A Tribute to My Mom

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Some of the best memories of my mother are the simplest: The two of us, slowly floating downstream, our butts hanging through innertubes and into icy cold creek water, my hand in hers, my mother – in a black-and-white bikini – telling me how much she loved me and all the things I needed to know in order to make it safely through this world.

For endless summers, my mom would hold onto my innertube as we floated, before reaching for my hand and holding it under the water. When we would begin to float away, my mother would yell back at the cabin, to anyone, to no one, “Pick us up in an hour. Just look for us downstream and honk!”

And we’d float downstream, my mother talking, as she loved to do, about nothing in particular, but really about everything.
“Where are we going, mom?” I’d ask when I was young.

She’d lift a hand out of the creek, water dripping off her arm, the sun glistening off her tan, and she’d point downstream, into the horizon, into the sun.

“Heaven!” she would tell me.

It was on these seemingly innocent float trips with my mom that I ended up learning some of the greatest lessons of my life, where I learned what a strong, smart, heroic woman my mother was, when I began to know my mom as a person and not just a mother.

My mother used to tell me how much she loved her job as a nurse. She followed her true passion and relished helping to heal others. It was her calling. She used to tell me as we floated, “When you follow your passion, you will never work a day in your life.” It was a lesson I did not learn until I hit 40 and found I hated what I did for a living. My mother said, on a float trip when I was in my 30s, “Follow your passion, and your dreams will come true.”

On our floats, my mother never gossiped, never said an ill word about another person. She lived with true grace and dignity, a lesson I, sadly, still often fail.

My mother always told me she loved me as we floated, and she would lean over to hug me freely, telling me to hug back tightly, and she taught me that – even for a man – it was a strength, not a weakness, to show your emotions.

And, after my brother’s death, my mom taught me about the power of faith, that even in the face of unimaginable tragedy, you must have hope, and a faith in God.

And, it was in those years after Todd died, that my mother taught me about that power of faith, the power of love, the power of parenting. I remember a float trip we took when I was in high school, when I was terrified of leaving her to go to college – I did not want to leave her alone – and I could sense she was terrified of having me go.
“I can go to college here,” I told her. “Live at home with you.”

And she told me, as we floated, that there would be no discussion, that I could not be afraid to live, that I had to go out and change the world, and that I would always be with her, and that she would always be with me. And that incredible strength and fortitude lives on in me today.

Mostly, I think, on those floats, that my mother taught me how to laugh, and how to tell a great story. Her unconditional love and acceptance changed my life, and will until the day I am reunited with her.

So, I will end with the story that my mom first told me, only now realizing just how true it was: Right now, I can picture my mother in heaven, surrounded by her family, floating on a never-ending creek, her butt stuck through a golden innertube. And one day when I join her, I know I will ask her, as we float, where we are going. And she will tell me, “Nowhere, Wade. We’re home. We’re in heaven.”

What a Whirlwind!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The last 72 hours have been a whirlwind ... in between driving all across the Mitten to do media and book events, AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM received a great review in USA TODAY and then was selected yesterday as a TODAY SHOW Summer Must-Read.

Here is link to Today Show clip:

http://today.msnbc.msn.com/id/26184891/vp/31342005#31342005

All of a sudden, things have exploded.

Including my back. While driving to Ann Arbor yesterday for a book event, and after ingesting a triple-shot latte and then a giant Diet Cherry Coke from Steak-n-Shake (and, YES, I KNOW I SHOULD BE HYDRATING!), I twisted in the passenger seat while working on my laptop and felt something pop. I've had trouble moving ever since. I can barely get down on the toilet (yes, I know, TMI), but still, it's the truth.

I woke this morning to find myself twisted in a ball, two dogs quite literally laying on my spine. I am moving around the cottage today like Benjamin Button (the old years, not the hot Brad Pitt years). I scream when I reach for the coffee; I scream when I try to sit down; I scream when Gary touches me.

Which, I guess, is a nice segue to the book: In the city, if I were in this condition, AT LEAST SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM. Today, here in the woods, only the cardinals scatter. The chipmunks and the new raccoon which ravaged our new "Raccoon-Proof" bird feeder last night, could give a flying crap. I guess when you forage for your own food, sympathy for a gay man's backache doesn't rank highly on your hierarchy of needs.

Thanks to all of you for making SCREAM scream right up the sales charts. And for all of you who have written already to tell me how much the book has made you laugh and re-think your life, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Especially as I sit here on a morphine drip.

But I expect to be back to my old self ... I mean, I have to by Tuesday. An appearance on Chicago Public Radio followed by signings in Chicago, M'kee, and STL. Please check out my Appearances on this site, and come to one of my signings next week. At Least in Your City, I Want to Hear You Scream (preferably for me, and not at me, just to make that clear).

xx for now,
Wade

TODAY SHOW SUMMER READ!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Today Show has selected AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM as one of its Summer Book Picks! Could not be more thrilled with the honor ... shout-out to John Searles for picking and loving the book!

Hope to see all of you at an upcoming event! Video to be posted soon!

USA TODAY FEATURES AT LEAST IN THE CITY!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Thought seriously about starting my morning with Kashi and Mimosa's, but I need to stay semi-sober for my book event tonight in Lansing at the Schuler Books in Eastwood Towne Center.

Still, a toast is in order, considering AT LEAST is featured in today's (June 11) USA Today, a terrific review which calls my writing and the book "wise, witty and wicked." Which couldn't sum me or the book up more perfectly.

