Do You Create Outside?

Sometimes when the world is moving too fast, I like to take a class. The best kind are outside. I headed to Blakeley State Park for a nature journal-keeping class with Nancy Milford.

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Nancy gave a wonderful overview on the history, science, and art of field sketching. She also included several handouts with fantastic tips for how to get started, including some simple sketching techniques. As a journal-keeper, the idea of adding drawings to my journals fascinated me. It was also intimidating. That is until Nancy said, “Don’t judge yourself on your drawing.” For some reason, that set me free to experiment.

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I found myself in the zone, that place where you’re creating and time slips by quickly. I started with some words, location, date, then I started drawing. When I was sketching, I tried to enter the landscape. The drawing is my interpretation of the experience.

As you can see below, I was joined by some very talented people.

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I’ll continue to be a journal keeper because that’s what I do. I bring a journal with me wherever I go. Thanks to Nancy, I’ll be drawing some field sketches too.

 

Stump Gets Reviewed in Amplitude

So excited to see a review of Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs!

Check out the review at Amplitude, an online and print magazine with the tagline “Powerful, Practical, and Positive Living with Limb Loss.”

Click on the cover below to see Amplitude magazine’s home page, which includes a PDF of the current January/February 2019 issue. The review is on page 7.

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I sent out advanced copies of my book to several amputee related publications for reviews. Whatever your subject, find publications on that subject. Submit your book. Also, if you’ve read my book, please post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. A few honest words would be appreciated. Just click on the respective logo on the right. If you have already reviewed it, thank you.

In other book news, I found the children’s picture book Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, by Jessica Kensky Patrick Downes, and illustrated by Scott Magoon, in Amplitude magazine. It just won the Schneider Family Book Award, the American Library Association’s best book for young children with a disability experience. It was included in my Best of 2018 list.

 

Stump’s Best of 2018

Here’s the best of 2018! By category, only one winner per category, no runner ups, no honorable mentions, no blah blah blah. I’ve culled the list from 427 articles, 119 Youtube videos, 67 books, and 41 movies. Unlike many other best of’s on the internet, I’ve actually read, watched, or listened to the media that tops my list. Enjoy and Merry New Year!

Books

Books by an Amputee

Stump the Librarian: A Writer’s Book of Legs (I’m rather biased, it’s mine!)

Rescue and Jessica: A Life-Changing Friendship, by Jessica Kensky, Patrick Downes, illustrated by Scott Magoon

Nonfiction

The Mirage Factory: Illusion, Imagination, and the Invention of Los Angeles, Gary Krist

Fiction

Ready Player One, Ernest Kline (A PBS Great American Read)

Pictorial Works

Journey: An Illustrated History of Travel, Simon Adams

Children’s Picture Book

Her Right Foot, Dave Eggers, Art by Shaun Harris

Career

22 Things to do After Work

Chart

Monopolies

Christmas Song

Merry Christmas from the Family by Robert Earl Keene

Conversation

If you hate Small Talk

Crime

Convicted killer confesses to 90 murders

Generation Gap

Which Generation Are You In?

Language

Emma Stone learns British slang from Rachel Weisz

Shark attack Cape Cod

Also a language lesson to everyone not living on Cape Cod. It’s an island, so it’s “on Cape Cod” not as this headline reads “in Cape Cod.” It’s like when when people call the Gulf of Mexico, the ocean. Sorry, rant over.

Long Form Journalism

Map (Interactive)

Medieval London’s Bloody Murders

Mental Health

Anxiety

Movies

Documentary

Tower

Biopic

The Disaster Artist

Comedy

We’re the Millers

Music

Beat Root Revival, Live At the Saxon Pub in Austin, Texas

Sports Writing

Bill Belichick and Nick Saban Friendship

Social Media

Teens Desert Social Media

Television-Series

Big Little Lies

Travel

Travel is No Cure for the Mind

Truck Drivers

Shortage

Weeds

Weedkiller

Weed

Thanks for reading, watching, and listening.

Best Mail

Jump over to my personal page to learn more about the best Christmas present!

 

 

Are you Thankful?

This past month I’ve been on an incredible journey. Here’s a few photos from Stump the Librarian‘s book stops. Thanks for supporting a local author and your hometown librarian.

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I was in great company at my Page and Palette book signing. Frye Gaillard (A Hard Rain), political cartoonist, JD Crowe (Half-Thunk Thoughts), and The Grinch!

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The event at Barnes & Noble in Spanish Fort on the 28th was special too. The Brewster family came by and so did a former co-worker and now Spanish Fort Public Library Librarian Zach Basler.

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Sue’s always by my side, em well, except when The Grinch is around.

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On Thursday, I talked about leg stories and leg history at the “Tea for Two” program at the Fairhope Museum of History. Director Phillip Bolin and Special Projects Assistant Darby Wiik were gracious hosts. The audience had lots of questions, which I love because, questions usually turn into conversations.

Enjoy the holiday season and check my author site to find out where I’ll be signing and telling leg stories next. Thanks for reading Stump the Librarian.

Until then, want to know where you would be cataloged in the Dewey Decimal System?

Take this quiz at Spacefem. It’s fun! You can find Stump the Librarian in Biography, but here’s my nonfiction section. The “What it says part about you” is surprisingly true.

Alan Samry’s Dewey Decimal Section:

997 Atlantic Ocean islands

Alan Samry = 121491385 = 121+491+385 = 997

Class:
900 History & Geography

Contains:
Travel, biographies, ancient history, and histories of continents.

What it says about you:
You’re connected to your past and value the things that have happened to you. You’ve had some conflicted times in your life, but they’ve brought you to where you are today and you don’t ignore it.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

 

What Happened at the Launch Party

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.

IMG_2425 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.”

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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.

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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.

Signing

My sister Laurie surprised me! She came down from Massachusetts to celebrate.

IMG_2441 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).

Afterward

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.

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I was giddy bringing my books into Page and Palette and talking with Stacy and Leigh.

On Sale Now!

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Click on the photo or here to buy the print book from Amazon.

Also available as a Kindle Book.

What are People Saying?

Alan Samry’s kaleidoscopic book, Stump the Librarian is at once a glorious compendium of quick biographies of one-legged individuals, a moving memoir, a fascinating history of amputations and prostheses, and a medical investigation of the congenital anomaly that left the author with a disability at birth.  Samry, a librarian in Fairhope, Alabama, takes joy in the quest for answers and pursues information with the sublime sense of mission that the best librarians possess.  With clarity, candor, and a down-to-earth directness, he takes us with him:  fascinated, outraged, horrified, thrilled, and ever curious about a world populated—and profoundly changed—by those who not only get by on a single leg but stand far more firmly than many people with two. Samry weaves poignant personal recollection through his tapestry of information, making Stump the Librarian a must read.

Molly Peacock, author of The Analyst and The Paper Garden 

Alan Samry takes readers on his personal journey of curiosity, humor and exploration. In an unlikely narrative readers learn about Alan’s life as a congenital below-knee amputee.  In a very delightful and provocative manner, Alan relates his personal memoirs and shares historical and imagined characters who are like-amputees. Alan’s writing style is fascinatingly varied, and insightful into his own self-discovery.  He shares intimate details that enable readers to appreciate his story and perspective. This book is a celebration of Alan – his person, determination, and his insatiable desire for truth.

—Tamara Dean, Director, Fairhope Public Library