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HOMER HICKAM QUARTERLY NEWSLETTER
Spring '02 Issue
click here for this issue's photos
Happy Spring! Thank you for continuing to inspire me in so many ways. I just completed the national book tour for We Are Not Afraid and I will say it again: I have the best fans of any working author in the United States today. Across the country, I was greeted with friendship and good wishes from so many people. And everywhere I went, it was standing room only. It means so much to an author to see those smiling faces when out on a book tour which tend to be a bit frantic. Thanks again!
Just for fun, there are a couple of photos that illustrate this newsletter. Linda put them on the website because she thought it would be too cumbersome to send with the email. Click here to see them! The announcement of the next winner of a signed book will be on the website right away, too. Good luck!
Due to the flooding in Coalwood, we are very busy concentrating efforts to get them some national relief and better press coverage. No one died in Coalwood thank goodness, but this is a such a disaster and their spirits are so low. Only 10% of the homes were unflooded and many had water to the ceilings, and no one has insurance. What they need most is large earthmoving equipment, pumps etc to get the water and debris cleaned up enough to begin cleanup in the homes. Then the shovels and mops and pails can come out, but with that much damage, houses cannot be reinhabited for months. So sad. Although the town has been severely damaged, the people of Coalwood are determined to hold the October Sky Festival on October 5, 2002. Please keep checking this site for the latest information.
Please keep them in your prayers, and if you would like to help, the people below are wonderful and will get the money helping Coalwood directly.
Thanks you so much for caring, Homer and Linda
**********"Friends of Coalwood" Flood Relief Fund***********
Please, send no clothes, food or supplies... what they really need is funds to use as needed for Coalwood and McDowell County and also volunteers for cleanup. Both hard working and big-hearted groups below are registered charitable organizations 501 (3-C) so money given can be taken off your taxes.
Make checks payable to any of the organizations listed please.
McDowell Mission Inc.
P.O. Box 746
Gary, WV 24836
(304) 448-3762 fax
Executive Director: Jay Wilson
Big Creek People in Action
HC 32 Box 541
Caretta, WV 24821
(304) 875-3518 fax
Executive Director: Frankie Rutherford
And some good news...
Homer's Mom, Elsie Hickam will be 90 June 15 and there is a big party planned in Myrtle Beach! If you would like to send her a card, please send it to the address below and we will take them to her as a surprise. You may also email a greeting to her through Linda Hickam at LTerry@Hiwaay.net and she will print them for her and bring to the party.
Elsie cannot receive e-cards though, as she has no computer.
Mrs. Elsie Hickam
C/O Walter Terry
3123 Wildwood Drive
Huntsville, Alabama 35801
October Sky (the movie) will be shown on ABC-TV, Sunday night, April 7. If you haven't seen it, take a look. It is quite a bit different from my book Rocket Boys (aka October Sky) but it has the same spirit. Linda and I spent about half the shooting days on location and we came to really admire the folks who made it. It also seems to inspire a lot of people. Right now, it's being shown in Argentina. How do we know that? The tons of e-mail coming from there!
THIS WRITER'S LIFE:
After a great Christmas at home (among other gifts, I got a black bomber leather jacket I really admire plus a cool hat to keep the sun off my head when I'm hunting dinosaurs in Montana), Linda and I journeyed down to Seaside, Florida for a New Year's Eve party with friends. Seaside is a delightful town and one of our favorite places in the world. It's always relaxing there and we needed that, considering I'd just completed the new book - We Are Not Afraid (WANA)- and was facing yet another book tour. Linda knew she was going to be struggling with about five travel agents to bring it all together, too. So we relaxed as hard as we could! Then Linda added some more relaxation to her life by vacationing in Hawaii with her mother and sister - an all-girl tour! I stayed home and wrote a treatment for a possible television movie tentatively titled "A Coalwood Christmas." Looks like it will be optioned by a major studio which could lead to a television series. As Elsie says, "We shall see." Many are optioned but few are made. We also received word that Sky of Stone is being optioned for a television movie, too. Same situation. We have our fingers crossed but Hollywood has its ways and we're never sure what's going to happen!
