August 9, 2008
This blog was created to draw attention to a book I'd written about Fairhope which I thought related to the world at large. Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree was just printed and I'd put up a website to promote it. A few visit the web page every day, and even now a few come here having seen it. If you haven't yet visited the site, all you have to do is click on those blue words and read more about me and my book than you ever dreamed you wanted to know.
Although this blog came to discuss life in general, philosophy, art, love, and the afterlife, I still plug the book from time to time, and spend what time I do here writing about the Fairhope in my mind. My own life is unfolding its chapters in Hoboken, New Jersey, and I have a very active blog detailing my adventures there. Check it out!
In the meantime, also mentioned at length on this blog, I had written a second book about Fairhope called When We Had the Sky. Where Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree was a memoir of people I'd known in the 1950s in Fairhope, When We Had the Sky goes back in time to chronicle the Fairhope's founding days in which its visitors included Clarence Darrow and Upton Sinclair. It expands the first book and continues with memorabilia from Fairhope's past.
Not able to find a publisher for When We Had the Sky (it got super rejection notices from the University of Alabama Press and River City Publishing -- both suggesting it was an excellent book but that there would not be enough of a market for "another book about Fairhope" for them to put money into printing it) I let it go for a couple of years.
Then I moved to New Jersey and read a book called Utopia, New Jersey, which inspired me to combine the two books and put the story of Fairhope into the context of the spate of utopian communities that spawned it. I omitted the contributions of Robert E. Bell, who collaborated on Meet Me at the Butterfly Tree, wrote a new chapter on the Fairhope's utopian origins, and selected a few of the favorite other character sketches, put it together with When We Had the Sky, and have come up with a NEW BOOK.
I'm working with an online publisher with whom I'm working to get the book for sale in store -- and online, of course -- in time for Christmas.
Watch the Fairhope papers, y'all, for news of the new book. It will be entitled The Fair Hope of Heaven/A Hundred Years after Utopia, and will be bigger and far better than the sum of its parts, which is to say better than either of the other books. I guess it won't be better than both, but it will be better than either.
I'll be in Fairhope to hold booksignings, I hope in November. I look forward to seeing you then.