Jim Beaver is a busy man. Not only does he star on the CW’s Supernatural and CBS’ Harper’s Island (both airing Thursday nights), but he’s also a new author with the recent release of his third book, Life’s That Way: A Memoir.
Supernatural fans can look forward to part two of this interview later this week in which he talks about what’s ahead for Uncle Bobby, but first, BuddyTV spoke to Jim Beaver about his extremely touching new book. In it he shares the nightly e-mails he wrote to friends and family as he spent his final days together with his wife Cecily. She was dying of cancer and they made plans for him to raise their autistic daughter Maddie alone. The book is full of stories about Jim’s time on Supernatural and Deadwood but at the heart of it, Life’s That Way is a story about enjoying what you have before it’s too late.
We spoke with Jim earlier today about his process in writing the new book and about what he learned from his journey, first with Cecily and Maddie and then alone but surrounded by supportive fans.
Hi, this is John from BuddyTV and I’m talking with Jim Beaver, star of Supernatural, Harper’s Island and author of a new personal memoir Life’s That Way. How’s it going?
It’s going great, John.
I want to start with this book – a personal memoir, a collection of your daily emails during your wife’s battle with cancer; and I’m wondering what made now the right time for you to publish this collection.
Well, there wasn’t anything really about now – Spring of 2009 – that was particularly right. It’s actually something that I started looking towards [publishing] back in 2006, 2007. You know, it takes a while to make one of these things, especially when you keep dropping the project to go off and do TV shows. On the other hand this is the fifth anniversary of those events so it ended up being sort of coincidentally fitting. But this wasn’t a recent decision.
When you were going through and collecting all of these emails that you had written, had you gone over them before or was going through them again almost [a discovery of] new things about yourself?
I think you really hit there with the latter. I had, for the most part, not gone back and looked at any of this stuff since I had finished that year of email journaling. Yeah, it was – especially in the early days of trying to get it together, even to present to an agent or a publisher – it was very difficult to go back over it, to be reminded of some of the worst of times. And yet at the same time I was blessed to be reminded of some really wonderful experiences that happened during that period. And then, of course, in the process of turning anything like this into a book you go over it, and over it, and over it, and over it. It was almost an emotional experience. I guess I got used to it a little bit. I’ve had a book or two prior to this but none of them were personal so I’d never had that experience of it being difficult to go through the material.
What has been the reaction from the people reading it?
So far the reaction I’ve seen has been extraordinary. I’m very gratified by it, very flattered and very touched. An awful lot of people have told me that they were able to relate to things in the book because of circumstances in their own lives and I found many of their stories very touching; and it really is a thrill to me to feel like even in some small way I’ve been able to say something that helps someone else out in a particular situation. What transpired with my family was in large part fairly awful. To be able to take something like that and make something small that is good out of it is very rewarding. It takes a lot of the despair out of a loss to feel that you can regenerate something good out of it.
We asked our fans at BuddyTV – all the Supernatural fans – to submit questions for you. Quite a few of them were actually about the book. A lot of people are talking about how much they love the book, and how they’re buying it for all of their friends and family and giving it out.
That’s very flattering.
One of the fans, Erin, wanted to know, if there was only one lesson what’s the most important lesson you would want people to take away after reading this book.
I think that the most important lesson would be to share your life, and I mean that in two ways. Relish the opportunities to share your life with the people you love because you never know when those people will be taken from you. And also, if you’ve suffered a great loss please don’t keep it to yourself. Please don’t feel you have to suffer in silence. Sharing my grief with family and friends and even the strangers was, it turns out, one of the great blessings of my life because people rallied around to hold me up, and I’ve found that that’s what good people do, and there’s an awful lot of good people out there.
Later in the week we’ll share part two of our conversation with Jim, in which he talks about his role as Bobby Singer on Supernatural.
-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Staff Writer
(Image courtesy of The CW)