|e-poster of the book launch|
When I returned from my Kilimanjaro climb in 2002, my then colleague John Valdezco urged me to write about my climb and travel experience for reasons that I didn’t understand.
Starting the story on paper was difficult, but I discovered that I was talkative on paper and could write almost non-stop. I think, I being a wide reader helped me write lengthy stories - except that I needed an editor to trim my words down and check my syntax, grammar and spelling occasionally.. But hey, I’m a math and computer science person so give me some slack. John patiently went through my first manuscript and published it in our office’s intranet. Friends and strangers responded through emails, telling me how they were inspired, how they envied my way of life and all that mushy stuff. Another thing I discovered was that climb or adventure stories in general had a positive effect on many.
I recognized that it was ‘inspiring to inspire’ – and so with a modest story-telling-by-writing confidence, I continued writing my climbs and adventure stories and even shared some of them in my old blog.
After walking down the slopes of Everest, I started writing page after page of what I envisioned to be a book manuscript. Before 2006 ended, I had written 50 percent of it, but it would take a few more years before I returned to it again, adding bits and pieces about the big climbs that followed. After my Vinson trip, the story was finished.
Along the way, I read Tenzing Norgay Sherpa’s book After Everest where he recalled his Everest with Edmund Hillary in May 1953. He mentioned the value of sharing stories and details behind the event that weren’t publicly known. And I have many of these ‘behind-the-scene’ stories where readers can learn from. If not at least, for entertainment.
After Tenzing and Hillary topped Everest, many controversies floated in the air. The international media, the locals, the whole international mountaineering community asked questions, among which were: “Who got there first, you or Hillary?”, “Why did you use more than one flag?”, “Why was one flag higher than the other?”
The more adaptable Hillary, who enjoyed celebrity status, wrote in his own book a line in the Everest summit chapter that was interpreted as an insult to Tenzing who “was like a fish out of the water.” In the end Tenzing felt the need to tell his side of the story and published his book that revealed details of their climb as a response to unanswered questions to Hillary’s comment.
And I have to admit - it was difficult to tell everything about my Everest quest. My Everest climb was a 'noisy' one both negative and positive. That’s probably why I dilly-dallied in completing the book. By toning down some incidents, I may not offer a complete story. Tenzing might not approve, but by disclosing so many details, I may be renewing old enmities or creating new ones. So I’ve tried to be balanced while still giving my honest opinions. All other comments may be read as personal attacks, but that is something an author must risk.
My stories intend to enjoin readers to walk their own journey, climb their own Everest. I wish that through this book, the readers will learn, be entertained, and be inspired.