A couple of months ago, I met Tom Wilson II, author and Ziggy creator, at a huge, local book event. He was there promoting his memoir, Zig Zagging, Loving Madly, Losing Badly. How Ziggy Saved My Life.
I was struck by Tom’s genuine humility, kindness and compassion, which I believe shines through his book. I spoke with Tom last week about Zig Zagging and his quest to raise $1 million to fight cancer. Through Jan. 19, Tom is donating 100 percent of his royalties to LiveStrong in memory of his wife Susan:
The book was cathartic for me because I was able to see in real-time how, over time, my mindset changed about my grief. Instead of seeing it as a negative thing, an extension of cancer, I saw it as an opportunity to heal. It was a lengthy process, but it was that mindset that got me through it.
I continued to do Ziggy every day after Susan’s passing. It was and continues to be my job. I realized that Ziggy was one of my tools to deal with my grief. Ziggy deals with life’s challenges thrown on him every day, and he keeps going. He’s become iconic and inspirational for that reason.
I started looking at lessons and support from Ziggy. I realized I had a lot of that perserverance inside myself because it was reflected in what I created. It wasn’t just Ziggy himself; it was the lessons that came from my life with the character, be it with my father or other situations. It became a way of leading me back into life.
I never intended to show the book to anyone because it came out of things that were very personal and raw. In hindsight, it’s that rawness that has translated to other people and helped them. I’ve received a lot of letters from readers speaking to that. It doesn’t show me in the best light at the time, but it was real and how things were then.
When you’re going through a crisis, you feel very alone. I would have loved to be able to buy my book then, and open it up and say, “I had the same experience as this guy, and he got through it. So can I.”