Probably have to change that title; I have an oafish friend who takes things literally and will assume this one is nothing but a weather report from Lower Alabama. Sometimes I think he doesn't read beyond the first line anyway; but I shouldn't complain because he's a faithful reader, and I do appreciate those.
Looks like I'm a little dry today, no real inspiration, and here it is a rather sleep-deprived morning so I just thought I'd sit down and see what I could come up with. If you don't post on your blog daily, you might as well not post at all. But things are beginning to happen here in this little parched corner of the South; I met a new lady a couple day before yesterday when sharing a glass of wine with some friends who moved here about a year ago from California. I've said before that the old Fairho's are moving out in droves and I'm coming up short on friends these days. Also that I'm going to have to occupy myself with projects aside from the revival of my old school. I never was a one-trick pony...got to learn a few new tricks.
These new friends have a son who is totally disabled, in a wheelchair observing life very sweetly and requiring constant care. Actually he's her son; the couple have not been married that long; but the husband is very attentive and helpful with the boy.
Well, I'm sitting there with my glass of red wine while Terri is helping Danny to eat and the new lady comes in. Somehow the topic of amateur theatre comes up and I find out that she used to be a choreographer and director of plays at the university level. She is very sophisticated and has a wonderful personality. The four of us start talking about getting involved in theatre and I tell her about my days as founder of the Little Theatre of Geneva and later as the founder of the Equity theatre, Jubilee Fish, locally. I tell her that I hear Theatre 98 will do Hamlet next season and maybe I'll audition for Gertrude. It's all very heady stuff; you get excited when you think about the theatre and you find friends who want to put on a show. I must call my friend Jon and get the three of us together; he's technical and we're not. Her husband, who died just a few months ago, was a set designer.
As I leave I am invited to return Saturday night for Danny's birthday party. He will be 16. I am trying to think of something to bring him.
Then when I get home there is an email from a new reader of the blog asking me if I would be interested in ghost-writing a book for a friend of his who is 88 years old and has a lot of great stories to tell. I email him back yes.
I'm still awaiting response on my second book and it's time to do something different. When We Had the Sky has been submitted to the University of Alabama Press and to River City Publishing in Montgomery. Both wrote nice rejection letters, saying it was an entertaining read, but that its specific focus on Fairhope meant it was not marketable for a commercial or academic publisher. Stuff like that, I don't know exactly why. A rejection is a rejection. Then I called Randall Williams of New South Books, a third publisher in the state. He knew who I was and said he would be interested in reading it, but there was a long line ahead of me. He promised to get to it in "two months or two years." It's been over two months, and since my expectations are low I don't mind him holding onto it while I hold onto hope. If it is rejected a third time I'll have the option of continuing to submit it to other publishers and biding my time with a cat on my head while I wait for an answer -- or publishing it myself for about $5,000. It is money I would probably never make back. I only had to pay about $1,000 for the reprint of Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree, and haven't made that back in the six months it's been in print.
I'm still surprised that my books are just about Fairhope. I thought they were universal social commentaries on the changes in the mid to late 20th Century, reflections on the small town individuality that has been replaced by a corporate, homogenized sterility. I thought that by telling stories of local characters and ideals, I had put my finger on some part of the big picture.
Soon I'll hear about the acceptance or rejection of When We Had the Sky. In the meantime, maybe I'll be in a play or two, or start a new theatre company, or write a book for someone else. The 88-year-old guy called me yesterday and we had a ripping good time on the phone.
You may have heard that we're experiencing a drought in this part of the country. There have been some rumors that it was breaking and that we'd get those famous widely scattered afternoon thunderstorms of Lower Alabama dog days next. Rain has been predicted every day for a week, but all we've had in Fairhope is clouds and one or two droplets. But everything has a way of changing.