Taking a vacation

Hi everyone,

Starting tomorrow, I’m taking a week off. I’ll respond to time-sensitive messages but otherwise plan to sleep in, skip the blog and Facebook posts, and put the pen down for a whole week, from Thursday, March 23 through Wednesday, March 31. That’s seven work-days plus the weekend between. I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a true vacation. I’ve gone goo foffing in Florida but I maintain the same work schedule there as I do here. The occasional cruise is the closest I’ve come to having a vacation, but there we are with our family, we get up for breakfast and rarely spend much time in our stateroom. During the next ten days I plan to sleep in until I wake up, which usually is 9:30 or so. I’ll have something for breakfast and see what the rest of the day brings. I’m sure to get in a lot more reading. Sandy and I will find chores to do and places to go. We’ll see how it goes.

Back at it

Hi everyone,

Home again. It was lovely spending the past seven weeks in Florida, but sooner or later one has to come home. We arrived late last night, read through a basket of accumulated mail, and tumbled into bed. Today it’s back to reality, as in bill paying, making appointments, etc.

The big hit in the mail for me was a packet of sweet notes from students at DAVID HARRISON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL. After they took their story walk, featuring I WANT AN APPLE — thanks to fantastic librarian ANGELA KNIGHT — they went to their rooms and wrote to me. I can’t wait to read each one.

I also caught up with an interview article in SPRINGFIELD BUSINESS JOURNAL, written by KAREN CRAIGO about three local authors, NANCY ALLEN, SUSAN KEENE, and me. Nicely done and I am flattered to be in the Journal.

One meeting this week is with the team who will join me at The Library Center on April 19 to present a program called Night Sounds. The two pictures below are from a previous program at The Library Center. The folks there are wonderful to work with. Here’s how the upcoming event is describes.

Showing how frogs hop.

You sort of had to be there.

On warm summer nights, if we step outside we may hear a symphony of sounds — whistles, whirs, clicks and cries. What makes these voices we hear in the night? Bestselling author David Harrison, our friends from the Springfield Conservation Nature Center, students from Springfield Public Schools WOLF program, and students from David Harrison Elementary School will explore these sounds and the creatures that make them. Kids will learn facts about local nocturnal animals, enjoy stories and poems and even get to make some night sounds themselves!

Some notes on Byron Biggers Band

Hi everyone,

Today’s a travel day. I’ll finish up the month at home with fun activities on the 28th, 29th, and 30th. One of them is a meeting with the other members of BYRON BIGGERS BAND. That would be CHRIS CRAIG (arranger, lead singer, guitar) and GALE CLITHERO (percussion, second singer, math teacher). We haven’t played anywhere in quite some time and decided we need to get together for a rehearsal and then arrange to make a recording for posterity. I think I told you that we were recorded once before, in the studios of KSMU I think. We each received one CD, and each of us lost his. I hope to take better care of mine this time.

Byron Biggers Band is named for one of my poems. Here’s the poem.

Our entire repertoire is comprised of my poems, each of which has been arranged by Chris. I believe there are ten of them. If we were to play a full concert, we’d have to keep playing the same ten songs over and over. Which may explain why we get so few invitations.

A Sad Tale
Nothing frightened Bryon Biggers,
Not even lions, not even tiggers,
He spent his life exploring this land,
Knew these hills like the back of his hand.

Striding down the path he came
Always looking for bigger game
But in the end he met his match
In a lowly Ozarks chigger patch.

Byron laughed, “Ha ha!” cried he,
“No bug could be the death of me!”
But halfway through that patch of chiggers
And it was over for Byron Biggers.

He clawed those bites till his dying breath,
Sighing, “I’ve scratched myself to death.
Someday they’ll find me here alone
With chiggers gnawing on my bones.”

He died the way he lived – brave,
And few have seen poor Byron’s grave.
He’s buried high on a lonely hill
Where to this day he itches still.

Here lie the bones of Byron Biggers,
Eaten alive by hungry chiggers,
So if you see poor Byron twitch,
Scratch his bones ‘cause they still itch.

(c) 1998 David L. Harrison, all rights reserved

Don’t know why

Hi everyone,

I don’t know why I thought of this poem. It’s not one of my best ones. The event happened 79 years ago, when I was a little boy living in Ajo, Arizona. I don’t usually write about such matters, but my editor for CONNECTING DOTS, WENDY MURRAY, wanted me to write about things close to the bone, incidents that meant something to me. This was one of them.

I’m 7. Darting among the large pillars that support the roof, my friend Rosemary and I make it down the long, covered walkway in front of the town's single block of stores. The bar sits at the far end.


Rumors pull kids
down the walk, 
to the place we’re not
supposed to go,
to the bar
where they say
a man got killed last night,

to see a stain
they say is there,
by the door 
where two guys fought.

We go to see,
but not too close.
The air smells damp,
The stain is dark like blood,
but could be dirt.

I wonder why
some men think 
they have to fight,
fall on a sidewalk
late at night.

Dirt or blood,
I've seen enough.
I want to go.

(c) 2003 David L. Harrison, all rights reserved


Hi everyone,

April is looking good. I only have one booking out of town, and it’s close by. All the others are in Springfield. I’ve found four dates during the month when I can join other local poets to give readings to celebrate National Poetry Month, the 3rd, 11th, 17th, and 25th. Additionally, I have a library program on the 19th and a breakfast talk to give in Marshfield on the 27th.

By April 1, I expect to have finished all work on the four books that are currently in various stages of completion. Other proposals and submissions are out there, but those are chickens too early to count. I need at least one to come in, though, to keep me happy.

I have a few other ideas I hope to develop but I have to say they may be lost causes before I write the first word. As I look over the books getting awards these days, I’m struck by how serious many of them are. I’m beginning to feel like Peter Pan in a world populated by Captain Hooks.