“Mid-South” was my new word of the day yesterday. It refers to this geographical region, where Tennessee, Arkansas, and Mississippi all come together. I know this is totally juvenile, but I still get excited when I cross from one state to another. I did it a lot yesterday because I had events in all three states. (Childhood flashback – flying on a plane to my grandmother’s in Florida and staring out the window in search of the dotted lines that I was sure were on the ground that showed the state boundaries. When my father explained that they only existed on maps, I was crushed.)
Blytheville High, Home of the Chickasaws. It wasn’t too horribly early, and the wise librarian had doughnuts on hand, so everyone stayed awake and we had a blast. I talked to three groups of students and all sorts of teachers. I also talked on the phone to the daughter of a teacher who is a big fan of my books. She was on her way home from college on spring break. (Hi, Robyn!)
My time at Blytheville made me realize how much I miss visiting schools. I am on a hiatus from “official” school visits (not related to booktours) because I am under contract to write a LOT for the next couple of years. Thank you to Cynthia McCustian who coordinated the visit, and all the students who made the morning so much fun.
Thanks also to the kids from Gosnell High who made it to my event at That Bookstore in Blytheville, along with various and sundry librarians and teachers, so succesful. And while I am thanking, a giant thank-you to Marvel Dickerson who drove me around, put much of the morning together and scored me a terrific salad to eat as we drove to the next signing.
The afternoon was a blur of stock signings – four of them, I think. The stores all had those cardboard standy-uppy things for TWISTED. That was cool. And then I ate dinner. I think I scared my waiter. I was reading my book, waiting for for him to come and take my order. Before he had finished taking his pen out, I said (with perhaps a little too much emphasis) “I need some bread as soon as you can get it to me or I might start eating this table.” My food arrived with haste.
One more event before bedtime. I was the first author to ever speak at the brand-spanking new Books-A-Million branch in Southaven, Mississippi. Many, many thanks to the people who came out. Oh, and Ms. Holifield? I really think you should give extra credit to those students who went to the effort to come out to the signing. They were sweet and fun and deserve some love for going above and beyond the call.
In a little while, I am off to Oxford, MS and I can’t wait. I’ll be speaking at the Oxford Conference for the Book and signing at Square Books Jr. from 3:30-5:30 with Karen Hesse. And if I am really, really, lucky, I am going to see William Faulkner’s house. Squeeeeeeee!