It’s a frigid January day. I’m sitting in a coffee shop looking out a picture window at a snowy intersection. A line of red and white bells hangs across it, a sift of snow falls slantwise from the pale grey sky. I’m content with my cup of peppermint tea and my secluded corner on the couch. It’s cold outside and chilly in, but I’m cozy in my mukluks and anorak and scarf and hat. It’s a northern thing, maybe, to remain nearly fully dressed for the outdoors when inside, and be okay with it. I do it at home pretty often, too. Heat’s expensive, and sometimes even when it’s blasting it doesn’t overcome the chill. So I have my favorite indoors hat and scarf, my elderly fleece-lined boots that have sprouted holes, the fingerless gloves my friend Robyn knit me.
Robyn is a fellow writer who was also among the earliest readers of the next book I have coming out, THE EDUCATION OF IVY BLAKE, a novel aimed at ten to fourteen year olds. She sent me a photo the other day that I love: her daughter Grace reading the bound galley of the book. She said Grace read the book from beginning to end in one sitting and pronounced it good. A big compliment, and reassuring to the sometimes uncertain author. It’s a great thing to have a dozen or so adults read the book and love it, but even greater to hear it from someone in its intended audience. She was my first young reader of this piece, and though I’ve never met her, I feel a bond with her over this. Maybe it’s the same one that’s forged between a writer and every reader, though mostly they never meet and never need to. What needs to be communicated has happened somewhere between the eye and the page, between the story and the reader’s sympathy for it.
Grace reading IVY BLAKE.