Stadalsky: Former Channahon resident, now homeless, writes book
BY KRIS STADALSKY Correspondent October 18, 2013 1:48PM
Jim More displays his book in front of a veterans mural as he travels through the state of Washington promoting the book. | Supplied photo
Updated: November 22, 2013 6:11AM
Many people know what it’s like to fall on hard times.
Sometimes bad choices are made; sometimes we are in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sometimes others’ choices or actions negatively affect us.
Former Channahon resident Jim More could write a book about hard times — and he has.
More, who has been homeless since 2007, writes about growing up in Channahon and the people who helped shape his life in his self-published book “Raise the Flag.”
More was an honors athlete at Channahon Grade School, graduated from Minooka High School in 1975 and attended Joliet Junior College part time while working many different jobs.
He eventually went to college full time, first at JJC and then Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Mich., where he received a bachelor’s degree.
The first part of More’s life sounds typical. But over the last several years it has taken him on a completely different journey.
I have been communicating with More through emails and phone calls. (He has a cellphone.) He has moved on to Washington as he promotes his book, takes photos for a journal and is working on a second book.
While I’m not clear on all of the events in More’s life, from our conversations it’s apparent that anyone, educated or not, can find themselves dealing with hard times.
More moved to Morris and was living in a tent along the banks of the Illinois River in 2008. He got help from We Care of Grundy County and worked on his writings under a pavilion in a park. He rode his bicycle for transportation.
He already had been journaling about his life for years. When his beloved father died in 1998, he wrote about their many adventures together fishing, hunting and camping, as a way to work through his grief. That story, “Lean Thy Arms,” is in his book.
More was arrested and jailed in 2008. While he was incarcerated, “without probable cause for arrest,” he said, he worked on his story drafts “with short stubby pencils,” he said.
Years later he won a judgment against the police officers who arrested him, he said, and he used the money to self-publish his book.
Some didn’t take to More’s homelessness very well. People harassed him, shredded his tent and threw rocks at him as he rode his bike, he said. He was knocked off his bike by people in vehicles twice and said he had a pit bull sicked on him.
More had always wanted to go to Seattle, so he moved on in 2012. Once he was there, the scenery exceeded his highest expectations, he said. In his first two weeks in Washington, he logged 600 miles on his bike and took more than 1,000 photos.
He has managed to sell a few books along the way, which keeps his spirits up, he said.
More is dedicating 10 percent of the proceeds of sales of his book to help veterans. It was a World War II veteran, the late Norval Galloway, former superintendent of Channahon Grade Schools when More attended there, who kept him in school and encouraged him to do something with his education.
During our most recent conversation, More was in Burlington, Wash., taking care of a rim problem on his bike. He was eager to get moving and to make it to the Skagit River.
“I have something to say with the stories and with the photos in ‘Raise the Flag,’ ” he wrote to me in an email. “This has been a long journey for me, not knowing where I am going or how I will go.
“This sounds like this bicycle ride. I don’t know where I am going because I have never been there and I don’t know what I am going to see.”
To read reviews or buy “Raise the Flag,” visit www.jamesmorebooks.com.
Reach Kris Stadalsky at firstname.lastname@example.org.