January 8-15, 2011:

Since I spent more than half of the week in my my jammies because I had a buzzsaw in my throat and muscus waterfalling from my nose,  I got little writing done. First cold in well over a year, and at times I worried about a strep, but eventually things got better.

After too many days of watching mindless tv and napping, I managed to pull myself together and get all of the galleys done on Snow in Summer, write a short essay of “The Distinctive Voice” (400 words) for a someone else’s book on writing, penned a few not-very-good poems, and did revisions on about six chapters of BUG. For me that was minutiae for a week. And these weeks go galloping ahead, whether I am fully engaged with them or not.

I was also involved in a dialogue in front of an audience with my dear friend Corinne Demas and sponsored by a new local writers’ umbrella group, Straw Dogs Collective. We were addressing what it means to be a well-published, hard-working writer. Since I expected maybe 10 people would make it, and the Straw Dog folks were hoping for 25, we were all blown away by the 90 people who pushed into the APE Gallery space in Northampton. There weren’t enough chairs and people were sitting on the floor and on boxes. And buying books like crazy afterwards.

Then yesterday, I was on a panel with four of the artists who have worked on my books: Jane Dyer, Barry Moser, Ruth Sanderson, Bruce Degan on a panel at the Carle Museum. Again, I had small expectations, and there seemed to be close to 200 people there, including 7 of my Yolen cousins and Heidi. Afterwards, I did a galley talk for about 40 of them. I guess the moral of these two events is that I should always surround myself with good people!

But during the week, I had to cancel two lunches and a meeting at my house–one to snow, two to sickness–but still managed at the end of my sick time to get to Mira Bartok’s launch for her amazing memoir, The Memoruy Palace, and the private party after. Went with my friend Bob Marstall since we are both dear friends of Mira’s and her husband Doug. But stayed out much too late, and didn’t get home till past midnight. Set me back a bit in my recovery.

Along the way, I also signed contracts for the Grumbles in the Forest poetry collection written with Rebecca Dotlich, for a French edition of Emperor & the Kite (first published in 1967, so there is always hope in this business!) and for a Korean edition of Elsie’s Bird.

Looking forward to a better work week starting NOW.

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