As you can see, my blog is a couple of days early, but as you may have noticed, it hasn't appeared for awhile. Better early than never?
Its title reflects the end of my first quarter in the English Composition Master's program at Cal State San Bernardino. I picked Cal State because I thought it might be an easier program than a UC or a private college (where I got my undergrad degree many many moons ago), and certainly because it was a whole lot cheaper. What I found, to my delight and horror, is that not only are the professors brilliant and intersting and funny, but their classes are ten times harder. (No, make that twenty, or thirty.) I haven't seen my husband in a couple of months and my friends, well, they know that I'll call them in the summer to check in. And of course, the bag of potatoes has been one potato lighter lately.
So, what am I grateful for? 1. Not getting the swine flu this quarter. 2. Not losing any papers in cyberspace. 3. The diversity in age, race and gender of my wonderful classmates. 4. The fact that they're suffering too. 5. Jenny, who brought five pies to class the night before Thanksgiving when I had to leave a family dinner to attend class from 6 - 8 p.m. 6. My parents' health, cuz God knows I haven't seen them much either. 7. My husband's patience. 8. The final words typed on my last paper this afternoon at 4 p.m. 9. My final class on Monday. 10. The chance to write with some really hot potatoes who remind me that I have so much to be thankful for!
Ten writers for children. All with something to say.
I just got the news that The Compound is a finalist for the 2010-11 Missouri Truman Readers Award. Students in grades 6-8 across Missouri will read all twelve finalists during the 2010-11 school year, then vote for their favorite.
Wow, and I just had to edit to add The Compound is also a finalist for the Missouri Gateway Readers Award.
Fun fact: I lived in Missouri until I was three years old...
One of the things I'm thankful for is unexpected gifts. Three have come my way recently and I'm thankful for all of them. Last week I was notified that BOX OUT had been selected for the 2010 Tayshas High School Reading List for Texas students. I'm always pleased to have a book chosen for one of the Texas lists and am particularly pleased to have BOX OUT on the Tayshas list.
Today in the mail I received five letters from students at a charter school in Philadelphia who read Crackback and wanted to tell me what they thought, ask some questions, and offer suggestions for future books. The personalities of these students shine through in their letters.
And yesterday I received word that a picture book manuscript of mine has been acquired. This is a story I became interested in when my daughter started college in Massachusetts and I visited a nearby site of historical importance. That my daughter is long graduated and now married is beside the point. I'm thrilled to have a new picture book in the works. Each day we go to work without knowing where the stories or pictures will take us, and so often we receive unexpected gifts. Thank you.
The weekend before the weekend before Thanksgiving, I was giving great thanks to the universe for leading me to my path as a children's book-maker. The weekend began with a day celebrating the 25th anniversary of The Red Balloon Bookshop in St. Paul, MN.
(http://www.redballoonbookshop.com/) I was honored to create a poster to commemorate this event and at 11 AM I was scheduled to sign said posters. Not content to just sign, I handed out sheets of paper with the banner already printed on them, poured crayons and markers on the floor of the store and let all of the young artists make their own anniversary posters for the Red Balloon. This bookstore has been unbelievably supportive of my books. From publication parties to book festivals to school visits, The Red Balloon Bookshop is at the top of my gratitude list.
The next day was the 60th anniversary of the Kerlan Collection, at the U of Minnesota. (http://special.lib.umn.edu/clrc/kerlan/index.php) A luncheon attended by lovers and creators of children's literature started the event followed by a lecture from one of their best known researchers, Leonard Marcus. There was a wonderful exhibit of some of their holdings, including pieces by Wanda Gag, Gustave Tenggren, Jeannette Winter, and many more. (They even had a few sketches of mine from Our Family Tree and Fold Me A Poem, which thrilled me to be in such company!) Many of Minnesota's great authors and illustrators were in attendance and I loved having the opportunity to converse, discuss and celebrate what we do. I am grateful to live in an area of the country where children's literature is so valued.
I woke up Monday morning, after this weekend of festivities feeling like the luckiest person in the world! I am so thankful to be able to write and paint what has meaning to me and then offer it to the world. What a gift.