Mapping Fairhope: Legends, Locals, and Landmarks, is now on sale. Mapping Fairhope is a collection of my Fairhope Living magazine articles that you can purchase locally and online. I’ve teamed up with some local nonprofits who will benefit from the sale of my book.
The book launch/fundraising event for the Fairhope Public Library is Sunday, November 6, at 2 PM. All the proceeds from the sale of each book, which costs $20.00, will be donated to the Friends of the Fairhope Public Library. Can’t make it to the event? That’s okay, the book will be for sale in the Friends bookstore with all proceeds benefiting the Friends nonprofit.
Mapping Fairhope is also for sale locally at Page and Palette. I will be signing books there on Friday, November 11, from 3-5 pm. Or stop by Page and Palette for the Holiday Open House the afternoon of Sunday, November 20.
Other local retailers, including Tom Jones Pottery in Clay City, will have the book for sale soon.
Not in Fairhope? I got you blueprinted…I mean covered. Purchase the book online.
November already booked?
Mark your calendar for the second fund-raising event at the Eastern Shore Art Center on Saturday December 3, at 1 PM. This will be a panel discussion titled, “Mapping Fairhope: The Intersections of Fairhope Art and History.”
Finally, I will be raising funds during an event at the Fairhope Museum of History on Saturday December 10 at 1 PM to benefit the Friends of the Museum.
Books will be sold in the gift shop in the art center and museum after each event, with all proceeds benefiting the respective nonprofits.
I look forward to seeing you at one of these upcoming book events!
It’s been a week for books! The first book arrived in the mail, a thank you for blurbing a friend’s book. Kathie Farnell asked me to say some kind words for the back cover of her book, Tie dyed: Avoiding Aquarius. Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed her first book, Duck and Cover: A Nuclear Family, the sequel, I can honestly say is better than the original.
A day later, my order of Clay City Tile books arrived. Just in time to restock Page and Palette, our local bookstore. Finally up to date on their accounts, they are now, happily, paying us when we drop books off, instead of after they’ve sold through the consigned copies.
I met with Jason Fisher the following day. He’s a kind soul, full of care and compassion, and a newly minted author. His new book, To Where You Are was published last month. I interviewed him for Fairhope Living magazine at Provision in downtown Fairhope. The young woman at the counter overheard Jason talking about his daughter, who has autism. As someone with autism, the Provision hostess offered to answer any questions we had, which was very kind and unexpected.
The next day, in a serendipitous connection, I unboxed a book at the Austin Meadows Library, located on the Bay Minette campus of Coastal Alabama Community College. I’m filling in on that campus due to several retirements, including my former boss. Long story short, some new books arrived already cataloged courtesy of Kim in Brewton and were ready to be shelved. The one that struck me, after having met Jason and the young woman at Provision was The Boy Who Felt Too Much: How a Renowned Neuroscientist and His Son Changed Our View of Autism Forever, by Lorenz Wagner. After I read that people with autism “don’t feel too little; they feel too much,” I was intrigued.
I just finished reading All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days: The True Story of the American Woman at the Heart of the German Resistance to Hitler. The American woman is Mildred Fish Harnack. You should read this book! Although it is history, it is written in the present tense. Let that settle in…History, not written in the past tense. Many publishers declined it for this reason, but you’ll see that Donner is closely connected to Mildred and I am glad she stuck to her principles and found an agreeable publisher. Donner’s book of narrative nonfiction is compellingly crafted and very relevant.
I have a book deal! My co-author and I will be working on a Fairhope history book this year and it will published, hopefully, in the fall of 2023. It’s a long way off! I’ll keep you posted here at Stump the Librarian. In the meantime, keep reading Fairhope Living.
These are my favorites from 2021! Buy a copy or check them out at your local public library.
Saving Bay Haven: A Charming Town with a Dirty Secret, Karyn Tunks Wayfaring Stranger, James Lee Burke Jubilee Sunset Romance, Deborah McDonald Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey Seek You: A Journey Through American Loneliness, Kristen Radtke
Leg Stories We went to visit Greg and Pam, my former reference desk mate, in Tennessee. We checked out their new home overlooking Norris Lake and took in the sights. The weather wasn’t all that great, but we spent a little time outside and inside. The Museum of Appalachia is well worth your time and money. John Rice Irwin started the museum. Most of the text is told in the first person by JRI himself, or as told to him by the original owner of the item. Mr. Irwin didn’t just collect stuff, he collected stories, and once people knew what he was doing they donated things to him, like coffins, entire buildings, peg legs, traveling cart and soooo much more. It’s nicknamed “A Living Mountain Village” for good reason.
If you ever find yourself northwest of Knoxville, Tennessee or near the Cumberland Gap, the building and grounds (including the Popcorn Sutton Whiskey Still) of John Rice Irvine’s Museum of Appalachia is a must see.
Although, I have not lost my curiosity, *@$!&%’ COVID scared it some. So, what’s with the symbols instead of the swear? It’s got a name. It’s called a grawlix. The word was coined by Mort Walker, creator of the Beatle Bailey cartoon. Every darn spell checker turns it red, so I’m happy to have something the computers don’t have a clue about how to autocorrect.
On the subject of humans and computers, I’ve heard told we don’t always gee haw. Yeah, I learned this southernism from Art, our local planner, and yes, it means get along. Right is Gee, and Haw is left, and there’s some mule from 135 years ago who didn’t hear nothing, and so farmers started saying, “Me and this mule just can’t gee haw.”
