Sunday, July 07, 2013

Fairhope From Here

Fairhope is a world away from here, but I'll soon navigate that world and be there.

Where I am, New Paltz, New York, we call it a heat wave if we have three days in a row of temperatures over 90. In Fairhope, we called it summer--and it lasted from the end of May until at least the end of September. It was "cool" if the temperature went below 90. And humidity is another story. Summer is hot everywhere, but with humidity over 75 every day, it swelters in the South in a different way. I wasn't dry until I was in my 20s and moved to Atlanta.

I will spend a week in the heat and humidity of Fairhope, alleviated, I hope, not only by the ubiquity of air conditioning, but also by the joy of seeing old friends and talking with them about my book.   I wrote That Was Tomorrow from the perspective of a young woman who moves to Fairhope from New Jersey in 1921, before there was air conditioning, and she is constantly struck by the oppressive heat and humidity. My daughter, editing and proofreading the final draft, said, "Mom, you use the phrase 'heat and humidity' way too often!" I found ways to change it a few times, but could not imagine someone traveling to Fairhope for the first time--from the Northeast--not being confronted with the phenomenon of the heat/humidity of the region.

This time it's me. I try to restrain myself when people here in New York State complain about humidity. They can't take it. After 19 years back in Fairhope I learned to. I've been away for a couple of years and usually have the sense to return in the winter months. But this is something of a business trip.

That Was Tomorrow is available in paperback, and I'll be in Fairhope from July 15-22 to introduce it to the town where it was born. My schedule is:

2 P.M. July 16 -- Tea at the Fairhope Museum
3 P.M. July 17 -- Book talk at the Marietta Johnson Museum
1 P.M. July 19 -- Book signing at Page & Palette
11 A.M. July 21 -- "Fairhope Then and Now" at Unitarian-Universalist meeting

I can take the heat and humidity--thanks to air conditioning and the purpose of the trip. I hope Fairhope loves my novel as much as it loves Fairhope!

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