Archive for June 2011


This Is My Plan

June 29th, 2011 — 1:50pm

June 29, 2011

8:15 a.m.

Today’s Special:  A grilled chicken chef’s salad with a cup of Mediterranean vegetable soup.

We don’t open until 11 a.m.,  but that’s what I predict for a lunch special.   It’s a perfect day for it:  sunny and crisp.  Today I drive to Mackinac City to pick up inventory for the diner.  While I’m there I’ll sign books at the Island Bookstore for Mary Jane Barnwell and crew.  I like this mingling of jobs:  go to a signing on the island, pick up buffalo on the road home.  Go to the bridge for Eckrich and bacon and fish, sign books at the mainland branch of the bookstore.  These two jobs–writer and diner owner–have joined hands and are swinging along together like it’s the most natural thing in the world, and I’m very happy about that.

I’m happy in general.  Happy and tired, which is just part of summer.  I didn’t sleep much last night–probably something to do with the coffee I sipped all afternoon and evening.  The weather was cold and rainy and I had hauled my black mug that says “I drink coffee for your protection,” down off the shelf, so could feel cheerfully tough, plus think fondly of Meghan who gave me the cup.   And I had to have tiny samples of things as they came out of the oven:  cream cheese brownies, mixed fruit crisp, lemon oatmeal cookies.  Can’t do all that without coffee.

This morning the espresso is in a peaceful sage green and cream colored mug from Jenna.   I have a hundred things to do already, and am already working at letting at least half of them go.   There’s a line from a book I loved, GOLDEN DAYS, by Carolyn See (a hope filled story about the end of the world) that I think of often:  This is my past, I bless you and release you.

Now, you’ll have to read the book to get a sense of how funny and poignant and dumb and not-dumb-at-all this is coming from the narrator, who before the nuclear holocaust was a devotee of self-help seminars, and after the disaster looks wonderingly at the burned out hulk of a car and thinks, slowly and with some effort, “Car.  There used to be cars.”

I’m quoting all this imperfectly because it’s been ten years since the last time I read the book, but I know I’m close.   I often think to myself seriously but not-seriously, This is my plan.  I bless you and release you.

My plan for the next 1.5 hours is to get orders in to Pomegranate, Partners, House of Webster, Milkweed, Gordon’s.  To make triple berry muffins and cookies and pie dough.  To pay the water and coffee and car bills.  To walk the dog and write this blog.  Call my mom and my sister and my brother and my other brother and sister in law.  To post all the photos from all the events I’ve done so far and write about them.  Got to the bank and the post office.  There’s more, and clearly, it’s not all going to happen.  Must prioritize!  Must get real.

So, in a sudden disorganized flurry of writing, because I have to go do other things:

I want to thank all my old high school classmates who’ve emailed me after hearing of SOUTH OF SUPERIOR.  I haven’t answered all your notes yet, but it’s nice to hear from you.

Thanks to all the reviewers and bloggers who’ve had such great things to say about the book.

I was thrilled when Danielle Sosin introduced herself to me in front of the deli case in the diner the other day.  She’s the author of a novel that was just released from Milkweed Editions called THE LONG SHINING WATERS.  I’m looking forward to reading it.  She says on her web page that she wanted to try and explore what it is about Lake Superior that so haunts and fascinates her.  I know I’m going to be intrigued by her book, which is getting great reviews.

Danielle Sosin and I in the diner

I want to hop up and down (and did quite a bit of that yesterday) because I’m so excited that my middle grade novel, PRAIRIE EVERS, is going into production.  This is the really fun part!  A proposed cover came into my inbox yesterday, and I love it, and it’s all really real–P. Evers will have her day.

Finally, I want to thank my mom, for everything.  I tend to write about my dad more–partly this is because he passed away quite a while ago.   That means I don’t have to consider how he might really feel, but only have to imagine how I think he would have felt.  Conveniently, in my mind he’s always delighted with every word I set down.

Partly it’s a case of the squeaky wheel getting the grease.  My dad was an amazing person,  delightful and infuriating.  He was passionate, overbearing, needy, and joyous.  He was a voracious and very serious reader, and he was, I think, a writer.  He only ever wrote journals and letters and one short story (a story that makes my skin prickle with grief and and understanding each time I can bear to read it, which isn’t often), but he was a writer, so we had that in common.

But Mom–Mom is the one who made everything possible.  She was a wonderful parent who kept everything together with a smile, without histrionics.  She was–is–always there with encouragement, support, and love.  She was always reasonable and calm.  You couldn’t always say that about my dad.   I literally can’t imagine life without her.  She was the glue that held everything together, and she was–is– a lot of fun.  Thanks, Mom.


16 comments » | Books, Today's Special

The Letter That Never Gets Written

June 21st, 2011 — 10:26pm

June 21, 2011

Today’s Special:  A fresh whitefish fillet sandwich, corn on the cob, and a dish of ice cream.

So summery…  I love the smell of whitefish and lemons.

It’s been a busy day, and a good day.  People have seemed happy.  It rained hard.  I made peanut butter chocolate chunk cookies and oatmeal raisin cookies, too.  Paid a lot of bills–a whole fat stack, which is always satisfying.  Got exciting book news:  I’m going to be interviewed by Linda Wertheimer for an upcoming Sunday Weekend Edition.  This is staggeringly wonderful.  Tonight I have an interview with Write On! Radio, a literary program that airs in the Minneapolis St. Paul area, too.   I’m really looking forward to it.  It turns out, a little to my surprise–that I love to talk to people about SOUTH OF SUPERIOR.

There are a lot of good and exciting things happening, and I’m happy.  At the same time, I feel more and more behind on the things I want to write and remember.  It’s like that that letter to a friend that keeps getting put off, until there’s so much news you know you can never do any of it justice, and the letter never gets written.

I know what to  do about that:  just pick up wherever you are.  Don’t let the impossibility of getting it all done stop you.

I can’t write about every event I did on my opening week book tour like I wanted to right now, but I did the next best thing (in this new modern world, anyway):  I made a photo album on my Facebook fanpage (Ellen Airgood, author).  There are more albums to make–the entire madhouse scene at the diner party, for example–but it’s a start.

And suddenly, I must rush off again–people to wait on, ice cream to scoop.  Bon nuit, and happy solstice, everyone.  Enjoy this longest day of the year!

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