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Today's guest author Paul Stutzman was born in Ohio and raised in Amish and conservative Mennonite church communities. After he lost his wife to cancer, he felt the call to a challenge, quit his job and began a journey hiking the 2,176 mile Appalachian Trail. What he learned during the next four and a half months changed his life, and after completing his trek Paul wrote his highly acclaimed, Hiking Through.
In the summer of 2010 Paul again heeded the call for adventure and pedaled his bicycle 5,000 miles across America. He began his ride at the Northwest corner of Washington State and pedaled to Key West, Florida. On his journey across America he encountered people in all circumstances, from homelessness to rich abundance. Paul wrote about these encounters in his second book Biking Across America.
Email today's guest author, Paul Stutzman, he surely will reply, and your email will enter your name in today's book giveaway: a signed copy of Hiking Through, Biking Across America or Paul's newest title, The Wanderers. Winner's choice! Email Paul at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Take it away, Paul...
In Search of Reality
Recently I made a pilgrimage to Indiana, Pennsylvania seeking information on a favorite author, Edward Abbey. Also known as Cactus Ed, Abbey was born in the Indiana area and attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania before moving west.
Ed achieved cult-like status among environmental activists with books such as The Monkey Wrench Gang and Desert Solitaire. I love the desert and hiking the canyons of the west, and he became a hero of mine as well.
Abbey had the misfortune of being born in the same town as the Hollywood actor Jimmy Stewart. Unfortunately, it seems most folks today prefer Hollywood make-believe to real life.
On campus, I approached a security officer and asked her assistance in my quest.
"I've never heard of Ed Abbey," she replied. "But this is the birthplace of Jimmy Stewart."
"With all due respect to that famous actor, he is not my mission here."
"You might ask at the library," she offered. "And be careful where you park. Try the parking garage, but we're checking in students and it's Parents' Week so the first three floors are all reserved. Don't park there! You might find a spot on the top floor, but make sure you pay; we're very firm on our parking policies. You will get ticketed if you transgress!"
"Are you sure you never heard of Ed Abbey?" I tried again.
"Jimmy Stewart for sure, but not Mr. Abbey. Remember, no unauthorized parking!"
I wound through the lower floors of the parking garage, passing several hundred empty parking slots reserved for university employees. If cantankerous Cactus Ed would have been visiting (and still among the living), he would have chosen the first available slot designated for a tenured professor. The words of the security officer, however, still rang loudly in my ears and I arrived at the top floor and obediently paid my dollar to stay within the confines of the law. So much for following in my hero's footsteps.
At the library's front desk, I interrupted a texting student with my inquiry about the shrine that surely must exist to honor my writer friend Ed Abbey.
"Never heard of the man. But Jimmy Stewart was born in this town."
"You're a student here and work in the library and have never heard of Ed Abbey?"
"Don't have a clue to the man, but there's a nice display of Jimmy Stewart mementos just across the room. He was a famous actor; he was born here..." I ignored the rest of his prattle as my attention was taken by a display on another wall. Could it be? Clouds parted, trumpets sounded. Eureka! I had found the shrine to my not-so-famous literary hero. Thrilled, I read excerpts of Ed's writing as a student at the university. It was a reunion with an old friend.
I used my iphone to snap a photo of myself standing in front of the display. That was too much for the inquisitive lady who was watching me through the glass of her cubicle. She came out to greet me, and I discovered she had been responsible for setting up the display. At the library for over 40 years, she, too, was dismayed that students took no interest in Ed's work. She led me to a section of the library holding even more of Abbey's writing.
Satisfied, I took a walk downtown, where I pushed a crosswalk button and was told when to cross--by the voice of Jimmy Stewart.
Thanks for reading with me. It's so good to read with friends.
* This month's Penguin Classics book is DEATH OF A HERO by Richard Aldington. Start reading now and enter to win a Penguin totebag. Go to: http://tinyurl.com/July13Classics
AUTHORBUZZ: THE BLEIBERG PROJECT (Thriller) by David Khara
The idea for this novel came from listening to a woman who survived WWII death camps. For her, laughter was an act of resistance and remembering the best way not to repeat mistakes. In tribute to those who lived through the horrors, I wrote this adrenaline-pumping contemporary thriller. What if Hitler's atrocities were not over?
Go to: http://authorbuzz.com/dearreader click on THE BLEIBERG PROJECT to read more and to email author David Khara, you'll get a reply.