AND on the heels of that great news comes the news that bestselling author Jen Lancaster (one of my all-time fave authors and one of the funniest voices today) included AT LEAST as part of her Summer Must-Read Beach Book List. Jen said AT LEAST "made me laugh so hard my dogs hid"! Links to USA Today and Jen's always-fabuloso blog, Jennsylvania, are below:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/books/reviews/2009-06-10-books-roundup-memoirs_N.htm

http://www.jennsylvania.com/

Hope to see all you Lansing-ites and Michigan State students and alums tonight at 7 p.m. A Spartan interpretive dance might be in order!

xx,
Wade

B&N Spotlights AT LEAST IN THE CITY!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I was thrilled to learn that Barnes & Noble featured AT LEAST IN THE CITY SOMEONE WOULD HEAR ME SCREAM in its weekly REVIEW newsletter, as a "not-to-miss" book. A Spotlight Review was also included, calling the memoir "laugh-out-loud-funny" and saying, "The true success in the book is how Rouse manages to toe the line (feet encased in stylish slides) between hilarity and philosophy, proving that enlightenment can be found in as unlikely a place as a karaoke contest, where he's reminded of his mother's teaching, 'It's not where you choose to live; it's how you choose to live.'"

The link to the full review and article can be found here:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/bn-review/spotlight.asp?PID=28662

I'm off today to Lansing for radio interview about book, gay pride, and to promote tomorrow night's event at Towne Center Schuler Books at 7 p.m.

Great feature, photo (if I do say so myself ... reclining on beach in front of Lake Michigan!) and review also appeared in the Sunday edition of the Holland Sentinel on the front page of their Life & Style section. Link to article follows:

http://www.hollandsentinel.com/archive/x862904120/Cabin-fever-Author-finds-there-s-no-place-like-home-on-the-lakeshore

Keep writing, all! I love to hear your reaction to the book ... it not only seems to be making people howl with laughter but also take a deeper look at their lives!

xx,
Wade

Book Tour Kicks Off Tonight in GR!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hope to see all my Grand Rapids/West Michigan fans tonight at 7:00 p.m. at the gorgeous Grand Rapids Public Library. I will read from the book, and Schuler's will be on hand to sell books, which I will happily sign, even if I break off a Lee Press-On in the process.

For those wanting to see yesterday's TV interview, we will post it soon (after we work out the kinks ... and, by that, I mean work out the issues and not rehearse and abuse the band). DO NOT BE ALARMED by part in TV interview when I slinkily cross my legs like an old-school hooker and, in fact, do so with such shocking ease that it appears as if I will next light a cigarette and ask for my cash to be left on the nightstand. But that angle does show off my shoes, which is what I think the host wanted.

And how fun is this from Modern Tonic, the cultural/entertainment blog? To see full blog, with pix, head to:

(http://moderntonic.com/)


WORDS | June 2, 2009
Scream Queen

Wade Rouse, confirmed urbanite, struggling author and unashamed label whore, received a sign from Jesus (or a vagrant who uncannily resembled him) that St. Louis — where he'd spent his adult life fitting in by feverishly shopping, exercising, tanning and working at a job he despised — was driving him insane. Convinced that his urban life was vapid and exhausting, Rouse dragged his unflaggingly patient and understanding boyfriend to the middle of nowhere (just outside Saugatuck, Michigan) to find the meaning of life. And, conveniently, the hook for his new book, At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream: Misadventures in Search of the Simple Life (out today).

Adhering to the tenets of Thoreau’s “Walden” (which Rouse uses as a manual), our hero sets up a hilarious ten-part city vs. country smackdown to confront/embrace/survive various wonders of nature. Though he is repeatedly attacked by his new home — a vicious raccoon, hideous (but practical! [but HIDEOUS!]) rubber footwear — he learns to treasure the rural (snowstorms, isolation) without completely losing the urban (our dear friend cynicism). His scorecard proves to be a nailbiter, and while we're thrilled Rouse found so much to love about the simple life, we love that we can stay in the city and simply take his word for it.

At Least in the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream is available today from Harmony Books.

AT LEAST LAUNCHES TODAY!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The baby is delivered today, and, right now, it feels great to get it out into the world.

Up at dawn, live (FUN!) interview on the morning show TAKE FIVE on the ABC station in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Then off to a newspaper interview.

Then back to prep for the first event of my book tour at the Grand Rapids Public Library June 3 at 7 p.m.

Before heading off across Michigan and the Midwest for a ton of events.

For all of you who have contacted me, telling me you've bought the book, and/or wishing me luck, it means the world. To sit alone in a pilled, coffee-stained robe for the better part of a year-and-a-half and hope that my memoir might resonate with readers is one thing. To hear that it already is, to receive early, incredible reviews, is the whipped cream on my coffee.

I hope you will spread the word if the book touches you, makes you laugh ... my goal is to see it become a bestseller! Dreams can happen, if you take a leap and follow your passion, and that's what AT LEAST IN THE CITY is all about.

More great news to come ... and, when I say "great," I mean "great." (Why am I saying the same thing over and over?)

And, by the way, while it's on my mind, did anyone want to choke the life out of Spencer and Heidi last night on I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here? I can't watch it anymore ... between Janice's face, Rod Blagovecich's wife and a shirtless Sanjaya, I nearly lost my tacos!

xx,
Wade