Many thanks for the kind wishes and birthday messages many of you sent yesterday. It was a really nice day. We went out briefly Saturday night, so I officially started Year #44 dancing my fool head head off. The day itself was fairly calm, except for when I played Gretchen Wilson so loud I shook the dust out of the rafters. I spent a lot of time on the phone catching up with all the daughters, worked on my revision, hung out with my parents, went to the gym (want to make it to the next birthday, after all), and was treated to pie and chili courtesy of my Beloved Husband. He and Number One Son also gave excellent gifts: a book about pirates and Jefferson, and Anansi Boys, the latest from an author whose books I worship, Neil Gaiman. Ended the day watching a fire in fireplace.
I adore being the Birthday Queen.
I leave tomorrow for New York City, so it’s laundry, packing, and last minute stuff again today. I am taking Amtrak to NYC instead of a plane in an effort to get more writing time into a travel day. I’ll let you know how that goes. I’ll be speaking at the Academy of Urban Planning on Wednesday afternoon, and I think I’ll be at Long Island City High School in Queens on Thursday morning. Both visits are part of the New York Reads program sponsored by the New York Women’s Agenda. Home by Thursday night, as long as Amtrak doesn’t go belly up.
I have a couple emails I’ll post and respond to when I return. One note to Ms. Putnam who was looking for a list of my books. I have a full list on the website.
My talented, lovely, funny and honest editor Sharyn November (aka sdn) has posted pages to her website that respond to common questions about becoming an editor, and the truth about the slush pile.
Realistic News for Aspiring Editors
Realistic News for Aspiring Writers
I came across two notes as I cleaned out my backpack this evening. The first is from the conference I attended in Colorado. Chris Raschka challenged us to write a limerick. Since I was surrounded by teachers in Greely, CO, this is what I wrote. (It has two endings; the first pessimistic, the second, optimistic.)
There was a school teacher from Greely,
who distributed books rather freely.
Her class a chaotic,
imaginative riot –
her students’ success deemed unseemly.
Her class a chaotic,
imaginative riot –
her kids sprawled happily on the ceiling.
The second is a great school library suggestion from Jerry Laub, a high school librarian in Ohio. Jerry wrote to tell me that he has (brightly colored) comment papers stuck in his YA books so he can get direct feedback from readers about which books they love and which books they loathe. Brilliant!
Yes, I woke up to the alarm, thank goodness. Made both planes, sat on the runway in Philadelphia in the rain. Talked with a woman who lives in a house built in 1830. She has four dogs, a missing tooth, and a great laugh. I drank tomato juice. By the time I arrived home, the sun was shining on the last of the fire and pumpkin-colored leaves. I do love this season more than anything.
I have to leave again on Tuesday, so this is a busy weekend. My family keeps reminding me that I turn 44 on Sunday. Hard to believe… I still feel fifteen.
Have a glorious weekend everyone. Go outside and enjoy the fresh air!
It’s been a long day, but a fulfilling one. Thanks to everyone from Seneca Ridge and River Bend Middle Schools and Dominion High School for being so nice and making the day fly. I’m going to wear my Dominion shirt home on the plane. I spoke at the public library tonight to a crowd that was much bigger than I expected. The reason? Some smart teachers gave their students 50 bonus points if they showed up and asked questions. They asked very good questions so I scribbled out the 50 and wrote in 100 on their passes.
And how is this for bizarre? There was a group of children’s writers in the audience. No, that wasn’t weird at all. What was weird was that one of them, Valerie, was with me on the same exchange program to Denmark back in 1978. There were 22 American kids in that group and somehow the two of us wound up writing for kids, and in the same library at the same time!!!
(OK, everybody sing It’s A Small World After All now.)
Freaked me all the way out.
I am officially beat. I have to wake up at 4:30 am to make my plane. But I promised I’d post these photos first.
Seneca Ridge students who were good sports about sitting on the floor.
Dominion High School, which has really nice students.
Time to faceplant into the pillow. zzzzzzzzzzzz…….