As for the writing, the Birmingham Arts Journalpublished my essay, “The Flo of Old Fairhope” in August. If you just read it, and you live locally, you’ll realize that I have to rewrite the ending. Maybe to the tune of “Another One Bites the Dust.”
Libraries: Culture, History and Society just published my essay, “In a Foot of COVID-19 Clay Are the Feats of Library Writing Communities.”
I’ve been happily cranking out copy for Fairhope Living magazine. The October issue has the historic hotels of Fairhope’s past. It was a cool article to write, similar format to the street history. Also enjoyed getting to know Jenny Resmondo of South Alabama Physiotherapy. November has the Gaston and Mershon family history and a home on Coleman Avenue. December has a story of how a pole barn becomes a retirement home and the Knoll Park Christmas tradition.
Hope everyone’s alright out there. Stay curious and keep creating. At this blogging rate, the best of 2021 list will be next. Happy Halloween.
I have been moving some prosthetic leg parts around my garage for over a decade. I have donated many legs to Limbs for Life, but I found myself not willing to let go of some of them. Until now! A few weeks ago, I reached out to Bruce Larsen, a Fairhope sculptor and Hollywood special effects guy. My friend Wayne Miller told me Bruce presented at a recent Fairhope Single Tax Corporation meeting about a work of art he would create if commissioned to do so. Bruce had the idea to source local objects for the new piece. From there, it was an easy decision to give my leg parts to Bruce. When he came by to pick it up, he snapped this picture of me. The box includes sockets, liners, feet, carbon fiber, silicone liners, resin epoxy, titanium hardware. I even threw in some electronics, a vacuum system called V-Hold made by Hanger, which pulled air out of the socket to keep my stump securely in the socket. I told Bruce a few stories about the legs and a particular foot made by College Park. I was impressed when he said he catalogs all the items he finds or is given. He didn’t say where, how, or if the parts would be used, and honestly I didn’t expect him to. We agreed to stay in touch, and one day, I’ll hear from him and learn where my parts went. I’m always amazed at where life takes me and my prosthetic legs. Now I’m looking forward to finding out where the parts take the artist.
Want to go for a Walk?
Have you Seen it?
My photo of Cecil Christenberry’s old Chevy is in the latest issue of Fairhope Living. Lots of cool treats in our July edition!
Are you Magnet-ic?
Check out the latest Clay City Tile post! The latest blog, thanks to Parker Gray and his amazing family collection, is a treasure trove of historic documents and images of Fairhope’s Magnet Theater (burned, 2010). The post has some fantastic images of the 1924 theater, including the building’s blueprints, snapshots taken during construction, and more!
On the heels of the April walking tours, I’ve finally started Fairhope by Foot! Beginning in May, I will be leading walking tours for small groups of tourists and locals who are interested in learning more about Fairhope’s unique past. I’m just beginning, but my word of mouth marketing plan is working. I booked my first tour this week! Some bank executives conferencing here wanted a fun afternoon outing.
The May issue is due any day now. Click or tap the logo above. Read the magazine in your browser or download the magazine to your device.
So stoked about leading another creative writing workshop at the Eastern Shore Art Center on Saturday, May 15, from 10 am to 2 pm. All the details are here. Also, be on the lookout for my first Creative Writing Camp for Kids at the Eastern Shore Art Center this summer.
Now that we are well into the new year, I’m posting my best of 2020. It’s a short list. The best book of 2020 is a fellow Pensters Writing Group member.
Looking for a sweeping generational women’s epic written in verse by a woman? Little Gears of Time, by Susan Martinello is a literary tour de force, an epic of the American story from a woman’s perspective. Based on Martinello’s family, it is Homerian in its breadth and language and is an odyssey of mothers and daughters spanning many generations and taking place between continents and across oceans.
With family trees, maps, and illustrations as our guides, Martinello tightly winds mothers and daughters using personification, letters, history and memoir with a watch, an artifact that comes to represent oppression, imagination and identity.
In Martinello’s exquisite and affective poems we embrace, are emboldened and empathize with these women. As with other great epic’s the world is a stage and as the characters and their experiences play out Martinello’s writing leaves readers yearning for more.
And of course in a special category is Stump’s Favorite Amputee book.
The Elephant’s New Shoe: A True Rescue Story, by Laurel Neme, Illustrated by Ariel Landy, Foreword by Nick Marx
You probably didn’t even notice, but I’ve deleted my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. This is not political. It’ personal. I don’t like calling it a New Year’s resolution, but after deactivating several times last year and not missing it or the anxiety that goes along with it, I’ve deleted the accounts. Hopefully, it will work as well as last year’s food choices. Except for a few weak moments during the pandemic and after the hurricanes, we have been able to stick with and really embrace our new menus. As Sue says, “If it walks on land we don’t eat it.” Even though I’m no longer on social media I’d love to hear from you. Send me an email, Want to talk? I’m not hard to find online or in person. Feel free to share my writing with your followers. Instead of posting on social media, I typed a thank you note to the mayor. On paper. Using my Royal Quiet De Luxe typewriter. I put it in an envelope, slapped a stamp on it and put it in the mail. I will be doing more of it in 2021.
Career-wise, I’m still working at Coastal Alabama Community College and writing for the monthly community magazine, Fairhope Living. I’m thankful to serve students face-to-face and glad to have the opportunity to write about my home town.
Today is the second anniversary of my brother Steve’s death. It’s rare that a day goes by that I don’t think about him. Here’s to Steve. Nostrovia! To your Health in 2021.