Two days ago Sandy and I stopped in DeFuniak Springs, Florida to visit the oldest continuously used library building in Florida. The Library opened on that spot in 1886.
I loved walking among the stacks and looking over the stairwell down to the lower level. The librarian showed and played for us an ancient kind of music box that was wound up to play like our old Victrola record players, except the discs were huge metal affairs with holes punched by hand. In its day, prior to 1921, one of these beauties cost as much as a Grand Piano.
I was pleased to learn that they had two of my books in their stacks, albeit old titles: THE ANIMALS’ SONG and one of my CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG stories. I might hit on an editor or two to send a few newer books to them.
One good thing that happened yesterday was we got our first Covid-19 vaccination shot. No problems and we were glad to have them. We had to drive an hour each way to get them so I ran out of time to make the video for Drury. That’s now on today’s agenda as well some further contract talks with our publisher about the 2-book proposal Tim Rasinski, Mary Jo Fresch, and I made. We’re moving closer on that one.
My thanks today to Tim Rasinski for incorporating a poem of mine from NOW YOU SEE THEM, NOW YOU DON’T into is Literacy Friday post. Tomorrow is National Polar Bear Day — really — and I just happened to have a polar bear poem! https://www.facebook.com/timothy.rasinski/posts/10222399131460734?notif_id=1614313345420239¬if_t=tagged_with_story&ref=notif
Yesterday I visited by phone with Judy Thompson, Executive Vice President of Development and Campaign Director at Drury University. Judy has been a friend from all the way back to our days as Drury students. She was Sandy’s pledge daughter in Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. Coming up shortly is a major fund raiser Drury is calling Match Madness so Judy and her team are hard at work planning ways to engage alums and others who might contribute toward the campaign. The request for my help was to film me reading one of my books. Since I’m currently too far away to go to the Drury recording studios, I agreed to make a video and send it to them. I’ll try to make it today because timely is critical.
I desperately need a haircut so today when the shops open, I’ll get myself more presentable. For the video I could read my most recent book of poems, AFTER DARK, which came out last year. But I want to think about this. As Drury’s poet laureate, maybe I should pick a selection from several sources to read. Something I’ll need to decide over the next few hours. Straightening my work space? Hey, it will still be there tomorrow, right? My friend and fellow writer Bill Anderson says one of the best parts of being a writer is that almost everyday some new surprise comes up to keep the game interesting. This, I think, is a good example.
Yesterday morning (virtually of course) I read RUM PUM PUM to all the 1st grade classes at Rountree Elementary School in Springfield. They were good kids and asked intelligent questions.
I managed to edit my 2,400 word article down to slightly under 2,000 words. I hope to send it off to the editor by week’s end.
Plans for celebrating National Poetry Week continue to take shape. On April 6 I’ll do a virtual school visit to one or more schools in Columbia, Missouri as part of the Unbound Book Festival.
A virtual poetry reading hosted by Pagination Bookshop is now set for April 13 at 6:00 p.m. CST. The four readers will be Marcus Cafagna and Sara Burge (poets and professors from Missouri State University) Karen Craigo (journalist, editor and general manager of The Marshfield Mail, and current Missouri State Poet Laureate), and me.
Marcus and I will be presenting on KSMU in Springfield, time and date to be arranged. Springfield News-Leader is exploring story possibilities.
A program for Springfield-Greene County’s summer reading program is finished. It will be a 2-part event that won’t take place until June 2 and 3 at 10:00 a.m. I’m happy about progress so far.
As for today, I have a virtual doctor’s appointment, a phone chat with a colleague at Drury University to explore an idea that might involve me. Otherwise I hope to do some seriously needed decluttering around my work space.