This just arrived on my doorstep, on the first day of spring, and I now know I didn’t really understand how emotional I would be about it. pic.twitter.com/GKr8bSVOE4
— Stacey May Fowles (@MissStaceyMay) March 20, 2017
The book: “Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me”
The author: Stacey May Fowles
The vital statistics: McClelland & Stewart, 304 pages, $18, released today, April 11
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website, or the writers’ website
The pitch: Our first encounter with Ms Fowles was through an essay posted on the Toronto Globe and Mail, a beautiful piece that resonated with us about how one can go and sit in a stadium full of people and still find solitude.
“Over the last year I’ve faced a great deal of uncertainty and doubt. I’ve been scared and anxious, worried about what I’m doing, why I’m doing it, and where it will take me. I’ve felt unsure, and perhaps I’ve made the mistake of looking outside myself, and of comparing myself to others, to find the answers. If only for an afternoon, I needed to go ahead and buy a single ticket and remind myself that maybe I already have all the answers I need.
“And as always, the ballpark generously reassured me. Baseball, it is said, means you’re never alone, but it also teaches you that it’s okay to be all by yourself.”
With surprise and a reassurance there was karma out there somewhere, we came across that full essay in this book, a compilation of her work that proves Fowles is wise beyond her years, for someone who isn’t even 40 yet but has written four books prior to this.
She continues to find baseball as a place of solace as she works on ways to deal with PTSD, anxiety, depression and all sorts of physiological issues related to issues that she can best explain.
Baseball is her ultimate therapeutic journey toward feeling like a normal human being again.
We are so with you on this.
Through a newsletter she created in Toronto called Baseball Life Advice, and now this book, Fowles continues her mind-
She writes about how and why she got a tattoo on the inside of her right wrist that has three squares in the arrangement of a baseball diamond, with the one on the far left, third base, filled in with solid black.
“With a runner on third base, there is still potential and possibility … you are in scoring position. .. you’re just ninety feet away from change … you can come back, and hope isn’t totally lost.”
How profoundly sweet.
Her essays are baseball poetry without trying to be.
In a piece she wrote in Oct., 2015, it starts: “The game of baseball is usually made up of long pauses punctuated by tiny miracles. It’s often ridiculed for the clock-less way it drags on toward infinity, a team sport that actually reads more like an anthology of small solo victories.”
The structure of baseball gives Fowles’ life structure, a template for “how to live a happier and more fulfilling existence,” and filling out a box score is like a “cognitive behavioral therapy workbook: methodical and precise, soothing in its documentation of progress.”
Fowles’ current life journey is so tied to baseball that until she realized the power of its hold and church-like presence, it was all a subconscious security blanket. Now it’s more an open book, as is her life, with this bound publication of 33 essays that goes to all fields.
In the tradition of female baseball writers we’ve enjoyed before like Emma Span and Susan Petrone, Fowles has a place in the lineup and we will always feel a connection as long as they keep playing these games.