Updated: Feb 18, 2019
It's madly off in all directions or, more precisely, I head on my book tour in the next few weeks to Collingwood, North Bay, Sudbury, London, St. Thomas and California. Where are my shorts?
Dundurn Press released Soar, Adam, Soar Feb. 2. Then, my co-author and agent son, Adam, took over.
Who could have predicted that, in two weeks, Dundurn would order a second printing. Soar, Adam, Soar is an official Dundurn and Amazon Canada best-seller, the latter in its transgender section. CBC Books gave the story two huge assists, listing Soar, Adam, Soar #2 in its February "can't wait to read"eight books and #3 (of 19) on its Spring 2019 Non-Fiction recommendations.
BookList, the go-to review site for American libraries and book clubs, said this: "Rick Prashaw, Adam's father, celebrates life in this moving memoir – joined, in a sense, by Adam himself, whose musings and social-media posts enrich the narrative. The result is both specific and universal.”
Let's not forget the blessing of "Ken from Orillia", who early in Rita Celli's Ontario Today program Feb. 8 called in to politely damn Adam and I to hell. "In the Bible" were his first few words. I listened patiently and suggested instead of damnation a long coffee, with both sides talking AND listening; however, I did note the Old testament was a prelude on Jesus' full face of God's love and non-judgment. Ken was a "God-send", literally I think. His early call prompted an outpouring of love, including several parents of trans kids and others transitioning themselves, some of whom found positives in their faith communities.
Ontario Today is a secular program but either Ken or the "Father Rick to Adam's Dad" frame became the story. A Muslim caller near the end shared a remarkable picture of God's love for all. Celli insightfully framed the "two transitions" she wanted callers to ask about --- Adam's coming home to the "boy in the mirror" and my transition from a Catholic priest to the proud father of a transgendered son.
For this 67-year-old new author, with the book finally released, it's starting off as a fun, fulfilling new rollercoaster ride with my son. A new calling, I suspect, advocacy work in gender identity equality for all and organ donor registration. As a kid, Adam liked nothing better than getting Dad on a rollercoaster to laugh at my 2.5-minute scream. Well, Adam's life and my parenting felt like a 22.5-year ride; cue more screams. Now, our ride together continues.
As much as I knew about the writing and editing side of being an author, it's the surprise of the sweet, personal conversations I am having at the book launches (Ottawa Museum of Nature Feb. 7th where Adam worked and Glad Day Bookshop in Toronto Feb. 13) along with intimate emails from friends and strangers alike sharing what this book means to them. A young man in Prince Edward County says Adam's story, his post-death still living messages, tames his fears of death just a little. A 80-year-old woman in Virginia thanks Adam for reminding her about how fun and full life can be, when we choose to live it. A young man in London emails that Adam aced his final and ultimate report card on life. " ...
I know what it feels like to not have the answers as Adam must have felt, as we all feel at certain points in our own lives. That said, Adam passed many tests with flying colours! The truly important tests of life. The tests that can make people cower and run at times. Following ones heart and being true to yourself is one, if not the most important test of all. Adam passed this test with exception. I would even argue that he rewrote the rubric for others to refer to on how one needs to fulfill the necessary requirements to pass...."
Like most of you in this "Mother of all winters" in Canada, I am peeking over the snow banks, preparing my own escape. I will join film-maker, Andrew Dickhout, and several of his crew with Andrew's cousin and Adam's heart recipient, John Dickhout, and wife, Lynn, for the premiere of "A Racing heart" at the 25th San Luis Obispo International Film Festival in California March 12-17. The short doc captures John's post-transplant race in Kanata here in Ottawa. The U.S. release of Soar, Adam, Soar is Feb. 26 so there will be joint film and book events there.
There's urgent work to do. Today, I learned of another youth taking his life. At the Toronto launch, an advocate spoke of the enormous reduction in suicides or attempts when parents are on their kid's side. Fears, questions, wondering are all okay; love is the place to be. On the organ donor side, I am speaking plainly. 90 per cent of people support organ donation. The registration rate though is less than one in three in many jurisdictions. We will line up all night for a new phone that will die in six months but we don't have two minutes to beadonor.ca.
My web site, www.rickprashaw.com, and Facebook author page are where you will see the places the tour goes. More pictures from each vent will be uploaded there. I welcome your comments below. Where are you buying? What do you think? Any questions, wondering, need to know? My heart soars in gratitude for those asking how they might help. Besides reading the book, ask local bookstores to stock. Ask your library to order. (I registered the paperback, e-book and PDF ISBNs with the Canada Arts Council's Public Lending Registration Program. There's modest royalties for authors as they use a formula to determine how many Soar, Adam, Soar books are in libraries. Seeing that you ask, post your thoughts, reviews on Amazon (if you bought there) or on literary sites like Goodreads. (If you know how that's done, please do tell everyone below).
I am heading home to so many places soon. I was born and later did theological studies in London, Ontario (Feb. 28). I grew up, went to school and served as a priest in North Bay, Ontario (Feb. 23). I was a priest and later political staff in Sudbury (Feb. 24). And, of course, my Rebecca Adam was born in Sudbury. He came home to himself in Ottawa.