For Bill Quill from Louisville

May 30th, 2015 — 2:09pm

Dear Bill,

I know you know how much I love the way your name rhymes with itself and with your city.  Evelyn said you looked for a posts through the winter and didn’t find as many as you wanted.  There were a few, Bill!  But here is another, for you and for everyone.  It is worked in like whip-stictches among the different little tasks of my morning, and so it will be short, and maybe disjointed, but no less well meant for that.

What can I tell you?

Winter has ended, or almost, anyway.

It’s cool but sunny this morning.  The raisin and the molasses cookies–Great Grandma Daisy Butcher’s molasses cookies–have just come out of the oven, and the smell–  The smell, the smell.  Cinnamon, nutmeg, butter, vanilla.  It’s the smell of my childhood in some ways, as well as of most of my adult life.  It’s the smell of morning, of work, of hope, sometimes of exhaustion, but no matter how tired I am, it always lifts my spirits or at least consoles them.

It rained hard yesterday in the evening and I sat for a little more than one full minute–I tracked the sweep of the second hand on the old RC clock–and watched the trees lash and bounce while Laura sat at the table with me looking something up on the computer.  A pizza was baking.  It needed that minute and so did I.  It was a peaceful moment, a tiny one, a good one.

I’ve been feeling reflective about the joys and griefs of life, this week.  A man was laid to rest too young yesterday.  I remember a game of euchre we played, laughing across the table.  A snowshoe walk along the edge of Sable Lake.  A baby two days old, tiny and wearing a knit cap too large for him, offered down to me in a chair I couldn’t get up from that particular winter.  Such love and pride.  How must those closest to him feel?  I can imagine a little. And yet this honor of grieving is what is offered all of us, if we will truly love, and live.

You know about that.

IVY BLAKE comes out in just ten days now.  I’m proud of her.  She’s a toughie, a toughie with a tender heart.  An optimist in the face of not-optimal conditions.  Like a parent I hope the world will treat her kindly and also know I can’t control what the world does.  She’s become acquainted with so many people already.   The curator of the Children’s Literature Research Collections at the University of Minnesota, for one.  She wrote and told me Ivy was featured at the librarian’s conference at Book Expo America in NYC this last week.

Isn’t that something, I thought.  Ivy gave me a little wave, grinning.

I hope you are well, Bill.  I hope everyone is well.

More soon, or soonish, anyway–


8 comments » | Life


April 25th, 2015 — 11:57am

Stained glass window outside Jerusalem Garden, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I chose this photo because it reminded me of a moment in my new book.  When I posted it on Facebook, I realized that, Wow, Pat, you’re right–it really is only a little more than five weeks until THE EDUCATION OF IVY BLAKE is released.  June 9, 2015.  (Picture me smiling.)

Ivy has received great early reviews from Kirkus and from School Library Journal (including a starred review in SLJ), which makes me so pleased for her.  She’s a great kid, and as ever, she seems like her own person to me.  Someone I helped along in life, but fully her own self, a real spirit out in the world.  She’s been an inspiration to me ever since she first appeared in PRAIRIE EVERS.  She is so optimistic, even when she has every reason not to be, and who can’t take a page out of the that book every now and then?  Bottom line:  she’s hopeful, she’s determined, she’s kind, and she does some cool stuff.  (And her story can be preordered from your favorite bookstore or put on hold at your local library:  go do it now!)

Again, my deepest thanks to all of you who were so supportive while I wrote this book.  You know who you are, and I hope you’ll all share in my pleasure at Ivy’s debut.

…details to come about a little party at the diner to celebrate.  Also, mark your calendars for June 17 in Northport, MI, at the wonderful Dog Ears Books, where I’ll be talking about writing and Ivy during her official bookstore launch.   Hope to see you there!

4 comments » | Books

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