Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Two Very Strong Book Readings

Couldn't have asked for more

First, the most emotional gathering at Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor where (see previous post) I lost my composure before I even got started. It was so emotional for me.

Then, the next evening, the library over in Southwest Harbot, Maine,  The place was so crowded people were sitting in every chair they had available and anything else they could find. A packed house and, atain, everyone was attentive and encouraging and when Q and A time came, a fellow in the way back whom I didn't recognize began askiing some very personal questions, knowledgeable of me more than I could imagine. I had spoken about the man who designed our cabin on the island,  designed Moosewood so perfectly that we knew first time we saw it, it was not just our house but, instantly, our home!. I had roundly praised that builder for talking us out of building the much larger place we had thought we wanted. He reminded us that we had told  him we wanted to "simplify, simplify, simplify." He could have made more by building the bigger place but persuaded us to go much smaller, simpler. And we did.  Thanks to a builder who talked himself out of making more money because he was honest.

And that fellow back in the corner -- heavier and bearded than we had known him -- was indeed that builder, Vic Mercer. What a wonderful surprise. 

BTW, the bookselleers at the event ran out of books and had to promise to get more the next day for people shorted. Flattering. 

Tomorrow, moving on to Camden hoping everything goes even half as well as they've gone so far, 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Signing Books and Hoping ... 

Signed forty books for a local Maine  book store today. Always a pleasure to do that, trying to imagine the people who will buy them and read them and get from them --- What? 
From the reader comments I've already received I'm encouraged to assume that the folks buying those copies I signed today will find "very good writing" ... "thoughtful and insightful" .... "stories of your TV years, the people and places and lessons learned, as well as your creating new and unique lives on the small island enthralled me all along" .... "Rapturous." 
Not all, to be sure, but some of the readers of those copies I just signed, I hope, will finish the book with feelings like those. And I hope some of them will tell me.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

If only I could always remember the blessings of this day...

What a day! This has been the most exciting, warming and gratifying --- while at the same time the most emotional -- day I've yet had in these book tour travels.

First, was "back home." Bar Harbor gazing across at Bar Island, home for thirteen best years of our lives. And here to talk about those years, that time, and how important they were to us and how we have never been the same and won't be. Moosewood, as  we called our island cabin, changed us.

No, that's not right. Moosewood didn't change us. God used our time at Moosewood, those thirteen years, to spur us to change ourselves.

Now we were back, greeting old friends, put up by Ivan and Sherry in the precious old cottage, oldest remaining home in the town which, slated for demolition to make room for condos, was rescued by Ivan who had it moved and repositioned and lovingly reconstructed, a monumental task quite hard to believe. It used to belong to a woman named "Thankful" so that's the name it retains as they rent it  out to visitors to town.

Dinner friends last nigh and then this morning, in heavy rain, a tour of Acadia National Park whose visitor center welcoming film I voiced a while back. And this afternoon on to the local library for a book-reading and signing and there was the problem. Not that so many people showed up they had to keep adding chairs both downstairs and up in the balconies looking down at the main floor.

And I started to speak.

Speak ... and cry. My voice breaking and I largely unable to speak.

"This is hard," I got out. And it was. Here so many people we had known and/or still knew. Here was beloved past before us in this library in which we too had spent much time writing, researching, leaning. And I was so choked up I had to struggle mightily to regain enough of my frayed composure to go on speaking. The intense interest and what sure seemed like love from so many in the crowd buoyed me and I reclaimed my voice and spent the next hour with them recollecting, and  being grateful. And they stayed with me. All stayed with me and when it was over and God praised, many filed over to the signing table and the joy and gratitude bounced back and forth for almost another hour.

And I was exhausted! Because of the rain, the second half of the afternoon had to be postponed till tomorrow --- the walking tour we will lead out to and across the island. Which, I know, will be another testing time for both Jo and me. The library is using the event as a fundraiser, collecting $150 per person and they're signed up to capacity. Amazing!  But so many people who live around Bar Harbor have never been across to the island, just seen it every day from the town pier and wondered what it must be like. We'll be proud to show them. Proud but, I suspect, also greatly emotional.

Worth it, though, to continue our assignment of using this experience we were given by God to praise God..

Monday, May 20, 2013

Finding Moosewood, Finding God had such a great long weekend in the Twin Cities.Television shows, radio and newspaper interviews, church appearance and book talk, and finally, an impromptu signing at the great little indy store Bookcase in the lovely suburb of Wayzata. It ran over three hours, a steady flow of encouragement and gratitude. 

