Birthdays and Thank Yous

Well, it's not Bluebell Ice Cream (Ruby would be so disappointed), but it is Barq's Root Beer (accept no substitutes), and that's real crystal (my personal touch). Happy Birthday to me, and a root beer float to all of you -- thank you.

I'm home, I'm birthdayed out, and I'm working on an annotated version of the Aurora County Shoestring Tour. Tomorrow I'm back in schools and will be in schools until May 14, when I'm done for the summer, and will turn my attentions totally to the novel revision that landed back on my desk on Monday, avec copious comments from my editor. Wow. We are learning to work together, and -- I can tell -- this is going to be a great collaboration.

We had a delicious and fruitful (makes it sound like a drink) conversation as well. Soon, we'll have galleys of the first of the Sixties Trilogy -- I'll have art to show you, too -- this is the exciting part. But first I have to do my part and finish up what needs finishing up, smooth out and revise the last bits, and I will. More on this next week.

I haven't been able to fully inhabit the present since I've been home -- maybe it was that all-night ride home. But I'm coming back to myself, little by little. And I want to say thank you.

Thank you to Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt first of all. Without them I never would have attempted this tour. I didn't fully appreciate all that goes into scheduling such a month as we had in April -- now I do. Thank you so much for all your help.

Thank you to SIBA for embracing the concept of the Shoestring Tour and using it in their promotional materials.

Thank you to booksellers and the librarians who welcomed me so warmly, took such good care of me, told me such great stories, and sent me on my way, enriched.

Thank you to those who came out to events, who read the blog and cheered me on, and who continue to be so supportive of my work.

Thank you to Michele Norris and All Things Considered for the lovely opportunity to talk on the air about writing for and with children and teachers.

Thanks so much to Hannah for coming with me -- I wouldn't have attempted the trip to Mississippi without her, or the trip to North Carolina, for that matter, without Jim -- so thank you to Jim, too.
Thanks to friends who housed me, fed me, gave me a bed to sleep in, and sent me on my way refreshed. And thanks to the garden for blooming while I was gone -- look what was waiting for me on Monday morning. (Am I getting better with the camera, Ken?)
Thank goodness for gardens and flowers and books and booksellers and librarians and teachers and friends and family and banjos and root beer floats, and a good, known bed to fall into when it's all over. Thank goodness for story.