For the first time, the Arrowhead Gallery in Old Fort will host a book-signing event this Friday evening. And the new work chosen for this event has an eye-catching title as it takes both a humorous and serious approach to some important issues in life.
Furthermore, this book is all about Old Fort and incorporates people and places that many locals will recognize.
At 6:30 p.m. Friday, the Arrowhead Gallery & Studios, located at 78 S. Catawba Ave., will host its first book-signing event featuring local author and renowned sculptor Henry Harvey and his latest novel “The F**ket List.” The event will include some wine and cheese and a reading of a chapter by Harvey’s wife Pamela.
The 372-page novel centers on a group of people who arrive at The Old Logge Inne in Old Fort and start asking what they want to do as they get older. The book’s title is a play of words on the term “bucket list” and the novel deals with some important issues in a loving and humorous way, according to Harvey.
“As we grown-ups mature, there comes a point for all of us when we ask, ‘What am I going to do with Act III of my life?’ Nursing home? Assisted living? Just wing it? Just fade away? Or is there an alternative...to live the best damn lives we can?” he said in a news release. “Have some dignity to our lives, some graciousness...and a bit of fun. That’s what this book is all about.”
As the story progresses, the characters start a knitting class which later becomes a class in erotic art. They also post what they want to do with the third act of their lives on what is called the F**ket Tree. Later in the story, the characters hold an event called Pig, Porn and Pabst Festival. Local businesses such as Mustard’s Last Stand and Frisbee’s Food Mart play a part in the novel. In fact, Frisbee’s plays an important role in the climax of the book.
“You will see an ending in the book that is completely original and it will knock your socks off,” he said to The McDowell News.
Some of the characters are residents of Old Fort and all of the illustrations were taken there.
Along with erotic art and humorous bucket lists, the novel has a more serious side because it deals with Alzheimer’s disease.
“Everyone knows something about Alzheimer’s,” he said in the news release. “A number of us, myself included, have friends and relatives who’ve been afflicted. Right now, there isn’t a cure, but there are some things which can slow it down.”
In an interview with The McDowell News, Harvey said he wanted this work, like the others he’s written, to have something meaningful for the reader.
“I always want to have something important in the book so that you walk away and say I’m glad I read that,” he said to The McDowell News.
Originally from Bucks County in Pennsylvania, Harvey flew military jets in the Air Force as a young man, attaining the rank of captain. His father was a writer and this made him not want to pursue that as an occupation.
“I said the last thing I want to do is write because I had seen him suffer,” said Harvey of his dad.
Later on in his military career, Harvey was stationed in Japan where he looked for spies and electronic listening devices. He then had a change of mind about becoming a writer. For the past 30 to 35 years, he’s written books along with becoming a world-renowned sculptor.
Some of his other books are “The First,” “Playing on the Black Keys,” “Saphos Assassin,” “Lord of the Mill,” Poontango” and “37 Cents a Fart,” which is about dogs. These mostly fictional works but he’s also produced two books about his artwork: “A Passion for Metal” and “A Universal of Metal Sculpture.”
For the past two years, the Harveys and their Boston terriers have lived in their tranquil mountain home Dragonfly, which is located on Catawba River Road. They have an impressive sculpture garden which displays his colorful and interesting works. Some of the colorful outdoor sculptures were inspired by science fiction novels and films while others are even more imaginative. His work is reminiscent of the sculptures by Alexander Calder. The Harveys have built a large metal windjammer, called Moondancer, which serves as a stage for live music and special celebrations.
He’s also created colorful and vibrant indoor sculptures and other artworks.
“We’ve lived all over the world and this is God’s country,” said Harvey about Old Fort.
Harvey started work on “The F**ket List” before he and his wife relocated to Old Fort. After they got to the town and its people, he had to change what he had written.
“When I got to know the people, I had to rewrite the book because the people are more interesting,” he said to The McDowell News. “I really love Old Fort. We’ve made more friends here in the last two years than the 30 years up North.”
He added Old Fort’s people charmed their way into the novel.
He also changed the title of the work. It was originally called “The First Erotic Art Show at the Olde Logge Inne.”
Like many creative and forward-thinking people, Harvey wants to see Old Fort progress like so many other western North Carolina towns have done.
“Periodically, individuals in Old Fort express frustration with the town,” he said in a news release. “Mostly it boils down to getting some booze, and that's a laudable goal. But is that the only thing you want? The artists and members of Arrowhead Gallery have taken on, not one, but three large projects all on their own to help the town.”
First, Helen and John Sullivan of the Arrowhead Artists and Artisans League and business owner Jeff Parker are working to create a sculpture park in Old Fort, he said.
“Second: Our group is endeavoring to create the largest, most sophisticated kaleidoscope...in the entire South. Stay tuned!,” Harvey said in a news release. “Third: Once again, thanks to the Sullivans, Arrowhead Gallery now has an oasis where you can not only purchase local artwork, but you can sample (and hopefully buy) any one of a number of...pretty damn good novels. What more can you ask of a gallery?”