That's what my cough sounds like...
This past week has been difficult; at times frustrating, at others heartwarming. My return to social media was met with an outpouring I did not expect - with friends reconnecting on my new Facebook page, liking the new Underground Press page, and reengaging on other social outlets across the net. That has been awesome! It's good to be back and even better to be back in touch with old friends.
A couple of years ago my online friends, and the indie writer community in general, came together to support my son when he was diagnosed with leukemia. I am eternally grateful for that support. Many continue to this day; offering moral support to me and prayers and thoughts for my family. You guys are amazing! On my return everyone was asking how we are, and how Joshua is doing.
Joshua returned to school and graduated Summa Cum Laude in Philosophy. He still has about nine months of chemo left, he's had some medical issues and scared the hell out of us more than once, but all-in-all he is doing magnificently compared to those first few months of treatment. We're still taking it one day at a time, but we are starting to think about a future again – an actual time “after chemo.”
Last week I announced that The Underground Press would go non-profit to promote literacy, mainly by offering free books to cancer patients, but also through a variety of other literacy programs. I also announced a fundraiser to cover the cost of establishing The Underground Press as a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, which is quite high. My friends online rallied – shares, tweets, retweets, and posts spread the word around the interwebs.
You people rock! I didn't expect any of my dear friends who supported Joshua when he was first diagnosed, and made it possible for us to pay some of his medical bills and keep him in college, to donate to this fundraiser. You have already done more than enough for me and my family, but you folks jumped in even though I've been mostly AFK all week. I am so grateful to those of you who found time to repost, like, retweet, and promote The Underground Press as much as you have.
As I said at the beginning of this post, this has been a rough week. I announced the fundraiser Monday, Joshua's temperature went up Monday night while he and a few friends were at the coast. They had to cut the trip short and return home in the middle of the night. We rescheduled a meeting we had with the local children's hospital Tuesday to take Joshua to the doctor and drive his friends back to Greensboro. Wednesday, at the rescheduled meeting, we were told that bringing books to the kids and reading to them was probably not a great idea – we should “do a movie night and bring food or candy”! Thursday the flu hit me and I spent the end of the week in bed. I'm still hacking and coughing this morning, but I'll survive.
Apparently there isn't as much support for literacy as I had imagined, even though the American Academy of Pediatrics is encouraging doctors to talk to parents about reading to their kids. I've seen a lot of talk in the media about a “crisis of literacy” and that kids are spending too much time on electronic devices and not enough on reading, but the government cut funding to RIF programs back in 2011 and continues to slash funding for education. We are told kids don't want books, they want movies, games, toys, and candy! Has anyone out there actually read Fahrenheit 451? Has Facebook become the modern equivalent of Ray Bradbury's “family”? Is that howling I hear in the distance?
As for me, I will keep chipping away at modern society's abandonment of literacy - one reader at a time if necessary. To my awesomely literary friends I say – Keep writing great books, there are a few of us still reading! I plan to get back to posting book reviews and publishing tips on my blog soon, so if you have a book coming out let me know. And there should be an announcement soon on The Underground Press page about upcoming literacy events in November. Stay tuned! We're going to get people reading again!