Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Steep Climb

Famous people really do read the Daily Meaux! Yesterday we received this nice note from local celebrity, THE Mr. Hoyt Harris and he hipped us to a project he just finished with his soon to be 90 year old dad. What a fun and sweet story.

Harris writes:
...I follow your blog and enjoy what I've seen there. As the following states, over the last three years I collaborated with my father on his memoir. My Dad is a retired Tennessee surgeon, turning 90 next month. ...Among the interesting things I learned about my "family tree" in working on "A Steep Climb" is the fact that we had a "Lorena Bobbitt" in our family before there even WAS a "Lorena Bobbitt." When my Dad recounted that story to me, we were laughing so hard, I had tears running down my face and my father was choking with laughter to the extent that I thought he was going to literally die laughing.

Then he suddenly stopped laughing. He said, timidly: "Hoyt, we can't put this in the book!"

"Are you kidding me?" I said. "You mean to tell me we had 'Lorena Bobbitt' in our family tree and you don't want to see it in the book! No, it is going in the book!"

And so it has. And I'll leave it at that.

The official press release:
In 2006, I encouraged my retired father to write.
"About what?" he asked.
"About your life," I said.

Three years later, the result of that conversation is "A Steep Climb." Our collaboration, recounting his life and 50 years as a practicing surgeon in Middle Tennessee, was a fascinating journey for us both.

The English poet William Wordsworth wrote, "The child is father to the man." As a college English major, I never quite understood that line. But I do now.

While he was writing, my father kept telling me, "The only 'D' I ever made was in English."

As a pre-med student, he was immersed in things like chemistry, biology, anatomy. Grammar, punctuation, precision--how to write the most with an economy of words--was not his forte. But as an English major who earned a master's degree in journalism and has spent more than 30 years as a television anchor/reporter, I became his editor/professor/mentor. "This" child WAS father to "that" man.

The process was fascinating. Walking back with him into his 86 years of memory and experience had us, at times, laughing so hard we cried. I learned fascinating things about the "family woodpile." My Dad says working on the book elicited memories he had not thought about in 50, 60, 70 years.

“A Steep Climb” is available on and

If your non-chain bookstore doesn't have copies, just give them the following information and they can order it:

Title: "A Steep Climb"

Author: Hoyt C. Harris

ISBN: 978-0-533-16267-3

Library of Congress Catalog Card No.: 2009906137

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