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  • Writer's pictureKevin Conley

Did I really write a book? Yes. I did

Oct 4th, 2022

As I write this, I am laying in my bed that lies in the back of my truck. Rocky is exhausted and cuddled up next to my feet. We have spent the last couple days surrounded by the mighty, jagged and pure rawness that is thrown into the Sawtooth Wilderness. If you put in the energy, and fancy footwork – there are too many hikes to count, that take you to glorious alpine lakes or vistas that melt your soul.

It’s a special time of the year. The cool breeze whispers sweet, fresh mountain air through the pines and the fall colors are rich on display, bursting in excitement to rest as the snow is coming. Today, is October 4th and tomorrow being one of the most special days of my life. Tomorrow, October 5th, I will be a published author and release my first book, memoir, out to the world. I spent the last hour in solitude. Aside from the rushing river in front of me, and the popping stars around the high mountains - I daydreamed away soaking in some magical, natural hot springs. I was amazed that no one was out here, but that is something that keeps Idaho so pure.

I needed to calm my thoughts, relax, and get ready for the work I have ahead me. However, it is the work that lies behind me that’ll always inspire me. After my 3,500-bike tour I was bombarded with so many humbling, thoughtful and impactful messages. Dozens and dozens of people reached out to me to say thank you, that I inspired them, some asked for advice and others said I saved their life by sharing my vulnerability and authenticity through my story. After so many messages, emails, and calls – I felt driven to write a book. A book that I believe has the power to change, inspire and motivate many humans that read it.

I wrote non-stop for the past ten months. Countless revisions, exhausting amounts of edit, re-edits and read aloud, repeating that a lot of times, one time I deleted 6 chapters and started over, one time I hit a block and didn’t write for 5 weeks. Then I decided to stop working the past four months – to fully dig in and give this book my entire focus, purpose and the full power of my intent and truth. I spilled my heart in this book, as hard as some parts were to relive and to write, I did it because I believe it’ll help others. I held nothing back. This journey on my bicycle is how I healed, grew, and overcame my mental illness and now, in sharing my story, raw and authentic, I hope to help others through their adversity.

I want all people, not only firefighters, to know it is important to speak your truth, it is okay to feel your feelings and express them, it is okay to not be okay and know that you’re not alone. It’s has been almost one year since I came inches away from taken my life. All I wanted to do was to sleep and never wake up, I was so sick of suffering, and silently at that, I didn’t want to be alive, and I almost ended it all. Now, one year later, I have trouble sleeping because I love living and being awake so darn much. I’m a dreamer again and blasted with positivity and the possibilities are dancing through my brain fruitfully. I’m full of gratitude, a second chance, I’m reborn and I am thriving.

It is amazing how much can change in a year. What’s even more amazing is what can change in a day or even a week. One day, last year, I didn’t want to be here – a few days after that feeling - I was riding my bicycle from San Francisco, California and across the country to St. Augustine, Florida. I fought my demons head on, I woke up my warrior spirit and we didn’t rest. That long bike ride was my journey back to life. This book that I’m releasing tomorrow, takes you through the job of being a Wildland Firefighter, some younger me flashbacks and why I chose this journey, it has great life advice and tokens to hold onto, it dives deep into my depression and severe panic disorder and then strides across the country as I healed and overcame. It’s riddled with the ins and outs of the days on a wild adventure, being so free, the people along the way and all the magic that happened to come out on the other end a new and better man.

I really hope you enjoy my memoir ‘ABOVE THE ASHES’. I can promise you - I put my all into it, didn’t skip any step of the research or process it takes to write a book. I can’t thank my professionally editor enough, she was the icing on the cake that got my story to a new level.

It is so wild to think I accomplished this feat of writing, editing, and publishing a book. I’m so proud of this and I know you’ll love it!

Life will be hard, that is inevitable. How you act and react in those difficult parts of life, will define who you are. Stand up, be strong, and always remember you’re more powerful than you will ever know.

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