I’m Making Plans

        There is an old Vince Gill number from his “Here Today” bluegrass album called “I’m Making Plans.”  I remember it well, ’cause it was one of the first vocal duets I worked up with Darrell.  I remember sitting in the car at the Middle School waiting on my kids (I always picked them up on my day off- it was my only shot at it)  and he and I worked on my part singing while we listened to the cassette player in my old Scout.  (I always made good use of any down time.) 

        Right now I am making a lot of plans, and I wanted to share my direction with you.  To some degree, I’m asking for forgiveness, ’cause I know the next few months are gonna lean more towards the medical.  (Don’t worry though, the music is so intertwined in my life it won’t all be a bore.)

        I am in hard medical study right now, though, and will finish a project called Core Content Review around the first of August.  IMHO (bluegrass for in my humble opinion) this is the premier Family Doc update in the country.  It is hard to read about the differential diagnosis of fever of undetermined etiology by night and not bore you to tears with my writing by day, so if I do that, I hope you will let me know.  (If you don’t my agent will- what a tough cat he is.)

        I guess you might wonder why an old guy like me still reads so hard, and it is just pure old pride and habit.  I want to be my best till the bitter end.  Some prize fighters wait too long, and get in the ring one time too many.  So, I want to leave the fight game when the time is right, but hope everyone will say, “Tommy could have hung in there a few more rounds, I know he coulda.”  So I study on.  I guess I don’t want the young folks to get ahead of me.  Like Satchel Paige said, “Don’t look over your shoulder, someone might be gaining on you.”

        That ain’t the end of my plans, though.  After August, I’m gonna reverse field.  Oh, I’ll study every day, but I’m gonna change my mix.  It’ll be a half hour on the mandolin, one hour on the Doctor books, and three at the keyboard.  (About the opposite of my current routine.)  Come Jan. 1, 2009, I plan to have the first rough draft of my book to my agent.  He says if I am lucky, it might see the light of day eighteen months later.

        Now, I have no illusions.  I did two bluegrass CDs.  They were both an artistic success, and even sold a few thousand copies.  One of our boys was disappointed, but the lady we worked with in Nashville put it in perspective in a hurry.  She’d seen many of these self-titled released piled up for all time in a closet.  To make a profit is a small phenomenon.

        By the same token, I have similar aspirations for my books.  If they are an artistic success, ie if I get to say what I set out to say, and the first one sells well enough to interest my agent in a second project, they by definition are a success to me.  I know I ain’t the next Grisham, and I’d be lost in New York (can you imagine Tommy Bibey on Oprah?  I’ll never be on that kind of radar screen.)  So, I’ll just have to be what I am.  I do worry a bit about how well received they might not be.  But, I have no interest to modify what I want to say just to appeal to pop culture and try to sell a bunch of extra copies. 

        Still, I hold on to hope.  I want to write to let folks without a medical background in on what I believe to be the truth about modern medical practice.  And I want to let people inside the world of bluegrass music I love so. 

        I realize it will not appeal to all.  As far as the power players in the medical industry, it will even invoke some anger, and I wonder at times if they will want it banned!  On the other hand, I have found my readers to be a bright, inquisitive lot.  My agent always says to trust your readers; they are out there, so I’m gonna do just that.

        Well, now y’all know I’m making plans.  If I get published, I hope you’ll tell your friends and neighbors to buy a copy- a run of 2,000 or so will convince my agent to try again, and I have a series of three planned.  For now, though, I gotta go back to studying doctoring.  Someone might be gaining on me, and I ain’t looking back except to tell all the old war stories I’ve accumulated from a lifetime in the ring.

        Y’all wish me luck.  I’m gonna need it. 

Dr. B    

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14 Comments on “I’m Making Plans”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    Good luck, Dr. B. As you know, I’m writing a book too. I like your plan. It makes a lot more sense than my plan. And I’d be honored to buy your book, but I’d prefer one with an autograph by the author. 🙂

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Good luck to you too Ms. Pande, and I want an autographed copy of yours also.

    Dr. B

  3. mrschili Says:

    I don’t think you’re going to need much luck, Doc. Luck is what people without skill must rely on…

    Speaking as a teacher of writing, I’m going to tell you what I told my composition students this term; yes, it’s important to know who your audience is and to keep them in mind as you write. It’s MORE important, though, to write what YOU need to say. Everyone is going to come to your writing with a different set of experiences and beliefs. Your writing is either going to click with them or not, and there’s absolutely zero you can do about that. Write what you need to write, and don’t worry about catering your message or your language to everyone. You can’t reach everyone – no one can – so it’s best to just be true to yourself.

    *climbing off teacher podium now…*

  4. drtombibey Says:

    I agree mrschili. I can only write about Tommy Bibey- he’s the only guy I know well.

