Tomorrow evening, Tom Sullivan will be performing here in Fargo. (Note that the web site is full of flash content and is really annoying. I really like the song that plays though once the page comes up.)
Ever since I was about eight years old and my teacher played the book "Tom Sullivan's Adventures in Darkness" for my class, I've been absolutely fascinated by Tom. This particular book was written for kids, and focused a lot on his time in a residential school for the blind, and other parts of his life. I think I was drawn to him because, at that age, I could really relate to the residential school stories, and he just seemed like such a cool guy to me.
Later on, I read the adult version of his autobiography, "If You Could See What I Hear". It's the same story, but, I think, with much more detail, and written for adults.
Even though I'm not really much of a dog person, I also read The Leading Lady, where he talks about the incredible bond that he had with one of his dog guides, and the very difficult decision to retire her when she started losing her vision. I think part of the attraction of this book for me was that it was co-written with Betty White who I knew best from her time on The Golden Girls. I thought it'd be neat to read something that she'd written as well, and I really thought the book was great, (although I scanned the hard-cover edition with some incredibly old technology back in 1995, and I'm sure I missed a lot).
Just recently, I read another book that Tom wrote with Betty, Together, which is apparently his first attempt in the fiction area. Although some parts of the book are based on truth, (like the dog that the main character gets), much of the story is still fictional. This was one more book that I really enjoyed.
In addition to the books, Tom appeared on several episodes of Highway to Heaven, and an episode of M*A*S*H where he played a newly blinded soldier. A movie, If You Could See What I Hear, is based on his college years.
But, back to the present. Tom will be here in Fargo tomorrow night giving a free benefit concert, and I have the opportunity of being able to attend. From what I understand, he'll be performing for a while, and then interacting with the audience. I can't imagine actually having the chance to meet him personally, but I won't deny that it'd be really cool if it happened. But, this is something that I'm really looking forward to. Although Tom's activities and things that he's done have caused some interesting discussions in the blindness community, and many feel that he sensationalizes much of his life, I still really think that tomorrow night is going to be an incredible experience.