From the preface to “A Tango before I Die” by Kevin Carrel Footerbig-cover-a-tango-beforeI-die

This book – my first – has been a long time in coming.

There are two possible explanations for this. One is that I had to live each of these stories to know if they bore the mark of the truth or were mere figments dancing on the road to what lies beyond.

I believe in words. And now, as I dare to approach the publication of a book, I realize how much I revere the Book. I didn’t want to publish something that I was not willing to die for. (Yes, you can call me overly dramatic; I will take it as a compliment.) And so I waited for this moment when the sword of absolute certainty pierced me.

The second possible explanation is that I couldn’t let go. Just as one must embrace death to live fully, one must accept that your creations will live on without you. Not that they will perpetuate your name or anything so silly as that; just that they will live on and you won’t. I had to let go.

Those of you who stood by me all these years, endured my disappearing off to write and put up with the boxes of mysterious notebooks I lugged around and then never stopped pushing me to publish – well, you know who you are and to you I offer my undying gratitude and this first work. Those of us who have fought side-by-side know all we gave to win the battle.

All of these stories were written quite quickly, mostly on Saturday mornings pushing against the deadline to get them into the paper the next day. Think of them as chronicles of a voyage, entries scribbled in a log book during a long adventure. When there was a break in the action, I would jot down these notes so that if we were shipwrecked there would be some record floating out there in the ocean.