I’m fighting an ongoing battle to read A Prayer Like Gravity’s poem, “Morning Haiku-ish” correctly:
light dances on fields
of belligerent sleep, chasing
crows and hard scarecrows
Well, folks, the SCBWI’s spring conference at Asilomar was inspiring, despite the food provided by ARAMARK. The glutinous pad thai noodles, grey prime rib, and screams for life-rings from the nicoise salad ingredients as they bobbed above the pool of nondescript salad dressing—all this failed to throttle the enthusiasm of the children’s book writers and illustrators assembled on a glorious weekend in Monterey to celebrate the HUMOR in kid’s literature. Between Daniel Handler, Lisa Brown, Jon Agee, Lin Oliver, Lisa Jahn-Clough, and Ed Briant, no joke was left unturned.
Fittingly, Handler’s talk was particularly heady. Continue reading
When my son came out of his bedroom this morning wearing black sweatpants tucked into the tops of his yellow soccer socks and a red shirt to celebrate family heritage day at school, I knew I had to step up to the challenge—by making some German delicacy that kids and parents would actually eat and not just leave on their plates at the potluck.
I’ve come to hate potlucks. I have a busy life. I can’t spend all my time in the kitchen. But it goes against every moral fiber my mother sewed into me to show up at a potluck with food purchased from a store. I recall her dissing our relatives the first time they brought KFC instead of home-fried chicken to a family reunion. “Hmmmm, will you look at that?” she said.
Until I saw my little German flag walking around our house, I was prepared to go empty handed except for the sugar cookies I’d promised to bring. But those cookies weren’t German, and that little flag was waving a saucy corner at me, a silent Teutonic reminder to “play by the rules” and “make an effort.” Continue reading
I am highly skeptical of suggested “group reads.” Why does someone think that entire cities should be immersed in a particular book? Is it a form of group grope? Group hypnosis? Group drumming? I am a bristling porcupine, can you tell? So when Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void was chosen as a “must read book” for San Francisco, I gave the display at our branch library wide berth.
Fast forward several months:
My son’s school had a silent auction in March, and I “bought the opportunity” to spend the evening with a group of others (who also donated their $$) and Mary Roach, the author of numerous books (none of which I had read) such as Stiff, Spook, and Bonk—as well as the title listed above. I am cranky (bet you hadn’t noticed) and not a fan of these titles. Although I have a science/math undergrad degree (as a foundation for my MFA in creative writing, ha!) and was the buyer for the science section of a bookstore in San Francisco when Stiff came out, I couldn’t get past the title to read it. It didn’t matter that it was well-received. Do I sound like Maggie Smith’s character in Downton Abbey?
But I thought that this time around I’d do my part to raise funds for our school, and perhaps the evening would be entertaining (fingers crossed). So I picked up a copy of Packing for Mars at Green Apple Books in San Francisco. I didn’t want to insult the author by showing up completely ignorant of her book’s content.
WELL! Eighty-six pages into the book, I am LOLing and ROFLing and getting asked in doctors’ waiting rooms just what it is that I am reading—it is that funny. And yes, that well written. And yes, filled with fascinating science info (as well as insights into various countries’ space programs—more funny than flattering). And I will now be reading all of Roach’s backlist titles.
Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa…