by Bill Hornung
one individual can have on another has always fascinated lawyer and part-time
author Nancy McCoy. In fact, a brief meeting with Sandy Chapin several
years ago prompted McCoy to write her first book, Butterflies Do Not
Sleep in Hot Tubs.
not a celebrity chaser as a general rule," McCoy said jokingly during
a recent interview. As a long-time Harry Chapin fan, McCoy finally built
up the courage to arrange a hastily scheduled meeting with Sandy during
a last-minute trip to Long Island in 1999.
validated McCoy's internal need to do something. She soon finished
her book that features two prominent chapters about her Chapin fascination,
including a humorous recount of the meeting with Sandy.
think anybody would care or want to publish it," she said of the book
that has received rave reviews by even the highly critical Texas Lawyer
newspaper. The book is a compilation of true stories from McCoy's friends
and family, which include personal experiences that illustrate the positive
influence individuals can have on others through even the smallest of
actions. The stories are touching and often laced with McCoy's signature
was very touched by Harry's music and the message--the message that
we each have a responsibility that we can't ignore," McCoy added.
taken that advice to heart and is now president of the Montgomery County
(Texas) Food Bank. "Eliminating hunger is the first priority
can't improve your condition in life if your belly hurts."
bank serves 11,000 people each month in the county just north of Houston.
donates autographed copies of Butterflies Do Not Sleep in Hot Tubs
to the Chapin Foundation, so 100 percent of the purchase price of books
obtained from the Foundation goes directly to it. Copies can be ordered
through the Chapin family's website www.harrychapinmusic.com.
A portion of the proceeds from sales elsewhere also is donated to the
in the hunger fight has fundamentally changed McCoy's approach even to
her primary profession as an attorney. "You see so much real injustice.
People who are poor have no or very limited access to good quality medical
and zero access to the courts if they can't write a big check
upfront to a lawyer."
practices civil law in between a growing speaking schedule to promote
her books and the food bank. And her second book, Heart
Twisters, has just been released. The novel is set in a small
Texas town that is confronted with religious intolerance when a high school
football player who is Jewish objects to involuntary prayer sessions during
tell everybody it's about religion, politics and sex," McCoy
says about the new book.
she displays common characteristics of the average Chapin fan. She owns
all the CDs and videos she can find. She brought an artist into her home
a couple of years ago to help create a Harry Chapin shrine. It includes:
a framed charcoal drawing of Chapin, an autographed picture and a portion
of the lyrics to "I Wonder What Would Happen To This World,"
all framed by a meticulously painted checkerboard pattern similar to the
cover of the Heads and Tales album.
husband is tolerant of it
but he thinks I'm a little bit over
the top." And McCoy's fascination influenced her daughter to
write a high school paper on "Mr. Tanner" a number of years
her passion for Harry's music and social action is the essence behind
I wanted to do is inspire some introspection. Everybody has great stories
I think there's great value in contemplating the influences in one's
life," McCoy said.
the book has a Chapin-like feel. "I stole one of Harry's themes
of telling about the extraordinary moments in ordinary lives."
Harry was one inspiration, McCoy thanks Sandy for kick-starting her writing
career. "I always wanted to write a book, but meeting Sandy was the
catalyst to get me to do it."
To learn more about Nancy McCoy, visit her website at www.nancymccoyauthor.com.
Watch for the Next Issue of Circle! on March 7