I'll leave Hoboken Tuesday (November 17) for the launch of my book The Fair Hope of Heaven in paperback. Enterprising readers may have already ordered it from amazon.com in that format, but I held back its general release to the Fairhope reading public until now. It was first published in hard cover in January, and I went to Fairhope at that time to get it into the local indie bookstore. It will retail for a mere $16.95 in paperback, as against $26.95 for the hard cover.
I've written a lot about the book on this blog, and on my other blog "Finding Myself in Hoboken," and on my website. It seems much of my life is devoted--when not finding myself in Hoboken--to finding Fairhope.
Even though the book has the words "fair" and "hope" in the title, I never thought of it as a book about the town of Fairhope until market forces--read that to mean publishers--informed me that it was. I thought it was about the way history and events transform people and places, reflecting on this through my memories of a unique childhood in the kind of nonconformist environment that Fairhope, Alabama, offered in the middle of the 20th Century. I included character sketches of people I knew, thinking for all the world that I had created a new Lake Wobegon Days, and, although knowing it would appeal to others who shared the memories, I felt that my book was universal in scope. Part of me would still like to believe that--but the reaction from publishers was that it was charming but limited to readers in Fairhope. I hope sales of the soft cover may still prove me right.
So I'll get on the plane Tuesday and plan to visit old friends and see the new construction in the town where I spent much of my life. I'll investigate the possibility of taking control of the old family homestead.
My schedule of public appearances include book talks at the Fairhope Museum of History, 2 P.M. Thursday, November 19 and the Marietta Johnson Museum, 2 P.M. Friday November 20, and signing the book at Page & Palette Sunday November 22 (at 2 P.M. also). I'll have Thanksgiving with a couple I've known for at least 60 years, with their friends and relations. I'll see family and classmates and people I worked closely with before I moved to Hoboken in December 2007. I'm no longer distraught at how many of the old building and funky cottages have been destroyed and replaced. Like a newcomer, I'll be refreshed by balmy weather and sunsets on Mobile Bay.
From The Fair Hope of Heaven: "The coastline of Mobile Bay with sunset views is just one part of the equation. Its calming effect cannot be denied, and the transcendent, everlasting quality of that particular body of water and its constant gentle motion is a source of comfort and serenity to all who live anywhere near it."
I look forward to this trip. Indeed I do. I hope I see you there.