Monthly Archives: April 2014

From the mail

There’s nothing I love better than getting (real) letters from readers. A few of my favorites from the past weeks:

Books loom big in her life!

A reading cheerleader!

This student interviewed me about process.  It does take mouths to write a book. As well as brains and heart.

I’m hoping that’s a portrait of me (never looked so good!)

This young writer got to see Habibi (my very large cat) when I skyped with his class. I’m so glad Habibi and I inspired him–because he really inspired me.

Gone Wedding Planning

Our daughter is home for a rare and precious week, and we’re looking at dresses, meeting with caterers, and learning a new vocabulary. Bustles–really? Flipping tables–do not try this at home.  Mother of the Bride ensembles–terrifying! It’s befuddling and exciting and leaving no extra room in my brain, so I won’t attempt a coherent post till next week.  

Did I mention how  happy we are?

So Far, Not a Cruel Month!

photo by Erin Summerill

The skateboarders are zooming, the daffodils are blooming, and I’ve got really happy news: 

If all goes well (knocks wood, spins three times, bows to the east) this means I will have two new books in 2015 and two more in 2016. The genius who has engineered such wonderful possibilities is…

photo by Erin Summerill

…my wonderful agent Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary, here with me at our Florida retreat in February.  The photo on top is also from the event–me with Blythe Woolston, Sarah Aronson, and Kate Yeh (as well as somebody’s handsome husband whose name escapes me!)  It’s impossible to say how much Sarah’s support and faith have meant to me over the past few years. She’s part bulldog and part fairy godmother, and on top of everything else has a gorgeous British accent and wears dresses that can only be called frocks.  My stars aligned when she and I began to work together.

And without further segue, here’s a post about make belive I wrote for my favorite middle grade blog.  

Enjoy, believe!

That Thing With Feathers

My garden today:


I’ve been reading both Lydia Davis and Alice Munro this week.  I love the fact that both these women are fiction writers of the highest order, and that their work could hardly be more different, and that (I am guessing) they would each find much to love in the other’s writing. Munro’s stories–it’s “Friend of My Youth” I’m re-reading–are rarely less than 20 pages, and  often span decades.  A Davis story can read, in its entirety: “Under all this dirt/ the floor is really very clean.”   Munro might use that as  a note to be expanded into a full, complex character; Davis leaves us to do it ourselves.  Crazy sharp observers, both have been effecting the way I look at the world this week.

One thing I think they have in common, and that I love, is a refusal to pin things down, or to insist on the final word. In one Munro story, a character enjoys the reflections of reflections in a window; she is grateful for an “accidental clarity”.  In the masterpiece that is “Menesteung”, her character Meda, a “poetess”, has a flight of fancy, but, “She doesn’t mistake that for reality, and neither does she mistake anything else for reality, and that is how she knows that she is sane.”  It’s the struggle to have that continual openness to other ways of seeing that makes a writer’s life both strange and rich.