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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We Stay for Evacuation Plan

Last week's author visit with Joe M. O'Connell (Evacuation Plan) - We had a good turnout and a good time! Joe told us a lot of the history behind the book. He won a competition to write a book about Christopher House, the hospice in Austin. He didn't tell us much about the contest. I was going to ask, but we got into so many topics that I never got back to that.

He first did some poetry about some of the patients he met there and their families. He told us about some of these people he met and he read some of the poems to us, and he told us where these real peoples' stories intertwined with those that he wrote up as fictitious characters for the book. He said there was one man, a patients, who kind of intimidated him, and so he just didn't bother to get to know that patient. That was the model for the main character of the book, Charlie Wright!

It was interesting to learn about Joe's process as well as about the people he met and their hospice stories. He brought the hospice to life! (Pun intended.) I think it was more fun to hear Joe's details and to ask him questions if you had read the book, but there were some good universal themes covered.

Joe said he thought the 2 main ideas of the book were (1) Forgive your parents, and (2) We make our own happiness. Interesting that the author has an interpretation that isn't necessarily the same as those of the readers, and Joe was the first to bring up that idea and give us license to interpret the book. He seemed to enjoy our comments, too.

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