After 20 months of book promotion, I’m left with fond memories, many new friends—and clutter.
I have ten hardcover copies of Becoming Charlemagne sitting in a box. These books went unclaimed at lectures and signings because the dust jackets all suffered minor damage: a tear here, a chip, dent, or crinkle there. Sometimes the damage is barely discernible, and all ten copies are perfectly readable.
So I’m giving them to “Quid Plura?” readers, but with a catch:
1. Go to www.pva.org and make a donation of at least $10 to Paralyzed Veterans of America.
2. Post a comment letting us know you’ve done so. (Anonymity or pseudonymity are fine.) Keep an eye on this, because I have only ten books.
3. Send your address to jeffsypeck -at- gmail-dot-com and I’ll send you a book. Postage is on me. (Also, if you don’t mind, tell me how much you donated so I can give my PVA contact a general sense of our total amount.)
If “Quid Plura?” readers are generous enough to take all ten damaged books off my hands, I’ll make my own $75 donation to PVA. Please feel free to spread the word.
You’re probably wondering why a blog about medievalism is asking you to donate to PVA. Before she retired, my mom, in her role as a secretary for a big corporation, helped secure funding for the National Veterans Wheelchair Games. I volunteered at the games in Minneapolis in 2005 and Anchorage in 2006 and met some outstanding athletes: men and women who were paralyzed, and missing limbs, yet still out there golfing on two prosthetic legs, running over dear friends in rugby chairs, or blowing into tubes to navigate an obstacle course.
Some of these vets were injured in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, but others were left paralyzed by workplace accidents, car crashes, strokes, or disease. Many of them, their spouses told me, were depressed and reclusive—until they discovered the doggedly competitive but deeply supportive world of wheelchair sports.
PVA keeps these veterans rolling. The organization pays to send newly injured vets to wheelchair events, they fund research into spinal-cord injuries, and they lobby for disabled veterans’ benefits and rights. The Veterans Wheelchair Games, my favorite of their programs, ensures that veterans who struggle physically, emotionally, and financially can still accomplish astonishing things. If you live near Omaha, you should go cheer them on this year. Frankly, they make us able-bodied people look like wusses. Seeing them compete will change your life.
*** UPDATE: 25 June 2008, 12:00 p.m.:
All ten books have been claimed! I’ll post a final tally once I know how much everyone donated. If you’re feeling inspired, it’s never too late to make a donation to PVA: www.pva.org.