The Musings of One Miss Julie

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

A Summer Lament, Author Envy, and My Girls

It's hardly original of me to say, "Gee! Is it the end of June already?" But that's where I'm at tonight. I'm loving summer and hating it at the same time -- hating it because it's so fleeting in Michigan.

I've been a busy girl lately, but that's not so original either. At the beginning of June, I went to New York for work. It was my first trip to Book Expo America, a super-huge publishing industry extravaganza, and only my second trip to New York.

Even though I work for Borders and, as a result, have fairly regular access to acclaimed authors and musicians, I never stop appreciating how cool it is to meet such interesting people. While at the conference, I attended a wonderful, but rather surreal, publisher party in which Caroline Kennedy, Kristin Gore, and Dog the Bounty Hunter were standing in the same room with each other. I was too shy to speak with Caroline Kennedy and I didn't see Kristin Gore until I was leaving, but I did meet Dog, and he's a terrifically personable guy with some great stories.

The true highlight of my weekend was meeting a children's author I adore: Kate DiCamillo. During one of the daytime sessions I was invited to attend, I walked into a small booth with several of my coworkers and was introduced to a man named Gregory Maguire. I knew I was going to meet Kate, but didn't pause to consider who Mr. Maguire was until it dawned on me that this man was the Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and any other number of fantastic reimagined fairy tales and mythologies. We talked all about his upcoming book, What-the-Dickens, in which he imagines the civilization of tooth fairies. Brilliant stuff. And he was so nice and smart and funny and altogether likable that I think I might put him on my annual Christmas card list. (He'll probably wonder who this weirdo girl is who's sending him cards, but alas, he made an impression on me even if it wasn't reciprocal.)

Then I met Kate. It was my second time meeting her, actually, because she gave a reading at my office and she signed a book for me. I'm sure I was just one amongst the sea of faces she encounters at such events, so I'll not hold it against her for not immediately recognizing me. (Perhaps I should be glad that I'm not that recognizable.) We talked, we exchanged curly-hair tips, and then I got to read her upcoming picture book, Great Joy!. Beautiful stuff. She's also smart and funny and fabulous and has a wonderful ability to see things and describe what she see using words that show rather than tell. She also comes up with perfect names for her characters, like Edward Tulane (a china rabbit), Mercy Watson (an incorrigible pig who loves to eat hot, buttery toast), and Winn-Dixie (a beloved dog). Maybe I'll be as good at writing when I grow up. Sigh.

Anyway, I also did a bit of knitting while I was there. So I post a photo of my first-ever sock, in progress. There are cables there, but the yarn makes them tricky to see. The colors of the yarn aren't my favorite, but the texture is nice, and I'm having a good time knitting it. All is well.

I also include a gratuitous photo of the girls.


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