Sister of ‘Louie’s Saxophone’ author to host children’s book event
May 19, 2011
Steamboat Springs — Ali Boehm remembers her little brother, Trevor, as a vibrantly creative and charismatic young man. He was gifted, she said, and showed talent and passion for everything he did.
"He was so much fun," said Ali, who moved to Steamboat Springs the day after her brother's funeral two and a half years ago. "He was really sweet, and he loved to be the center of attention. For being seven years younger than me, he was really awesome to hang out with."
But Trevor, who grew up in Monument, faced challenges from struggles with bipolar disorder to suicide attempts. Although he was wildly creative and energetic in a manic phase, his depressive cycles had him at odds with the world.
At age 19, he took his own life while at school at Northwestern University in fall 2008.
"It was so hard for him," Ali said. "He was so talented and gifted, but he couldn't see it in himself."
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But he left a legacy behind, in the form of a children's book he wrote and illustrated at age 16 that he titled "Louie's Saxophone."
Finding it among his possessions after his death, his family decided to publish the book and share his story with the world.
In the book, a desperate canary without a voice finds he can still color the world with music — by playing the saxophone.
"Try to make music another way," Trevor wrote in the book. "You can't give up because you can't do something one way, you have to try it another way."
Although Trevor never fulfilled his dreams of acting and singing and shining bright as a star, perhaps he, too, found another way to affect the world.
"It's a great message for anyone whether they struggle with mental health or not," Ali Boehm said. "It's about changing patterns in our life … finding a new way to find beauty and inspiration in your lives."
Boehm will host a book reading, discussion and a self-portrait art activity for children at 1 p.m. Saturday at Off the Beaten Path Bookstore.
The book doesn't mention suicide, and the event Saturday is child-friendly, with the discussion centered on individual expression and finding one's authentic voice.
All of the proceeds from the sale of the book will be donated, with 50 percent going to the local Reaching Everyone Preventing Suicide organization and the other 50 percent going to the national Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance.
REPS director Ronna Autrey said Trevor Boehm's story — and Louie's — can hopefully be educational about finding a positive way to make a difference in the world.
And hopefully, she said, Trevor's story could help save a life.
"It's another chance to talk to a group of people and answer questions they might have and help dispel the stigma of mental health," she said. "It's a shame that we have to lose people to (bipolar disorder). He obviously had a ton of talent. (The book) is a sweet, sweet story, it really is."
The hardcover edition, on sale at Off the Beaten Path, features quotes from Trevor, his original watercolor illustrations and a font that was designed using Trevor's handwriting.
Although Ali Boehm said publishing the book was a healing process for her and her mother, she also hopes it can start a conversation in the Steamboat community.
"I think the more it's talked about, the more that stigma can be removed," she said, adding that her brother had been embarrassed about his condition.
"Maybe it can inspire someone else to find a different way to make music."
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