(Newburyport) My friend Tom Ryan took part in the Newburyport Literary Festival on Saturday at Jabberwocky.
Before a packed space, Tom discussed his Newburyport days as editor of The Undertoad as well as his first book, “Following Atticus,” which comes out in September.
This was an audience of mostly familiar faces for him and there were plenty of hugs and handshakes afterwards.
This was Tom’s debut in the book-promoting business but certainly not his last as he has a major publishing house (William Morrow) heavily committed to his book. There will be numerous book-related appearances ahead for Tom/Atticus in the months ahead.
As usual, Atticus was on hand to steal the show, which wasn’t too difficult with so many dog lovers in the house.
I wrote in the last issue of The Undertoad, in jest, that I thought Atticus was the brains of that twosome. The remarkable dog has certainly been the catalyst for much that has gone on in Tom’s post-Newburyport life.
My name surfaced in the presentation. My recollection is that my name and “homophobe” came out pretty close to each other. I’d rather it be said of me that my reading of the Bible has led me to the conclusion that the homosexual lifestyle is not something to be encouraged.
Later Tom talked about defending my right to present my views in his paper even when others told him he shouldn’t. In my view, that makes him “tolerant,” and those who wanted to silence me, “intolerant.”
Further along he added, accurately, that we’ve been friends and still are.
He told me a while ago that I appear in the book and it will be interesting to read in September in what context that might be.
My wife and I have gotten together with Tom in North Conway during the summer in previous years and that is likely to continue. He has talked of coming our way (North Bridgton) and hiking there. Hawk Mountain (Waterford), which I’ve climbed numerous times, would be good for such a hike in our area.
Anyhow, it was good to see Tom again and watch him continue forward, in what I like to call, “The Year of the Book.”