May 28-June 28, 2012:

Ah, dear and patient (and constant) readers, I am not dead. Not nearly dead. I have just been spinning about like a top, trying to get things done, becoming occasionally undone, and feeling ever increasingly guilty about this journal. So here you have a massive catch-up, a month’s worth. I will sound a lot busier than I actually have been because you are getting it all in one swell foop, as Mr. Spooner would have said.


Yes, I got to Scotland on June 4, with no major hiccups, not like last year when a volcanic eruption made travel. . .um. . . interesting. Or the year before when my eardrum burst three hours before I had to leave for the Edinburgh airport. And except for a rather heavy landing and the fact that my wonderful friend Debby mistook the plane I was in on for another one which was an hour late and I had to hang around the airport without sleep for an extra hour, everything went smoothly.


Book Stuff:

*I have (finally and happily) sold my novel Trash Mountain and a picture book, Song of Seasons, to two different publishers,   but otherwise continued to rack up rejections of the nicest possible kind.

*I have been doing (and redoing) changes from editors on Thunder Underground, B.U.G., Grumbles from the Forest, How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah, and about to get notes on The Hostage Prince. Please note–writing is not just writing and then revising, it is also under the editor’s fell eye noodling, modifying, condensing, re-arranging, arguing, augmenting, and being nibbled to death by ducks.

*Inspired by Katherine Langrish’s lovely Forsaken, a 3,000 word “chapter book.” I have attempted some myself. Have been working on Red in the Wood (a Red Riding Hood redaction), First Flight (fairy-ish creatures and two sisters), and re-looking at Shlimiel Comes to America.

*Still writing a poem a day, though occasionally I write several poems and parcel them out amongst the upcoming days. Not sure if that is cheating. Along the way, I seem to be coming up with three distinct possible books of adult poetry: Growing Old (about the aging process), Blue Line (poems about writing), and Wait A Minute ( a calendar of New England weather poems). Also the possibility, though only have a few poems so far, less than ten in each, for Alphabet of Evil (Holocaust), and The Bloody Tide (political poems)

*Mostly though, am trying to finish the draft of the novel Centaur Field since it has a July due date. The trouble is that it keeps getting longer and that’s not good in this case as it is meant (by contract) to be short.


Fun Stuff:

Daughter Heidi and her daughter Maddison and Maddison’s boyfriend Brett came to Scotland for ten days. Mostly it rained. Mostly we ignored it. They visited the ruined castles of Dunotter, Tantallon and Dirleton. The ruined Arbroath Abbey. The ruined St Andrews castle. The ruined St Andrews Cathedral. (Are you sensing a theme here?) Some Pictish stones at Glamis and Aberlimno. The gardens at Glamis Castle. The Seabird trip around the Bass Rock. And twice into Edinburgh. I did some of this with them, did all of the driving. Loved having them, they are all smart and funny and fun, and it’s nice to show the house and the country off.  I adore my family. But it put me behind in my writing schedule and, as you will see a bit later on in this narrative, some other lingering problems as well.

I have seen the following movies: Snow White and the Huntsman (beautiful and even astonishing visuals, bad script, and Kristen Stewart proves for all times that she can’t act. But the Wicked Stepmother (as I have said elsewhere) chews all the scenery and anyone’s undergarments left in her way. Interesting I enjoyed Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Slayer much more. The script was tight, the battles horrifying, and the history amazingly intact.

In Massachusetts, before coming to Scotland, I went to a lovely (if rainy) party for Brett’s graduation. I also visited the Northampton Paradise Arts and Crafts fair with friend Karl, and had dinner with him later in the week. Once in Scotland–dinners in and out with family and friends began in earnest. Watched the Olympic torch being carried up our street, with hundreds of others onlookers. My first ever close up and personal Olympic torch encounter. Had a small party thrown for me at the Botanical Gardens in St Andrews to welcome me back. Tea dates (scones and cream and jam, yum!)Went to a music house party that was super. Took visiting friends around the East Neuk.

And of course I wrote, which was fun in its own way.


Medical  Notes:

Maddison arrived in Scotland with a sore throat, a cough, and snuffling. By the end of their ten days with me, I had caught. . . something. Laryngitis and sinusitis and then, oddly, conjunctivitis which I hadn’t had in maybe thirty-five years. My eye doctor friend Marcel told me that a sinus problem can also lead to the small c. So I ended up. just days after they left, compulsively washing my hands, my glasses, putting gunk in my eyes, and ended the siege with a day’s worth of stomach problems. NOT how I wanted to spend time in Scotland. Among other things, it meant missing a dinner with Debby and Bob, and missing as well going around the St A Open Gardens day with my friend Christine.

And that about sums it up.









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