September 7-September 24, 2011:

A couple of lost weeks journal-wise because I have been doing lots of stuff, and trying to cycle down in my last month here at Wayside.


To get the sad stuff out of the way, two deaths. One was a neighbor, a man of 59, but that’s not the whole story. Actually he lived a full life for someone with his disability. Butch Labee was born with Down’s Syndrome but he became a mainstay of our small town, working happily as the janitor for the post office. He’d walk down there every day, rain or shine, or snow, or . . . wearing his Red Sox baseball cap, with his Star Trek pin on, he would wash floors, empty trash, and converse non-stop about his obsessions with the Sox and Trek. He was unfailingly polite and happy, and will be much missed.

The other was the “unofficial mayor of Northampton,” Eva Trager, a friend of mine for some thirty plus years. She owned “Country Comfort,” the first alternative clothing store in Northampton, MA, where I have dropped a small fortune over the years. I was one of her earliest customers; though we joked that I was actually the first, but I think possibly in the first five anyway. A tiny woman, probably not five feet tall, she loomed large in all our lives. She was unfailingly upbeat, helpful to everyone, even though she had had kidney failure about twenty years ago, been on dialysis till they finally gave her a new kidney which gave her the last good ten years of her life. After her death, her Main Street storefront was overwhelmed by the flowers. One of a kind, Eva dear, and no one can step into those tiny shoes.

Garden Room:

Livable now, though still not completely finished as it needs a cold seal for the door and some other small stuff. I’d been told, “It will  be done in ten days though count on three weeks” when I accepted the bid June 1.  First people came to work July 29. And here it is mid-September with bits and pieces still to be dealt with. Arrrrgh. However, I’ve been sitting out there reading Jacques D’Amboise’s memoir I Was A Dancer and loving it. Both the garden room and the book. D’Amboise was at SAB five years before me and I had such a crush on him as a 12-13 year old wannabe balleterina, when he was already part of the New York City Ballet company. (Of course, I never got taller than 5’3 and half and was never skinny, so those dreams died hard.)

Books, Writing, Sales:

A possible one or two middle grade novels selling,  but this is not nailed down yet. Three poems taken by a literary journal. Finished more poems. Did several drafts on several speeches. Adam gave my speech in Minneapolis as a Midwest Book Award winner (Elsie’s Bird, thank you very much) and I did a SKYPE presentation at UMass in honor of Dr. Masha Rudman’s gift of thousands of children’s books.

Three mansucripts turned down by one editor, and then four more turned down. (Win a few, lose a few!)

And my website was hacked.

Fun Stuff:

A three and a half day trip to Aberdeenshire, staying with friends Mike and Susan Gassaway, and going all over the county/shire for the Open Studios days.

Lunch with the STANZA poetry festival director, Eleanor. Garden Room party for those who helped put together the Edwardian day bed. Tea with Janie Douglas at Rufflets Country House. Dinner at Vanessa’s. The fantasy writers’ luncheon at Elizabeth Wein’s in Perth: attending–Debby and Bob Harris, Lisa Tuttle, Anne-Marie Allen Caroline Clough, Alex Nye, and of course Elizabeth and me.

Also, tea with Christine,  and Deb with a St A’s UNiversity doctoral student in Edwardian Children’s Books here at the house. And Nora for the movie of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy”.

Finally, Marianna and I went to hear the redoubtable Jean Redpath in a bravura performance of Scottish folksongs at the wee Colinsburgh Town Hall.

Whew, are we tired yet?

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