My laptop (where all my website information resided) died the almost True Death. When the geek squad resurrected it, all its settings were lost. Only now have I gotten back on with the help of my ever-patient webmaster who has gone bald in my service. (Thanks, Igor.)

Expect some updates soon.

With Apologies. . .

Sharp-eyed Marcel caught me in a mis-statement. (Who knew he reads my journal!)

I wrote that he said “Any landing you survive is a good one.” But what he actually told me was “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing.” And there is a difference. Nuance is everything. Thanks, Marcel. And a tug of the forelock to you.

September 8-12, 2010

One of the things I love about living part of the year in Scotland is how anonymous I am. I give few if any lectures, workshops, speeches, signings. I am known here as Mrs. Stemple. Oh sure, my close friends know I am a well-known writer in the States. But since very few of my books are in libraries, schools, or bookstores here, there is little call on my time. I write, read, play with my friends, and host a variety of tourists who come to visit.

So it was with a bit of trepidation that on the 10-11 of this month, I flew off to do SCBWI Ireland. I had built in a day to see Dublin (David and I had been there 9 years ago so I wasn’t entirely an Ireland virgin) and the conference gave me Jacqui, a Canadian who’d lived in Dublin, to be my spirit guide. And what a good guide she turned out to be. We saw the Book of Kells and all the other illuminated books on display at Trinity College. Then we went off to the Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle where an amazing display of Mughal (Indian and Eastern imperial books) illuminated manuscripts were on display. So bookended between these two exhibits of illustrated books, we had a simply wonderful day out. Of course food was involved as well and a lot of walking.

I’d been put up in a rather nicely appointed hotel, the Gresham, and I did a spot of people watching while drinking tea and waiting to be picked up for a dinner out that night with children’s book folks.

Saturday of the conference, I listened to Irish authors, illustrators, editors, agents–and then gave the last two speeches of the day. Normally I can gauge my audience, but had no idea how to pitch my talk since I know little-to-nothing about the Irish children’s book scene. And I had to cut the second talk short because the library where the conference was held had to close for the day. And there was no booksale so no signing. But a lot of people came up to me to say that this was the best speech(s) they’d ever heard at one of these conferences. So I guess it went well. And then I picked up my luggage and was off to home.

On Ryan Air. The less said about that the better! Except as my friend Marcel said, “Any landing you survive is a good one.”

Otherwise, bookwise, Bob Harris and I finished up the proposal for a graphic novel called JOEY DANTE’S TRIP TO HECK and I sent it off to the editor. Now all fingers and toes crossed. Got a rejection letter wanting to see other things. (Of course.) Did a bit of organizing toward a new proposal with Jason but didn’t start the proposal proper as I have begun the count down to going home on Thursday.

Went to the Doune Antique Center with Debby, an hour and a half trip, and bought an Art’s & Crafts side table which I tried in three different rooms till I found where it needed to live. Had drinks one evening with new friends, Susie and David Sims who are children’s book author/illustrators who live in Crail. And then a long day out with Marianna first spending a lovely time with our friend Gilian Forbes, a stone carver extraordinaire before heading off for other Perth Open Studios. We also took a side jaunt to Dunning to view an astonishing Pictish stone cross.

And so my 2010 Scottish sojourn begins to be “fair drawn in” just what the Scots say about the fall nights.

September 6-7, 2010:

First, I know I wrote 1020 as the date on the previous journal entry. I just don’t know quite how to correct that. So simply take it as a warning that authors without editors are typo-machines. They make us better than we are though, alas, not better than we should be.

Now as to books and writing, I wrote a not-wonderful poem about children, revised and reworked the Joey Dante’s Trip to Heck proposal and sent it Bob Harris, my co-author. And received the first pictures for another book proposal with Jason right now called Animals in Abundance. But haven’t yet gotten started on the writing.

Finished reading Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins’ third book in the trilogy. Thought that she and the editor blinked on this one. Either it should have been four books, not three, with this one starting back a bit and showing her return home to find everything destroyed and how she makes her way to the new underground place and manages to become a cooperating part of the new community (or pretends to be). Or else just give us a couple of chapters more at the beginning of this book. As it is, it feels awfully told and not shown. Once the real action kicks in, though, about halfway through,  it’s another super page-turner.

As for my fun life, Debby and I drove under a louring sky to Doune and another big antiques mall. I bought a few holiday gifts and a lovely 1900s Arts&Crafts side table. Have tried it in the dining room, but don’t think it is sitting there comfortably. Will have to move it around a bit.

A quiet two days, actually.

August 30-September 5, 1020:

The first thing this week taught me: though it has been four and a half years since my beloved David died, grieving is a process that will be part of me forever. Certain anniversaries still have power over me. September 2 would have been our 48th wedding anniversary.  Memories flood in, no longer tsunami strength, often not even a hurricane or Nor’easter. But still powerful enough to remind me that memory can release strong emotions.

And how is that a bad thing?  To be reminded of love is not something to abhor, ignore, shut away. To be reminded of the capacity I have to love is a positive, not a negative. To remember a good life well lived, a man who was my best friend, helpmeet, lover;  a man filled with brilliance and laughter; husband, father to my children, grandfather extraordinaire, a significant part of my life, a significant influence on my living. . . nothing wrong remembering that. So I celebrated him instead of weeping, soul clap hands and sing.

Otherwise, some significant book news. The State of Maine buying 11,000 copies of Baby Bear’s Books to pass out to every child newly entering school, Hallmark doing a special five-year thing with Not All Princesses Dress in Pink, first copies of How Do Dinosaurs Laugh Out Loud sighted (though not be me), a bunch of lovely reviews  including a starred review for Switching on the Moon and a second star for Elsie’s Bird. Oh–and two rejections on manuscripts.

As for writing, I finished a proposal and about eight poems for a book with Jason called WingBeats, revised three chapters for Girls’ Bible and sent off to Barbara Goldin, revised the two speeches for my Dublin trip next week. Did several email interviews.

On the fun side: afternoon tea at Rufflets with Janie Douglas, a dinner at Wayside with Kathy Humphries, several dinners with Debby and Bob, lunch at Elizabeth Wein’s great house in Perth with Bob and Deb, dinner at Pam’s, dinner out at the Byre Theater with Claire G. Then tea and poetry in the Sitooterie when I delivered Christine’s birthday cake and early presents. The next day was her 70th birthday party,  in her wild back garden replete with tea sandwiches, cream tea, wines, and Olympic games (don’t ask) and of course more poetry.

I was to head off to Aberdeenshire for two lovely days with friends Mike and Susan, but she all unaccountably has come down with mumps (or something very like it), so erring on the side of caution and remembering that last year I flew home with a burst eardrum, I canceled the trip. MUMPS! I ask you. . .



Valid CSS