a home in the breasts of only few appreciative readers who have recognized something special in it, even calling it life changing, and one of whom flattered me with most grateful letter, written from prison, that I have ever received or could hope to receive from anyone.

I knew that a cool reception was a possibility, and it had already been so received by various agents as I shopped it around in the usual way. Rejection. What was I to do? Finally, it found another home at Westbow Press, where even the unorthodox have a chance. This book – like yours, perhaps – wasn’t just a book but also a mission, and a mission implies a duty. I took the chance with Westbow, taking out a loan against my beloved Harley, because I want to say with Paul and the others, “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision.” The walk of faith is often one of sheer endurance, marked by side trails and promising shortcuts, as I think Abraham would agree: They can lead you to the fleeting joy of Ishmael, but your legacy lies in Isaac.


WestBow Press authors who’d like to share a 350-600 word experience related to the self-publishing of their books, are invited to do so by sending a message through the WestBow Press Facebook page, by tweeting us @WestBowPress, or by emailing kgray@ westbowpress.com. We may not be able to use every story, but we will read and consider them. WestBow Press reserves the right to edit stories for content, grammar and punctuation accuracy; as well as for space.

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