Chilly CA

It hasn’t been exactly warm here, but it hasn’t snowed so I’m not complaining. Had a blast at La Jolla Country Day and am doing it all over again at the Chadwick School which I think is just outside LA. (The geography of Los Angeles confuses me. The greater LA area feels as big as Vermont. All I know is that if you’re looking at the ocean, you’re facing west.)

Image hosting by TinyPic Frozen Chadwickians. They aren’t quite used to the brisk temperatures out here. But they are really nice.

Image hosting by TinyPic The Writing Workshop – highlight of the day for me!!

Image hosting by TinyPic The best sign I’ve seen.

My hotel is interesting. The people in the room next door have deadly boring lives which they detailed LOUDLY on the phone last night for hours. Argh. And the guy who decided that it was a good idea to race his motorcycle around the parking lot when I was trying to sleep? I wanted to introduce him to the Boring People. Maybe they could have talked him to death or something. But except for those two things, this has been a stellar trip and I’ve had the chance to hang out with fantastic people, so it’s all good.

Airplanes are magic

It’s always hard leaving home, especially for a week. Sunday morning was last minute packing, tea-drinking, mild fretting. Because I had proclaimed Spring the day before, we were enjoying more lake effect snow.

Image hosting by TinyPic The drive south to Syracuse.

But we got to the airport in one piece and my flight took off with no problems. I watched Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in the air (movies in the air – amazing) and scribbled ideas and headed into better weather.

Let’s review yesterday’s visuals:

Image hosting by TinyPic Mexico, NY

Image hosting by TinyPic San Diego, CA

::great sigh::

The very, very nice people of La Jolla Country Day School took me out to dinner last night at a restaurant that overlooked the Pacific ocean and the setting sun… yeah, it had everything, crashing surf, beach, crazy freezing cold surfers, you name it. But the company was even better and it was a terrific way to end a long day. I leave here in a minute to go to the school. Tonight I fly to LA, tomorrow, the Chadwick School.

A rant-free post

No, really. I promise. Because I am in a good mood. A great mood. Georgetown won yesterday and SUNY Albany almost beat UConn. I love UConn, but come on – how can you not root for Albany in that situation? I love March.

Another reason for feeling so great today? The farmers down the road from us have started boiling their maple sap. It doesn’t matter how much it snows this week, Spring has arrived.

This means it’s time for me to hit the road again. Tomorrow I catch a plane to San Diego. (Tough, I know. Just pray that the Stinky Guy doesn’t sit next to me again.) I’ll be speaking in LaJolla on Monday, at the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes on Tuesday and Wednesday, and I’ll be giving a public presentation at the Cerritos Library on Friday evening. I come home a week from today.

One of yesterday’s highlights was a trip to the library that resulted in an armful of books for the trip. A lot of them are fantasies – it’s about time I read more of those. So I have the perfect Saturday lined up: writing, reading, basketball, and packing. OK, so it would be really perfect if I didn’t have to pack. But nobody gets a perfect life, so I can deal with it. I’ll get BH to build a fire in the fireplace tonight. That will balance out the sadness of packing my suitcase again.

What are the ingredients of your perfect Saturday in March?

Green Friday

I’d like to take this moment to say thank you to my Donovan and Foley ancestors for leaving Ireland, braving the Atlantic Ocean, and coming to America. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all! I’ll be playing Celtic music and scaring the dog with my poor imitation of an Irish jig all day.

My friend (and awesome writer) Susan Campbell Bartoletti, and noted author Patricia Reilly Giff both have excellent books about the Irish Potato Famine.

I’ve been working on pictures books and shoveling the mountains of correspondence that precede a school visit trip. I woke up this morning and watched the sun crawl across the ceiling and came up with the opening lines of this new picture book that’s been nipping at my heels. (Details on next week’s adventure tomorrow.) It’s really nice when new stories start to talk to you.

The Oklahoma House of Representatives passed the bill that forces libraries to remove all books with sexual or homosexual themes (like SPEAK) to the “adults only” section of the library. The vote? 60 for, 33 against. The OK House of Reps doesn’t trust families to choose books for their children. Let’s see – wiretapping without a warrant is legal, book banning is legal… how long will it be before these fringe groups succeed in burning our Constitution to ashes and installing cameras in our homes to monitor our behavior?

If this upsets you, then ask yourself what you have done in the past month to participate in our democracy. If we do not take our government back, this is just the beginning.

And if any of you reading the above two paragraphs feel inclined to make assumptions about my faith or politics based on those opinions, let me state for the record that I am a Christian and I am more conservative than liberal. I am fed up with both political parties. Please let me know if you hear of a political leader who has common sense, who won’t take money from lobbyists, and who has a clue about our country’s history. I haven’t found one yet.

OK, end of rant.

Gerry MacNamara, hold your head up high. We love you and are proud. Did you see Adam Morrison at the end of the Gonzaga game??? Wow. Georgetown plays at 2:35pm on CBS…. might…have…to….wander….by…the…TV…

What is up with Oklahoma?

A bow in appreciation to boricuababy1119 for pointing out my shameful neglect of Women’s History Month. (Check out the poem she posted on my LJ yesterday.) It is the kind of thing we should all be celebrating!!

And appreciation to all of you for sharing your Cat 4 books with yesterday. I suspect a lot of us will be going to the library to check out some new titles.

Speaking of libraries… there is a problem in Oklahoma. The state legislature is very close to passing House Bill 2158. The bill would take away money from Oklahoma libraries unless they move all materials that have “homosexual or sexually explicit subject matter” that were written for kids or young adults into a special “adults-only” section of the library. That’s right – they want to take YA books that contain references to sexual behavior, and the books written for children that explain reproduction, and lock them away in a section of the library that kids cannot access.

You can read more about this, including newspaper editorials and librarians responses at AS IF.

This is ridiculous. If parents don’t want their children to borrow a book like SPEAK or PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER then it is the right and the responsibility of that parent to say “no” to their kid. Is the Oklahoma Legislature implying that parents are incapable of supervising their children? A public library is PUBLIC – it is the sacred space of democracy wherein people are free to learn. Are the people of Oklahoma going to let the government take over the parenting of their children?

I suspect that there has been some clever manipulation going on there. I suspect that someone said “let’s protect the children.” Who wouldn’t support a statement like that? I certainly want to protect children. In fact, my career is based on it. I try to provide stories for kids and teens that will help them look at the confusing world they live in and (I pray) make healthy, moral decisions when they are confronted with difficult choices.

Do any of you know more about this situation that I do? What do you think of this? What would you do if you went to the library and asked for a YA book and was told it was off-limits for anyone under 18 years old? Is it American to censor libraries?