Author James Pomeroy
Mon. November 30, 2020 12:00 AM
by Bill Pritchard
A little over six years ago, I was sat next to a handsome stranger at an all-day community collaboration on diversity and inclusion. Little did I know, my new friend was a kindred spirit and would-be comedian like me. We both had a great deal of experience working in the church world, mostly dealing with youth. He was and still is so passionate about the betterment of children.
Spend five minutes with James Pomeroy and you'll be inspired, encouraged, and infected with fun. He's the kind of person people want to be friends with. Having spent eight hours with him the first time we met, I consider myself lucky to have been in the right place, at the right time.
Now, James has taken another bold step in his life by becoming an author. His first book, “Blue Rhapsody" is a children's book, of course. But, this book is capturing the attention of those of us who are children at heart.
BP: What made you want to write a book?
JP: I've spent much of my career so far working with kids, most of those years in the church. I imagine that's partly because I'm still very much a kid myself. I'm really passionate about helping kids to process their feelings and to be empowered in their own identity. The story of Rhapsody has been floating around in my mind for several years and, as we turned the corner into 2020, I decided this was the year for the story to get out of my head and into the world.
BP: Tell is about illustrator Mike Cañas and how you connected
JP: Mike is such a fantastic illustrator and human being! I actually found him on a website for artists and illustrators. When I made the decision to hire an illustrator, I hopped on the site and explored dozens of artists' work, sent several inquiries and Mike was the first one to respond! Initially, I really wanted to work with a Chicago-based illustrator, but, sadly, none of them responded to me. In the end, I couldn't be happier with Mike's work; he captured the story of Rhapsody exactly the way I envisioned It. He really brought this story to life!
JP: The moral of “Blue Rhapsody" is all about self-love and self-acceptance; it's about being proud of who you are when who you are is different than everyone else.
BP: Are Rhapsody's experiences similar yours?
JP: The story of Rhapsody is very autobiographical. Growing up as a closeted gay kid in a very religious small town in Missouri, I was constantly trying to fit in, to become like all the other boys. I gave up so much in order to blend in and, just like the story of Rhapsody, I made some big mistakes and suffered greatly in my desire to be like everyone else. I don't want other kids (or adults) to ever feel that way.
JP: I want parents, grandparents and gay uncles to read this story with their kids to initiate a conversation about identity and acceptance. I want kids who feel different or like outsiders to celebrate that who they are is exactly who they should be. It's a message I could've really used as a kid myself. When we are fully and truly ourselves, the sky is the limit!