    Dr. B

  5. Ted Lehmann Says:

    And here we are, your on-line community, ready to give you feedback, listen to your progress, and delight in your successes. A woman on the Tavis Smiley Show on XMPR this morning talked about what success means. She’s an owner of several radio stations who worked her way from single motherhood in the projects to wealth and what sure looks like success. She commented that she can’t claim success until her life’s work is totaled up. Then, if the folks she affected in a positive way can be said to outnumber those she didn’t have such a positive effect on, she allowed as how she’d be a success. Between your medical practice and your bluegrass friends, it sure sounds like you’re staying pretty much on the plus side already. You never know for sure until it’s all over. – The English Professor (Ted)

  6. drtombibey Says:


    I just hope when it is all over, I can look St. Peter in the eye and say I wasn’t perfect, but I gave it the best I had and did not waste whatever talents the Good Lord bestowed on me, humble though they may be.

    Dr. B

  7. Fran Rizer Says:

    Hi Dr. Tom Bibey,
    Recently discovered your blog and have been enjoying what you say. Let me encourage you with your book. I’d always dreamed (or planned) to write a book. Meanwhile, I wrote bluegrass songs and had several articles published in Bluegrass Unlimited and Bluegrass Now.
    When I retired from teaching, I wrote my first novel and was fortunate enough to have an agent pitch it to Berkley Prime Crime, a division of Penguin USA. The first book, a mystery, did well, and the second one has just been released. Hey Diddle, Diddle, the Corpse & the Fiddle is a mystery that takes place at a bluegrass festival on an island off the coast of South Carolina. It was loads of fun to write and the response has been great. It’s written to entertain and give an occasional chuckle and a few belly laughs — but not AT bluegrass.
    No, this isn’t a pitch to sell my book (though that would be nice; numbers count), but to encourage you to follow your plan and not put your dreams off until retirement.
    I wish I’d done it twenty years ago.
    Keep up the great blog,
    Fran Rizer

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Hey Fran,

    I agree, I try to live the dream every day. My perfect day is to see my favorite patients till noon, play golf till dark, pick music till 2:00 am, then write about it for an hour or two. I haven’t got the balance just right yet, but a work in progress beats not trying, huh?

    Thanks for dropping in. You are already famous kid, ’cause I’ve heard of you in the bluegrass world.

    It is fine with me to put in a plug for you. Where can we get your book?

    Dr. B

  9. virtualnexus Says:

    Many thanks for your well-tuned comment on mine. I’m also on blogger where some of the social blogs can get overwhelmed with comments at times. Great stimulus, but can be demanding keeping up.

    All the best with your book. I wrote a WW2 Veteran memoir a few years back for RAF charities; sold out the first modest privately published print run – then after it had all gone quiet, the (British) BBC picked it up off the net and based part of a documentary on it. You just never know when something is going to make a hit these days!

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Now that inspires me! Who knows? I just hope to get published, but you gotta dream, huh?

    Maybe me and my boys will wind up like Buck Owens in the song the Beatles covered, “Act Naturally.”

    The words went:

    “They’re gonna put me in the movies
    They’re gonna make a big star out of me
    The biggest fool that ever hit the big time
    And all you gotta do is
    Act Naturally.”

    I heard the Beatles version first. It changed my life. My parents worried over it. “I’m afraid he is going to become one of those Beatles,” they’d say.

    I had the haircut, and I could play a little, but a bum singing voice ended all that pretty quick.

    It ended up a blessing; I’ve enjoyed being a Doc, but the whole experience left me somewhat of a dreamer. When my young patients tell me they don’t know what they want to be when they grow up, I tell them I wanted to be a rock star but it didn’t work out. They always laugh (it is truly a preposterous notion) and feel better about life being so uncertain.

    Dr. B

  11. rekx Says:

    Good luck Dr. B!!!

  12. drtombibey Says:

    Thanks rekx,

    To drop a hint the book is about medicine and bluegrass music. Who’d a-thunk it?!

    I can’t decide whether to make the hero the mandolin player or the banjo man.

    Dr. B

  13. amberfireinus Says:

    I love the fact that you are a Musician/Doctor/Writer. Music is so important to the soul. Music can even be healing, so I can see the symmetry there. Writing has its own cathartic healing and gives one perspective.

    I am glad that you fill your soul with this. Im sure it makes you a way more compassionate doctor. So many lose that ability.

    Do you have any of your music online? I would love to listen as I am a singer….

  14. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Amber,

    I need to put some online- my CDs are out of print.

    The question has come up several times now, and I plan to record for the blog or a short (3-4 song) sampler to accompany my book when it comes out. (Probably both)

    My agent says to listen to your readers for ideas, and this is one I plan to follow thru on.

    With all the bad things we see in medicine- cancer, deaths of your favorite patients etc. it can be tough. Music is how I cope with it all.

    Dr. B

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