Friday, November 21, 2008


It seems during October and November, my suitcases are constantly packed and unpacked. The last few weeks, I've only been home one full day. My dog, Bronte, mopes whenever she sees the open suitcase. Sometimes she leaves a surprise for me in the same place.

But it's all been worth it because I've been some wonderful places this fall. The most recent--two great events. A week ago I attended the Spring Community Book Festival in Spring, Texas. I was under the great care of librarian Ron Brown and his team. The festival kicked off by recognizing young poets in the community. Proud parents pointed their cameras and snapped.

I showed up a little late to that part of the ceremony and the other writers were already signing the displayed poems and talking with the poets. I walked over and asked a boy if he wanted me to sign his poem. He shrugged. I suddenly felt shy like I was back in junior high trying to impress someone.

"Oh," I said, "I thought the writers were supposed to be signing your poem."

His eyes widened. "You're an author?"

Each day, I am humbled.

Tuesday I flew to Little Rock to participate in the Arkansas Reading Association Conference. This was one of the most organized regional conferences I've ever attended. Thank you, Julie Huskey for a fun experience. I treasured every minute. And what a nice group of folks.

Moments before I stepped onto the stage, I learned that Part of Me was on this year's Charlie May Simon Book Award list. This means so much to me that Arkansas educators have embraced this book because it is a story about a southern family. Thank you, Arkansas!

While there, I stayed at The Peabody Hotel. And if you ever have stayed there, you know that
The Peabody is all about the ducks. Even the butter is duck shaped. Two highlights of each day are when the live ducks come down to the pond in ceremony, and their return each afternoon. This is a red carpet affair, mind you. The conducktor(sorry, couldn't help myself) told the history and warned us that these ducks had only been at it about a week. I should have known better to squat and take a picture at their level. As he led the ducks down the carpet, the flash on my camera distracted them and they headed turned away from their path and headed toward me. I'm glad I didn't get my marching papers.

Today I arrived in San Antonio for NCTE where I'll sign on Saturday and speak on Monday. From my hotel room, I have a fantastic view of the Alamo. The window doesn't appear as dirty as it looks in the picture. Although I have to admit, I like the effect. Is it really snowing in San Antonio?

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