Updated: Jan 10, 2020
Happy New Year, everyone! We can all claim 2020 vision once again. This blog captures some of the crazy, good and inspiring book tour experiences since Soar, Adam, Soar was published last February. Enjoy!
PEMBROKE - Jamie Hawes is this sweet, energetic 20-something, director of Pembroke Pride meeting me at Blendz Smoothie Shop on Main St. We are planning a local stop on my Soar, Adam Soar book tour. (Dundurn Press, 2019)
He has a confession for this author, a former Catholic priest.
“Uhm, I got your book last month. I’m on page 2. I don’t read a lot of books.”
Humility shores up the new author’s resiliency. I am 68, an emerging writer, perhaps not the age group the literary world had in mind for that demographic. These days, with 70 the new 50, they should! I am “fresh” into what will be a winter-spring series of mini tours after Dundurn Press released my memoir Feb. 2 on my late son’s inspiring journey coming home to the “boy in the mirror”. I stitched the tours through 45 towns, mainly around the Ontario heartland, with side bookings to Halifax, Charlottetown, Montreal, Vermont and California.
At the Pembroke reading at Blendz two weeks after we first met, Hawes winced when I asked for an update on his reading and page numbers. In better news, he along with Jill Holroyd from Renfrew County Pflag inform me that they will race across the street after my reading to support Pembroke City Council’s resolution for a rainbow crosswalk. Pflag is an oasis for parents who wished to help themselves and their family members understand and accept their LGBTQ2S children. There, for the kids, when no one else is. The resolution passed unanimously, a small but impressive step forward for humankind in the conservative Ottawa Valley. Jamie, Jill and their merry band of do-gooders scored wins too in four, smaller towns who agreed to raise the Pride Flag for Pride Month. The Pflag chapters have became fans of Adam’s story; they are family for the parents and their kids during what can be tough “coming out’ times dancing around bullying and hate.
On a closed Parents of Transgender Kids Facebook group, I just read about a teen whose Mom put her fist through drywall when he broke the gender news to her; he’s moved out to a friend’s family.
Later in the tour, there will be a step backwards on the human rights front. Now, though, the smoothies and best brownies in the world helped us savour the good news in the Valley.
On another trip through the Ottawa Valley to visit my brother in North Bay, I had dropped into 11 libraries to deliver my elevator talk sales pitch for Soar, Adam, Soar. The library visits doubled this usual 4-hour drive but, hell, I am a library lifer who delights when my book finds a home there.
At the Renfrew Public Library, two librarians heard this pitch.
“Catholic priest marries. Father Rick becomes proud father of a transgender son. Cue the tragedy. A seizure-related drowning for my Adam. As an organ donor, he saves four lives. A heart recipient cleverly sleuths our identity and will become a good friend. It’s all in the book!”
The second librarian who had half listened while shelving books turned and asked.
“Is this fiction?”
“I wish,” I answered, rubbing the jewelry urn hanging around my neck.
I take Adam on tour. He may have died in 2016 but now he’s a lifeline and co-author; his100-plus social media posts are either in the margins or part of the unique narrative as his words, better than mine, pick up the testosterone, counselling and healthcare part of his gender identity journey from being first identified as a girl to his coming home to his true self. The audiences at the readings love the part where I explain how his “smart parents”, actually a smart Mom, intuitively knew without an ultrasound that she was carrying a boy in the womb and that we began to call the child Adam then and indeed named our child legally “Rebecca Danielle Adam”, the baby who the intern caught 17 minutes into labour.
Boy, did my kid like the Adam name!
Adam would inevitably head to a sunny place from every disappointing setback, no matter the dozens of seizures and the two epic, all-day brain surgeries he endured in Montreal in 2011 and 2015 to better control his epilepsy. He called the second surgery decision “a no-brainer”, coveting a return to his life of driving a car, playing hockey and getting on with his Adam quest.
Adam’s social media posts redeem the one sad chapter chronicling the tragedy. I post Adam’s and earlier musings that are under the name, Bekkaa, a Facebook name for the Rebecca Adam years.
Bekkaa, December, 2009
“life is complicated…lol!”
Bekkaa, April 22, 2010
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MEEEEE”
Adam, Dec. 23, 2015
“Hi five my lips with your lips.”
Adam, Aug. 3, 2015
“Do you ever think clouds look down on us and say, ‘Hey, that one’s shaped like an idiot’.”
Adam shared Lezbehonest’s post, January 21, 2016
“I always carry a knife in my purse. You never know, cheesecake or something.”