April 2-3, 2012:

Mourning friends simply does not get any easier. I suppose it is a sign of how old I am. But dear Peg Davol died last week and this week I went with my writing group to sit for awhile with our friend, colleague, mate Anna Kirwan who is in hospice care at her home. She is serene and accepting. I wrote this poem about her:


For Anna, Luminous in Her Dying


You have the face of a medieval angel,

hair a halo of gray curls,

and the birds by your bedside,

alerted by our conversations,

sing hallelujahs into the air.

I do not think I can be a celebrant

at your death bed, it would be indecent

since I do not believe as you believe,

the throne of glory and all that stuff.

But I can hold your hand, make metaphor

of your face, your curls, your parakeets,

And that will have to be enough,

if only for me, not you, who has that whole

God in Heaven, next adventure thing going for you.

Me, I just have grief.


I have a life, too, though in the face of Anna’s moment, it seems very–oh, I don’t know–prosaic. I received a copy of Conclave magazine with three of my poems leading the pack. I got ten copies of son Jason’s coffee table book Kiawah which is just gorgeous. I wrote a bit on Magnus, thought a bit about the Centaur Field book and fiddled with it. Entertained Peter Beagle, Connor (his business manager) and Connor’s wife Terri. We went out to dinner. They stayed over. We gabbed and gabbed and gabbed. I made them breakfast in the morning. Went for a back doctor check up. Did some pre-packing for my forthcoming trip to Minnesota.

But all the while, Anna’s luminous face was before me.


March 10-April 1, 2012:

Two hacker attacks on my website later, and am trying to post this. I mean–how small can you get, hacking a website where kids to go to to do research for author studies? Hey, guys–go mess with a multi-national arms dealers or rotten credit card companies or super pac political organizations.

During the time small-minded hackers were shutting me down, I wrote about  twenty poems, worked up to the next to last chapter on The Hostage Prince (son Adam who is co-writing it is writing the last chapter) and a couple of chapters in Centaur Field (almost to the end of that as well.) Also, I rewrote the Magnus/Unnatural History Museum piece which I’m doing with Mira Bartok and set it into short chapters, which is about a third of the book, I think. I wrote a couple of short (compressed) pieces, the promised essay/intro for a new Margot Lanagan collection, did some work on a picture book called Monster K which Heidi and I are writing. Heidi and I went to Watertown/Boston to work all day on final edits of Bad Girls with the editor and art director. Reveled in the art work by Rebecca Guay. Managed a few final edits on Grumbles from the Forest, a book of poems Rebecca Kai Dotlich and I have written. Got movie contract for the How Do Dinosaur books.

Along the way, sold three poems to Conclave Magazine, one short piece to a magazine of Compressed Lit, had the Lanagan piece accepted.

Books in: first copy of Last Laughs: Animal Epitaphs, ARC of Curse of the Thirteenth Fey, paperback bookclub edition of Pretty Princess Pig.

Other stuff: Regular swim therapy, writers’ group meeting, teas and dinners with friends, the Amherst Ballet fete, a poetry reading at Smith where friends read, regular (new) WHMP radio show with Heidi, on a panel of writers for local public radio to raise money, went to hear Alan Reid at the Iron Horse, saw “The Hunger Games”, flew to Michigan where I gave a talk at the Battle Creek library (and had a touch of food poisoning), went to a Balkan folk dance evening with a friend where I realized I am not the dancer I used to be, celebrated my granddaughters’ birthday with a dinner at the Go Ten, went to the illustrator guild’s meeting, and was on four or five panels at an sf/fantasy convention at Smith College, as well as a celebratory party for Mira Bartok who’s marvelous book The Memory Palace recently won the National Book Critics’ Circle award for memoir.

Am I tired? Yes.

Will I do this sort of thing again?

Of course.

Its my job, my love, my fascination, my enduring passion.



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