Questions and Answers
1. Why did you write this book?
This book had its origins in a Facebook tribute to Steve Tarpinian. For weeks after he passed away, I would post some photos and anecdotes of Steve's life as part of my grieving process. Several people following my Facebook posts suggested I write a book. I was reluctant to do so since I don't consider myself a writer. However, I felt that Steve's story needed to be told. So many people were shocked over his passing and couldn't believe he suffered from depression. I hope to inspire conversation to help remove the stigma associated with mental illness. I also want to highlight that many individuals suffering from mental illness are not necessarily defined by the disease. Their lives can be productive and filled with joy, laughter, and love.
Finally, I want Steve's legacy to be his kind and compassionate self in spite of his own personal struggles. He was someone who impacted so many lives in a powerful and positive way.
2. What is unique about this memoir?
This memoir about Steve was not written from just my perspective. I have included writings and quotes about Steve provided by many individuals (employees, colleagues, athletes, friends and acquaintances).
Also included are some of Steve's own writings which can give the reader a feel for Steve's depth of spirit and compassion.
Finally, I have created a website and a Facebook page that complement the book with additional photos and anecdotes related to the life of Steve Tarpinian that are not part of the book. This was done in an effort to get people more interested in Steve the person as well as getting the reader to want to know more about him and read the book.
3. How did you choose the proceeds beneficiary?
The majority of the profits for the sale of this book will be donated to Project9line, a non-profit organization on Long Island (www.Project9line.org). Throughout this entire process of publishing this book, I have felt the hand of Steve guiding me. I believe, as he did, there are no coincidences. One day, I dropped off some promotional bookmarks for the memoir at my chiropractor's office. I was directed to place them on a counter next to another stack of promotional cards that caught my eye. It was for Vet Stock, an event presented by Project9line to honor all veterans. I wanted to find out more about this organization as Steve and I both sympathized with the plight of our country's returning veterans. Project9line has a unique approach to assist returning veterans who may be suffering from PTSD and depression; they create multiple venues for the veterans to showcase their talent and share their experience through the arts.
What is the significance of Project9line? “9line” is derived from a very important U.S. Military protocol known as “9 line MEDEVAC.” It is a procedure used on the battlefield when placing a call for assistance related to a casualty. A soldier must provide the nine most important facts about the scenario so the most effective help can be sent. I am sure Steve would want important facts of his own story to be told in an effort to help others with mental illness, just as Project9line is helping veterans when they return home.
4. What has been the most rewarding part of this journey in publishing Steve's story?
There are two that come to mind. First is the outpouring of support I have received along the way from so many people, some I have never even met. I knew many people loved and respected Steve, but I had no idea to what extent. Secondly, people have either messaged me or told me of their own experiences with depression; either they themselves struggle with it, or they have family members who are struggling. Others have also spoken to me about suicides of their loved ones. In the microcosm of my world, I have already achieved one of my goals; inspiring conversation about mental illness. If more people talk about suicide and depression perhaps those who are suffering will feel empowered to get the help they need.