June 5-June 16, 2011:

This has been almost two works of book related stuff, and all without leaving home. Much. Two froends had first babies, one had a second baby, and a friend’s husband died–all in the States. The weather ran from high winds (gales) to bright high sunny summer blue skies, from bucketing rain to sprinkles. The usual.

Rebecca Dotlich and I worked on four paired poems jumping off from nursery rhymes to partner with our book for Boyds Mills, GRUMBLES FROM THE FOREST (based on fairy tales.) This one is called GRUMBLES FROM THE CITY or perhaps GRUMBLES FROM THE STREET and will be based on nursery rhymes. The ones we chose to send in the proposal were: Hey Diddle-Diddle, The Queen of Hearts, Cobbler Cobbler Mend My Shoe, and Little Jack Horner.

I finished the revision based on beta reader Debby’s report of THIRTEENTH FEY and sent it off to the editor. It ran about 54,000 words. Parts of it I like. I worry if the beginning, which is all scene setting and character building, will seem too slow for my wonderful editor. I love slowly unwinding books but then I am not an eleven-year-old reader.

Adam and I finished up the third (or is it the fourth?) revision of B.U.G. and are quite pleased with it. I think we managed to do most of what editor Steve Meltzer wanted without sacrificing our own vision or finding an even better way of doing it. Always a plus.

I sent off the finished poems for the EKATERINISLAV book to Jim Perlman at Holy Cow!

And along the way, I had one proposal (for another poetry book) shot down, a novel turned down, two picture books returned, and three adult poems taken–one for Pirene’s Fountain and two for Faerie Magazine’s mermaid issue. A starred review for THE DAY TIGER ROSE SAID GOODBYE from SLJ and a great review (alas, no star) from SLJ for CREEPY MONSTERS, SLEEPY MONSTERS.

I began work again on THE GIRLS’ BIBLE, going over the first three chapters and adding material and then getting deep into the chapter on Naomi and Ruth. Now if I can somehow boil down this whole tribal marriage customs that deal with consanguinity to a 10-14 age group, all will be copacetic.

Finally, I hosted the Second Annual Scottish YA Fantasy Writers Luncheon and Marching Band meeting at Wayside, with Lisa Tuttle staying overnight because she drove in from the West Coast of Scotland, about six hours. We had the same folks plus two coming, which would have been nine of us, but Elizabeth Kerner hurt her back and couldn’t make it. So there we were: Bob and Debby Harris, Elizabeth Wein, Lisa Tuttle, Anne-Marie Allen (minus the other Elizabeth) and me, plus Alex Nye and Joan Lennon. Lots of shop talk, laughter, wine, huge meal (I made some and the rest was pot luck which everyone brought along). Elizabeth Wein, Bob and Debby, and of course Lisa lasted until about dinner time. The rest left earlier, to catch trains, pick up children, and the like. We feasted on leftovers, mostly pate and cheese. I was exhausted and was in bed by 8, but it was grand.

Other fun stuff: Chinese take out at Wayside with Marianna Lines and partner Pete Kinnear; dinner twice at Bob and Debby’s (along with critiquing of stuff they are working on), lunch with Ann Morrison, lunch with Pam Robertson, tea in Janie and Tom Douglas’ garden, antiquing, and whew! I think that’s it.

Have kept up with my poem a day. Thought this one appropriate for the journal:

June 15:


“You have great facility. Do not be beguiled by it,”

–editor France Keene to me, 1964

I am not only beguiled by it,

I am enraptured, captured,

manacled and chained to it.

As if the faries have glamoured me,

I am bounden to this facility.

Only by constant revision, reworking,

retrenching, re-envisioning, rewriting

can I escape for a moment, a half breath,

the fate of facility, that oily substance

coats everything I touch

until I am sucked under

like all those who died in 1919

at Boston’s Purity Distilling Company

when the great vat collapsed,

shooting rivets like machine gun bullets.

Though that fast, hard iron shot

was not what killed twenty-one people

and unrecorded numbers of horses.

They, like I in the oil of my facility,

drowned in the molasses.

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