I have just returned from a wonderful week-long writing retreat with my friend, author Anne Ylvisaker in California. Before the week of writing began however, we met Christy Hale in Santa Cruz! Christy brought f&gs of DREAM UP and THE FORGIVENESS GARDEN, along with the NY Times Review that had just come out that day. What beautiful books they are- and what a treat to leaf through them together.
Christy, Lauren, and Anne
Mostly it was great to share stories in real life. I have a feeling if Minnesota were not so far away, we would be getting together on a regular basis-- one afternoon was not enough time.
Sea Lions sleeping on the wharf just below us.
Today Christy is hosting her official launch parties for both of her books-- I wish I were still there to celebrate her accomplishments. I cannot wait to get my own real copies! Congratulations Christy!
After an exhausting, but exhilarating week of school visits in the mountains of North Carolina, the literary character I'd be most comfortable dressing as for Halloween is Miss Eliza from my own book, Road to Tater Hill. I could hide behind the folds of her floppy sunbonnet, and when I wanted some music, I could pull out my mountain dulcimer.
But if I wanted a naughtier, crazy, zany character, I'd choose the dragon from David LaRochelle's book, The Best Pet of All.
And if I were to choose the most intriguing character I've come across in recent reading, I'd choose The Gardener from Stephanie Stuve Bodeen's dystopian YA novel.
As you know, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Pumpkin carving season has already started for me. Last Wednesday I carved this tiger-themed pumpkin for a bookstore in Chelan, Washington, and thanks to UPS packaging and FedEx, it arrived safe and sound on Friday. What I'm going to do with the eight other pumpkins lined up on my porch, I'm not sure yet, but I've still got two weeks to decide.
My Halloween costume of recent years has simply been a "bone" tie that I bought back when I was a fourth grade teacher, but if I were to dress up as a literary character, I would choose Albus Dumbledore. A kind-hearted, wise, and beloved teacher who can do magic - who wouldn't want to be that? I've been working on the gray hair and beard, but I still need to find an elder wood wand.
This round of posts we ten potatoes disguise ourselves as favorite characters from children's books. I knew immediately which character I would choose; I've been pretending to be her since I was ten!
When our fifth grade teacher read aloud Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh, every girl in class wanted to be Harriet. That was when my best friend, her sister, and I started our own detective agency. We chose a secluded meeting place in Leslie's house, reached through the trap door in the floor of her sister Ashley's bedroom closet. After whispering the secret password—which I still will not divulge even if you tickle or torture me—we descended underground to meet in the basement. Flashlights revealed vital statistics and thumbprints on the ID cards we created. In hushed voices we discussed espionage. Like Harriet we kept confidential notebooks documenting our observations and any conspicuous activity.
We traveled the neighborhood on bicycles wearing disguises. I flipped the long hair from my back, up over my head, and down my forehead, like bangs, then held the hair in place with a sombrero I found in Leslie's dress-up box. On Halloween keep your eyes open for a middle-aged woman on a bicycle wearing a sombrero. You might not see me; I learned early how to make myself invisible. But I will see you, and I will be taking notes.