Last night, at the Downtown Minneapolis Library, we celebrated the launch of Libraries of Minnesota, another beautiful book in the Minnesota Byways series by the MInnesota Historical Society Press. Hey, I managed to fit "Minnesota" in three times in one sentence!
The book contains photos of—um, I think a zillion—Minnesota libraries, along with essays by six Minnesota children's authors, including me. Photos are by Doug Ohman. If you love libraries (and you should), you'll like this book.
It was a fabulous event—books, booze, dessert, and seven hundred people. I must have known about two hundred of them, putting my name recollection skills to a brutal test. Author David LaRochelle, a tall, handsome, distinctive-looking man who I know quite well, approached me...and I drew a big goose egg. FAIL!
The event was organized by The Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, with the lovely and prodigiously competent Alayne Ferguson at the helm. The event was, in my experience, unique in that while about thirty people had the microphone at one point or another, nobody blathered on for long. Even the current and former mayors of St. Paul kept it down to three or four minutes. Carol Connolly provided one of the highlights of the evening when she accepted the Kay Sexton Award for Contributions to Minnesota's Book Community. St. Paul Pioneer Press book columnist Mary Ann Grossman was great too, as she presented the Reader's Choice Award to her Star Tribune counterpart Laurie Hertzel.
The best part of the evening for me, of course, was the strawberry jam with my name on it.
That's right—I won. The hand-blown glass award, designed by artist Dick Huss, is intended, I think, to represent a flame. But I prefer to think of it as strawberry jam preserved in glass. Yum!
This is getting VERY exciting! (Okay, I have no life.) Back in early March I predicted April 16th as the date when the last trace of snow would be gone from the white mountain across the street from our house. Well, today is April 15th, and I am feeling more confident than ever in my prediction.
Here's what it looked like 35 days ago:
Since I'm on a roll here, allow me to venture another prediction: The Rapture will NOT occur on May 12th.
I did something scary this morning. I sent the final revision of The Obsidian Blade (Book One of The Klaatu Diskos trilogy) to Candlewick, where it will be sent straight to copyediting. Why is that scary? Because the next two books in the trilogy must be true to the first volume, and I HATE being locked in.
This is a problem for me, because according to the Myers Briggs Type Indicator, I am decidedly a "P." Loosely interpreted, that means that where decisions are concerned, I like to stay on the fence as long as possible. For example, Mary might notice me wearing running shorts and putting on my running shoes, and say, "Are you going for a run?"
"Probably," I say. Because until I am out the door and running, I might yet change my mind.
Likewise, until the moment I hit the SEND button and dispatched my manuscript twenty minutes ago, I took comfort in the fact that I could still change the name of my protagonist from "Tucker" to "Tiberius," and reorder the chapters one more time, and rework that troubling scene on the roof of Kosh's black barn.
Here's another thumbnail from my notes:
That's Tucker (not Tiberius) confronting a disko in a 2000 year old tomb.
And below is today's Snowmelt Report. I'm sticking with my final melt day prediction of April 16th. Just because I'm a "P" doesn't mean I don't know how to be stubborn.
Our plan is to talk about some of our recent books, read a few short excerpts, talk a little, bicker a little, laugh a lot, and and enjoy the summery thunderstorm that may be going on outside. (NOAA is predicting seventy-two degrees—woo-hoo!)
Please stop by if you are able. If you can't make it to Chanhassen, we are taking our show to the Lyric Arts Center in Anoka on May 7th at 11:00 a.m.
The April 11 edition of The New Yorker is a good one for cartoons. There were at least four that made me laugh, like the clown pointing at a defendant in a courtroom and saying, "J'amuse!"
The one that really hit me hard, though, was a man behind a desk speaking on his phone, asking, "How do you know if you're under the radar or washed up?" Because that phrase, "under the radar," is frequently used in (positive) reviews of my books. It's a military reference - "under the radar" meaning to fly in low and undetected, and presumably be less likely to be shot down. Which is good for the aircraft. But what does it mean in a literary context? Is it good for the book? Or does it just mean it isn't being read? HellifIknow.
Speaking of snow...
Yes! You can see our house peeking through the trees in the upper right hand corner. And Mary's head almost sticks up above the snow pile. The ramps and daffodils are up. We have squirrels in the attic. I think they've been there for a while, but they were under the radar until a few days ago, when they started chewing on something located immediately above our bed. Now they are on my radar in a big way. I am looking up recipes for squirrel pie, squirrel ragout, squirrel etouffee, and squirrel-on-a-stick.