BERLIN — Sheldon Larmore’s new work of non-fiction, “Be Quiet and Listen,” has shot from the gate since being published this winter.
The book focuses on the life of David Larmore, Sheldon and wife Sara Belle Larmore’s son who was born severely handicapped. While some might first mistake the story for a tragedy, Sheldon is adamant that David’s life is about faith and hope.
Born with Spina Bifida, David was not expected to lead anything resembling a normal life, according to his father.
“At his birth, we were told to expect nothing and appreciate anything. We were advised not to bond with him but to put him in an institution,” said Sheldon. “Of course, our answer was an immediate ‘no.’”
Sheldon and Sara Belle went the opposite direction. While doctors advised them to institutionalize David and not form attachments, they did everything to offer him a normal life.
“David never knew he was handicapped,” said Sara Belle.
She called her son an “overachiever” who spent so much time volunteering and thinking about others that he never dwelled on the ways he was different. It was that idea of selflessness that led Sheldon to write, “Be Quiet and Listen.”
“We felt we had a message of hope to share with families who have or are facing the same problems we faced with a physically handicapped child,” he said.
Though David spent most of his time in a wheelchair battling physical and mental challenges, he still managed to devote thousands of hours volunteering. He was recognized on many occasions for his efforts, especially in the face of his disabilities. Awards included the Rotary Club’s “Four-Way Test Award,” Maryland’s “Most Beautiful People Award” and a certificate of appreciation from the Salisbury City Council given only hours before his passing, and many others.
However, Sheldon asserted that the book is not about David’s awards as much as his “courage, faith, and determination.”
While the will was there to write David’s story, his father admitted that the process was difficult in the beginning. Having spent most of his life teaching elementary school and then serving in school administration, Sheldon was inexperienced with writing long-form non-fiction. Sara Belle had also spent most of her life as an elementary school teacher.
“I’ve never written or dreamed of writing,” said Sheldon. “The only experience I have as far as writing goes are office memos, letters to parents or simple kinds of grant writing.”
The book, like David, was born without great expectations.
After writing the initial chapter, Sheldon said that he felt overwhelmed and the story took a backburner for the next four years. When friends began to ask about whether the book would ever see the light of day, Sheldon managed to claw out another four chapters before the scope of the project again ground to a halt.
It wasn’t until Sheldon received what he believes was a call from a higher being that “Be Quiet and Listen,” began to fall into place.
“All of this is a very God-inspired kind of thing,” he said. “And we say that humbly.”
According to Sheldon, he and Sara Belle both felt a “push” to work on the book. While Sheldon was writing, he said that Sara Belle was essential doing layout work and keeping everything on schedule.
Sheldon gave special thanks to Tate Publishing for the agency’s support. First contacting Tate with only 13 chapters of the book complete, Sheldon said that a casually sent email resulted in several return calls from the publisher, including one by the owner, all expressing interest in, “Be Quiet and Listen.” Sheldon admitted that he was nervous sending in those first 13 chapters for review but that the response from Tate was incredible and the partnership has been “like a match made in Heaven” ever since.
Since being released by Tate on Feb. 5, Sheldon said more than 400 copies of the book have sold just by word of mouth in the community. With “Be Quiet and Listen” now on Amazon and available through other retailers, the Larmores’ goal that the story will reach a wide audience and that the book’s message will help those struggling in similar situations or anyone at all who finds themselves facing challenges in life bigger than they ever expected to beat. But by putting trust in family, God and people, Sheldon promised nothing in life is too heavy.
“We saw miracles and had many prayers answered throughout [David’s] life,” he said, adding that while David remained physically handicapped until he passed, his son was “emotionally and spiritually healed.”
The Larmores also hope that David’s story becomes a bestseller and financially successful. Their reasons, though, are inarguably altruistic — 100 percent of all proceeds from the book will go toward purchasing supplies, equipment, respite care, ramps, canes, crutches and the like for handicapped individuals who need the assistance but can’t afford it.
“The community gave so much support, love and hope to David that we see this endeavor as a way for him and us to give back to the community that so willing shared with us,” Sheldon said.
With the book seeing early success, Sheldon and Sara Belle Larmore are now working to advertise “Be Quiet and Listen,” while traveling the area for book signings. “Be Quiet and Listen” is currently available through Tate Publishing or visiting the author’s website at www.sheldonlarmore.tateauthor.com. Copies are also available on Amazon, or at Henretta’s Attic or the Community Pharmacy, both in Salisbury. The book can also be obtained by emailing the Larmores at email@example.com.