Minnesotans are the best, warm and welcoming despite the fact they’re paying $4.39 a gallon for gas these days!!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Finding Moosewood
Finding God

The Tour So Far

In the past few weeks the book has enjoyed wonderful and warming welomes.
  • At the southern California mega-church, Mariners, I had the pleasure of speaking to a breakfast meeting of the church’s Men’s Fellowship, some 250 strong and attentive and energized. Was told by one member afterwards that in ten years attending those meetings, he  had never before seen any other speaker receive a standing ovation. Sold books and met many believers and seekers. 
  • The Florida Broadcasters luncheon I spoke to was a sell-out crowd, largest they had ever hosted. Again, I spoke first and then signed books and the response for both was rewarding. The president of the organization, Fulton Lewis III, wrote to say, “Jack, you were a big hit! On behalf of everyone at The Broadcasters Club, I want to thank you for your excellent presentation at our luncheon last Friday. I have received numerous calls and emails from those in attendance -- the verdict was unanimous: you were great!
   Personally, I was dead tired Friday night and thought I would go to bed early ... and read a little bit of your book. I discovered that is an impossibility! Once I started, I couldn't put it down. In a word, you have created a "masterpiece" -- one which will make even the most devoted atheist have doubts about his beliefs. Again, our thanks!                Fulton 
  • At a fund-raising event for Florida library reading programs, I spoke and read for an hour, sold books for another hour and afterward got this generous letter from the program organizers: “Wow, what a wonderful afternoon! The standing room only crowd was the largest turnout we have ever had.  Not only were your stories and anecdotes fascinating and informative, but as a personality, you are incredibly entertaining and fun to listen to. I thought you might like to hear some of the comments from guests and board members:
I was so pleased to be able to get a signed copy of his book .... He was terrific ... What a story his life has been ... Imagine giving up all that success, kind of tells you how empty it can be without faith ... Spellbinding storyteller ... He was wonderful ... I thought that Jack’s talk was great and he was much funnier than I expected ... Everyone I talked to really enjoyed it too ... Heard nothing but great kudos for his talk ... His self-examination and journey of discovery were inspiring ... I believe we are all richer for the experience of getting to know a little bit beyond the “public” Jack Perkins. 
  • In Seattle for a series of bookstore events, church appearances, newspaper articles, radio interviews including Michael Medved’s national program, and a television appearance on KING-TV’s New Day Northwest show, I happily accepted the invitation to address an exceptional group of men, a longtime Businessmen’s Bible Study group called “His Deal.” This, too, was a sell out luncheon sharing bible reading and my discussion of my faith journey as documented in my book. The man who founded and presides over the group wrote that he had received many notes of gratitude and appreciation for his having me there. 
  • Next on the list: appearances in Minnesota, Tennessee, and a two week tour up and down the state of Maine. Through all of which I hope to do what the Lord has commissioned me and all believers to do: Spread the Word. For me that means going from broadcasting the news to broadcasting of The Good News.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Another great review!!

I am so grateful for the review of Finding Moosewood, Finding God just released by Like all the others I have seen it is positive and enthusiastic, urging readers to get it for their own libraries. 

The reviewer in this case really "Gets it."  

Enjoy. I sure do.  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Doing Book Readings Is Not Always Predictable

Have been doing a lot of radio and TV interviews for the book, and some personal appearances as well -- book readings / signings. 
Of the latter, there was a special one last week, a fundraising event for a library organization and literacy fund. It was a warmly welcoming crowd and I spoke (with their apparent approval) for almost an hour, telling some of the stories from the book and reading excerpts as well. I had no plan as I began but tried to be sensitive to what the people were wanting. How intent and solemn should I get, when break the mood with humor. It was a fascinating exercise. Ups and downs, laughter and, a couple of times a few brimming tears. 
For example, I had no idea how I was going to conclude the presentation. Hadn’t planned that at all. But it planned itself. 
I was reading a story from the Vietnam writings in the book, a tale that -- just recalling it again, so burned it is in my mind -- I found myself losing composure a bit. It was a remembrance of a village of Vietnamese who had taken refuge underground as the largest battle of the war to that point was waged directly above them -- the bombs and mortars and gunshots for days after days. And the innocent villagers hid in their tunnels and caves underground not daring to emerge as long as the battle went on. And it sent on and went on. The people below had not brought much with them. And so there was first hunger and then worse. And that by the time the warring had subsided overhead and the villagers of Van Truong were sure it was safe to emerge from hiding, only a few us Americans were still there to witness their return. 
There was one man clutching his precious baby daughter, climbing up out of a hole, blinking into the blinding light of a free day and, clearly he was very hungry. A GI opened cans from his own rations and fed the man. It was sadly apparent that it was much too late for his baby. All a GI could offer for her was his own poncho to serve as the child’s burial shroud. Another GI used his entrenching tool to scratch out a shallow grave for the daughter and helped the father lay her to rest. Just one more casualty of the war but one I will never forget. Nor will I allow myself to forget the moment one of the marines, completing the burial, brought himself to attention, saluted over the grave, and then, bowing his head, said a prayer. He said a prayer.
I just stood there.
To this day, I hate that I just stood there. 


That was the end of my speech.