Craig Sheldon is a larger-than-life character in Fairhope’s history, known for building one of the fairytale castles near the Eastern Shore Art Center, carving fantastic, Dr.Seuess-esque “critters” from wood, and enacting social and environmental change in Fairhope. His granddaughter, Megrez Ravel Mosher, recently published Knee Deep in Fly Creek with Sheldon, a collection of Sheldon’s columns from “The Fairhope Courier.”
Mosher, a freelance writer and performer, began work on Knee Deep after she and her father, Dean Mosher, wrote The Spirit of Fairhope.
“I acquired some digital copies of “The Fairhope Courier” while I was researching “The Spirit of Fairhope” and began transcribing the articles every night after I was done working on the book. It took me nearly a year to transcribe a half decade of articles. Some columns were blurry and I had to use context clues and do research to figure out what was missing. It was like piecing together a very old puzzle,” says Mosher.
She says she had always been fascinated by her grandfather’s life, carvings, and stories, and truly began her “research” for Knee Deep after Craig Sheldon died. Mosher was 11, and walked to the library to read his columns on the microfiche.
Mosher says the column, written from the mid 1940s to the early 1980s, explored local and international topics with an ancient talking bulldog named Godfrey.
“He advocated to get rid of paid parking downtown, environmental protection of the bay, and helped start the Arts and Crafts festival, just to name a few. I believe ownership of where you live is very important. Craig deeply cared about this town, and through his work I believe he helped to introduce new ideas and at the same time helped protect what makes Fairhope so special,” says Mosher.
Mosher worked with Mobile Register political cartoonist J.D. Crowe to create illustrations the Knee Deep book.
“I was so thankful when he agreed to illustrate the book. His art helped bridge Craig’s commentary and bring it to a modern audience. So much of what my grandfather had to say sixty years ago is still relevant. I’d like to think if he were still alive today, J.D. Crowe would still be doing the same thing,” says Mosher.
Knee Deep in Fly Creek with Sheldon is available at Page and Palette bookstore, and Mosher is spending time in Fairhope right now to promote the book and work on other projects.
“I’m in an interesting place right now. I live between Fairhope and Brooklyn. My work as a freelance writer and performer takes me to the city often, and for that I am very thankful. In the city, I train for dance and circus arts, or work behind the scenes on different productions, but Fairhope will always be home.
I make it a point to come home for months on end to work on projects, write, and be with my family. It’s hard to stray from Fairhope too long these days. One of my favorite things to do is to train at Creative Outlet Dance Center and then go to Latte Da to work on writing,” says Mosher.