April 4-7, 2010:

Spring has sprung a great deal earlier than usual. We had temps in the 90s, daffodils breaking out like the pox all over the garden, the dogwood in full bloom, forsythia cascading down the east side of the house, and the little sun-generated lights lining the path between my house and Heidi’s so chock-full of energy, they blazed all night long.

And the birds. Did I mention the birds? Not warbling, but shouting their dawn chorus, even before the light. Maybe they are encouraged by those sunlamps along the path!

Ah yes, spring. Riotous, exuberant, ecstatic–and early.

And was there book news to bolster the idea of fertile new year beginnings? Ah yes, I blossomed out into the beginning of a new (and under contract) novel that I had not expected to begin until Scotland. Snow in Summer–based on my short story of the same name–tumbled out 2,000 words while on a trip to New York City.

I was in the city on book business, to pick up an award for A Mirror to Nature, the John Burroughs Society award, one of four children’s books thus honored. I went in because the luncheon (small, intimate, charming) was held at the Museum of Natural History, a place sacred to my childhood. I hadn’t been back there since David and I took our own children in (oh, probably) the late ’70s or early ’80s. Stayed over the night before at cousin Pam and Billy’s apartment. Had dinner with friends Delia Sherman and Ellen Kushner at their gorgeous Arts&Crafts decorated Riverside Drive apartment. Drove straight home after the awards lunch, a tiring drive made even more tiring by huge tailbacks at Norwalk and again in New Haven because of accidents.

Read my new novel start to my writing group on Tuesday, and they loved loved loved the voice. Hurrah!

Heard that How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon has won an award in Oregon and since I will be there next week, I will be getting that first hand. And tomorrow (Thursday) I am receiving a Massachusetts Reading Assn. Life Achievement Award. Wow, three awards in a week and a half. I mustn’t let it go to my head! (Well, maybe just a little.)

The first bathroom is complete. Well, almost. You know how these things are! The second is started. It has many more problems, though. Not the least is that the marvelous Dan the Handyman is taking a two week vacation in the midst of it. But we carry on carrying on.

Which reminds me–happy poetry month. Here’s a poem of mine for fun, first published online at Miss Rumphius Effect ©2009. In case you are feeling blue.

Carrying On Carrying On

When life is a blevit of failure and grief

We carry on carrying on.

When life is so tres, even nothing’s relief,

We carry on carrying on.

When things of the future are things of the past,

When death is before us and first is the last,

When everything comes as a TNT blast,

We carry on carrying on.

When all the mananas are dwindling down,

When slips on bananas are tattered and brown,

When it’s too hard to smile and much simpler to frown

We carry on carrying on.

I’ll carry on you, if you’ll carry on me

On a tres filled with sorrow, and crackers and brie.

And the only thing tres-er is so tres jollie

That we carry on carrying on.

Interstitial Moment:

I have begun a new book, a short novel called Snow in Summer, which is based on a short story of the same name and is a Snow White in Appalachia story. As with any new start, I am uplifted, excited, buoyed up by possibilities. Soon enough the reality of the slog will kick in. Soon enough I will be devastated by how little I know, how hard the road, how difficult a choice I have made. Soon enough I will worry that this is the time the magic will not work. Soon enough.

But right now, everything is possible, I see the horizon stretching to infinity, the wind is soft on my shoulder, birds sing.

March 30-April 3, 2010

Ah writing:

I revised three different speeches, adding huge swatches of material. Probably time to write a whole new group of speeches, but honestly I don’t think I have anything new to say!

Wrote opening and two (short) chapters of the novel version of Snow in Summer. Agent is working hard on the contract, and I really was not planning to start this till summer. But I had an idea and it started to flow. I have learned not to put a stop-cock into that flood.

Retold a new story for Jewish Fairy Tale Feasts. Over to Heidi.

BUG: revised the first 13 chapters. Sent it off to Adam.

Saw the illustrations and layouts for Princess Pig which is absolutely adorable, except Heidi’s name as mis-spelled throughout.

Also highights:

A seder at Barbara Goldin’s house, a long talk with an editor friend, video interview by kids at Hatfield Elementary, a photo interview with someone doing a book on people who follow their heart’s desire, meeting with the lawyer on my will. And a long walk with Glendon on the amazing spring day, all along the Connecticut River. That last was the best!

All in all, a full few days. I have no brains left from all the writing. A good feeling actually. And though the vrious insurance companies now say I have to stop my physical therapy (they do not reward maintainance, only pay out for new injuries!) I am doing well because of keeping up with my exercises.

And spring has sprung. The daffodils are blooming, the dogwood has burst into bud, bluets are covering the front lawn, and the robins are absolutely screaming with lust.

 

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