February saw a lot of different activities including some travel and many interviews on WANA and a trip to Cancun to give a speech to a healthcare group. Our friends Frank and Naomi from Bozeman, Montana joined us and we got in some good snorkeling and adventure travel to some Mayan ruins to clamber up and down the pyramids. They are some steep! My birthday on February 19 was a good one since I was home. These days, that's enough! The favorite gift was a rock hammer for digging up dinosaur bones. I will go again this summer to Montana to join Jack Horner and his crew in Hell Creek to see if we can find some baby T-Rexes. Last year, my friend Frank found what is probably the biggest T-Rex ever. I was with him and it was very exciting. Jack says he needs some juveniles to round out some theories he has about T-Rex behavior. This summer we're going to do our best to oblige him!
March meant book touring in earnest. I spent nearly the entire month out on the road. It was a good tour with a chance to meet lots of fans but I can tell you, I've never been happier to be back home. Since I was out that way, I also stopped into Bozeman for a few days to plan the summer dino-hunting season and also launch some rockets with Frank and Jack Horner, who besides being one of the premier paleontologists in the world, is also a Rocket Boy. By the way, check out my story on launching Barbie dolls in Bozeman in Smithsonian Air & Space magazine. (Photo 1 &2 at http://homerhickam.com/newsletter3photos.htm) It should be out in April or May. The title they decided to give the piece is "You Go, Girl!" My title was "The Bouncing Ballistic Barbies of Bozeman." This magazine has never liked my titles but I definitely think mine is better this time.
By the way, we love visiting islands and we've discovered a house we love down in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. If you're ever thinking about a vacation down that way, check out Skyridge. It has one of the best views we've ever seen in the Caribbean and is so peaceful.
Although there's still some travel planned, I am now looking forward to staying home and writing The Keeper's Son, a novel set along the fabled Outer Banks of North Carolina during the time of the bloody World War II battles against the U-boats. That book should be out in the summer of 2003. I can't wait to start writing again!
(for many more see the Letters button on the website)
Dear Mr. Hickam, My son, Joshua, is 3 years and 3 months old. Tonight, fresh out of the bath, he asked, with a big grin:
"Did you know that I'm a WOCKET MAKEH?!"
"No, I didn't," I replied. "Did you make a rocket?"
"Not yet!" he exclaimed.
"Well when you do, I want to see it."
"Like Homer's!" he added enthusiastically.
(Joshua loves October Sky, and frequently asks, "Can I watch Wocket Boys??")
I just thought you might like to know the impact you're having on the next generation. Thanks for helping to "corrupt" our youth such as Joshua, by providing a far better role model than we have in so much of our society.
God bless and best wishes,
**Wisdom in Coalwood
Dear Linda, Well, I just read We Are Not Afraid and I must say it was great. I didn't buy it because of Sept. 11 or because I'm afraid. I bought it to hear more about the people of Coalwood. I wasn't disappointed and to my surprise some of the wisdom made a large impression on me. The idea of finding work that is important, larger than yourself is a great idea. Even with my midwest values, I never thought to see it this way. When I read Rocket Boys I thought to myself, "wow, how could people live this way, how could they be satisfied working in a coal mine?" Now I understand. I will use this to achieve a better quality of life for myself. I guess you don't have to feel afraid or live in a coal camp to benefit from the Coalwood philosophy.
It's very interesting how living in a big city, working in a good job, owning a house and with three cars, your mind can still make you think things are worse than they are. Well, I'm going to put this book to good use. I have two young children now, I think the wisdom in Homer's book will go a long way to raising them properly.
Thank Homer for me, the book was very entertaining and educational, I loved it. Now we just need to come up with another good reason to write about Coalwood again ;)
Linda and I hope you'll check in occasionally at our Web site for all the latest. The annual October Sky Festival in Coalwood will be on October 5 this year. See http://homerhickam.com/festival.htm. Most of the Rocket Boys will be there signing autographs. Hope you can make it, too. Linda and I wish you and yours a great Spring, 2002!