May 17, 2013

These past three months have been very full–new friends and old, and new book ideas simmering as I talk with readers about earlier books.

SALT is almost ready–I’ve seen the jacket and will have a “hold-in-my-hands” copy in about two weeks. Then, the best part, when it finds its way into the hands of readers.

My travels have taken me to quite a variety of places:

After my trip to China, I went to Sault Ste. Marie, where I spoke to college students and adult writers, as well as children. It was cold and snowy, as were Boston and Alaska, my next two trips!

Alaska was as I remember it from when I lived there in the 80’s, only, if anything, moreso. I spoke at the Alaska Library Association Conference in Valdez, and it snowed heavily the entire time we were there. Moving so many people, into, out of, and around a small town as so much snow accumulated was both exciting and a little overwhelming.

While in Alaska, I saw many of my friends from the years I taught in Telida, and the warmth and friendship was still there, immediate, even after so many years. Wonderful to meet the children and babies of the children I taught back then, and wonderful to see those former students grown into adults I love.

I had a good trip to Minnesota, visiting my sister, seeing other relatives, and speaking at an elementary school in Chanhassen about DIAMOND WILLOW. I also met with the book group of an old friend, who had figured out that another member of the book group knew my family and grew up playing with my sisters and cousins. So many connections.

Then:a few days in New York City, meeting with editors and others who support me in my writing, followed by a long weekend at the Highlights Foundation,, where I co-taught a workshop on novels-in-poems with Kelly Bingham.

Winding up this year’s travel, I had a lovely week in Texas, where I saw my son and sister and niece, and spoke at six middle schools, mostly about HIDDEN. Happily, I was home in time to enjoy our flowering crabapple, in all it’s Maytime glory. I love the smell of apple blossoms, and they bloom at the same time as lilacs, which I also love.

What I learned from making 8 out-of-town trips in five months is–not to do this again. Wonderful as each trip was, altogether, it was too much travel. I’m enjoying being home now, with the summer stretching ahead of me, and the luxury of deciding which of several writing projects I will bring from the back burner(s) to the front.

One last note: we have wrens nesting in one birdhouse and bluebirds exploring another (though the house sparrows are not as welcoming of the bluebirds as we are. We’ll see.)