I had a room full of family, friends, patrons, and strangers that are now friends attend the book launch for Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs at Fairhope Public Library. Here’s a few highlights of what happened and some incredible library and amputee related stories that have happened since.
Check out the legs on these cookies!
I mentioned Gouverneur Morris, as a guy who most people don’t know. Morris wrote the final version of the United States Constitution, and single-handedly penned the Preamble. He was considered a ladies man, even with a peg leg in his day. Someone in the audience said something like, “that sounds right.”
“That was not my experience,” I said to a roomful of laughs. “But you’ll read all about that in the book.”
I mentioned a few other leg amputees in the book including Henry Highland Garnet, an African-American Abolitionist, a local man named Bob Youens, Bert Shepard, and a few not in the book like Bill Veeck, and a three-legged cat named Tripod.
John Woods, my publisher at Intellect Publishing, and emcee for the evening suggested I mention being in a movie.
“Good thing Rosalie’s not here, she’s always saying how much I’m milking this movie thing,” I say, turning to the audience.
“I was in a movie with Nicholas Cage!” I said, about my role in the movie USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage about the ship that delivered the atomic bomb in 1945 and was sunk by a Japanese submarine, and more than a thousand sailors lost their lives. I recognized the tragedy, but tried not to dwell on it. The book launch was a celebration, after all.
“I’m in it for about 16 seconds. Look for me in the SPAM scene.”
Hmmm…what would be Stump the Librarian’s favorite part of the night?
The Q and A!
There are many amputees in the book, but one I had not heard of and mentioned by an audience member was Peg Leg Bates. I believe it was Elizabeth, who asked me about the new prosthetic cover I was sporting.
Here’s a picture of me at The Gulf, a restaurant in Orange Beach.
It’s from a Canadian Company called Alleles, and pronounced “all Ls” and they are catching on fast. Mine’s the Future Plaid model in cobalt and silver. They are intended to have results like my book cover, to stand out and hopefully, act as a conversation starter.
What’s amazing is the people who came into my circle while finishing the book that have had a personal impact and connection. Jasmine was that person for me, not only did she do a stupendous job editing my book (all remaining errors are mine), but we learned of our common link through Shriners Hospital. I stressed the importance of Shriners in the book and in my life. After the book launch, I heard from people who have given to Shriners, like my retired coworker Darlene. My being a patient provided a connection with donors who now know someone who directly benefited from services at Shriners.
My sister Laurie surprised me! She came down from Massachusetts to celebrate.
Me with John, Susan, Laurie, and Helen
I personalized books for family, several coworkers, blogging friends, Friends of the Fairhope Library, book club members and a bunch of new friends. Bless everyone for your patience. I’m glad I didn’t look up to the line. I learned that children’s author Karyn Tunks (Mardi Gras in Alabama is available now) has a three-legged cat. I’ve known Karyn for five years and was part of a fantastic blogging group with her and others in attendance, including Lorraine, who gave me a fabulous painted rock of my cover that I’m holding below. read more about it here. Don’t you find it strange that I had to write a book about missing legs before Karyn told me about her three-legged cat Hop Along? (Name changed to protect feline’s privacy).
It’s been one heck of an awesome week. Patrons, some I knew, many I didn’t, came up to the desk to share stories.
“Do you know the man who wears an artificial leg that goes to the Methodist Community Center?” I did not.
Oliver told me about a stray his family adopted. “Skippy was part of the family for five years,” he said. I mentioned Skippy when I signed books for Oliver’s grown children.
My coworker Allyson relayed to me that her friends, whose daughter is an amputee, loved my inscription. Allyson is buying another book to give as a gift for someone she knows from her medieval fair circle.
Also, I learned that Fairhope’s famed storyteller Connie Cazort’s father was an amputee. At the desk in the library she remembered learning new words when she was five. I was alongside her as she told the story and also seemed to teleport into the memory of learning the words “amp-u-ta-shun,” and “art-i-fish-ul leg.”
My coworker Kris told the reference desk staff about 2018’s Hero Dog of the Year. Chichi is a quadruple amputee, apparently some person destined for hell cut off all four of this dog’s legs. Chichi has four new ones, including two front legs with wheels almost like Benito Badoglio. Who’s Benito Badaglio you ask? hehe, wait for it…you have to read my book. bwahahaha! Seriously, if you have an amputee in your life or are caring for someone with a limb difference, please tell them about my book. Let’s keep the conversation going.
Where Can I Buy It?
If you want to buy my book, you can find it online at Amazon (print and e-ink) and Barnes and Noble. You can also get it locally at Page & Palette in Fairhope, where I’ll be chatting with customers and signing books Nov. 18 from 1-5 PM. Soon, Barnes & Noble in Spanish Fort will have it and I’ll be signing books there Nov. 25 from 2-4 PM. Of course, you can also get it directly from the person writing these words.