The word of the month for September is . . .

Hi everyone,

Happy September 1st! Four months to go, which means, among numerous other things, four more word of the month challenges in 2017. I hope you’ll join me every month to make the most of these opportunities to stretch our own imaginations as we watch other poets stretch theirs.

Now that I think about it, I suggest STRETCH as our word for September. How’s that suit you?

On another subject, I heard yesterday from Joy Acey. She, Jeanne Poland, and Cory Corrado are enjoying Eileen Spinelli’s poetry retreat at the Barn in Honesdale. I first met all three at my first workshop there in 2011. I’m glad we’ve all remained in touch and those three worthy poets continue to journey to Pennsylvania now and then to refresh, reflect, and write.

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Most unusual news

Hi everyone,

Day One of the week went just fine. Got a lot done and also learned that the upcoming volume of SOMETHING ABOUT THE AUTHOR, which includes an updated article about me, is due out October 6. Today has a break in it but I’m ready for a good solid block of writing all morning and well into the afternoon.

Okay, here’s some news. My work has been sandblasted into a sidewalk and painted on a bookmobile, but it has never been a tattoo before. A good friend of mine, Mary Cosker, plans to have the original Piggy tattooed in January. Mary teaches junior and senior English at Pioneer Career and Technology Center in Shelby, Ohio. Her early memories of my story were when she was growing up on a dairy farm in Jeromesville.

Does anyone remember PIGGY WIGLET AND THE GREAT ADVENTURE? Technically my work isn’t involved. It’s that wonderful illustration created by Les Gray back in 1973. Les also illustrated Larry Brimner’s great story of MAX AND FELIX. But I’m taking credit anyway because it was my story that meant a lot to Mary and her sisters when they were girls around their grandmother’s knees, listening to the great adventure of a pig who set out to catch the sun.

In January I will feature Mary and ask her to tell her story about those times that remain so vivid today. It’s a moving example of how books can have such powerful, lasting influences on children, especially when they are lucky enough to have a loving adult read to them.

Announcing a book signing by Maryann Wakefield

Hi everyone,

Tomorrow our friend, Maryann Wakefield, will be signing her new novel, A GENTLE SUN COMING, at Barnes & Noble in Springfield from 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. The store is at the corner of Glenstone and Battlefield.

If you don’t know Maryann, here is a bit more about her. She had a long and successful career as an elementary teacher and principal. She also worked in administration for the Springfield Public Schools district and taught courses at Drury University. These days she has more time to spend with her other passion, writing fiction inspired by a lifetime of observations, experiences, dreams and what-ifs. Among her affiliations, she sits on the board of Writers Hall of Fame, an organization that recognizes outstanding writers and promotes student writing, including a scholarship program for college bound future writers.

If you’re out and about tomorrow, I hope you’ll drop by Maryann’s signing to meet her and maybe buy a copy of her book. She’ll be glad to sign it for you.

Group photo

Hi everyone,

My thanks to everyone who came to my fourth virtual blog party. Many of you traveled long distances so your efforts were especially appreciated. I thought you all might like a souvenir group photo, so here it is. Lots of smiling faces! If I left anyone out, or you were standing behind someone, I apologize.

I realized later that I had posed you in a really tough place so thanks for being patient with me, especially those who had to sit on the retaining wall, kneel between the fountain and tables, and even grin from the pool. You were all good sports.

Let’s party hearty!

Hi everyone,

It’s party time! I welcome you today to my fourth blog party. Come one come all. Bring something if you want, or not. Virtual parties are known for the ease of cleaning up afterward and one cupcake may well last all day and please the palates of dozens of guests.

Cool off in the pool if you brought a suit. For men with a 38 waist, I have a couple of spares. For women, Sandy might come up with one for you. I keep pool heated to 90 degrees, which is handy because when we’re not swimming we throw in a bag of potatoes and serve soup to the neighborhood. The water is only four feet deep and we have a stock of new noodles to help you bob around.

The grill is clean (by my standards more than those of my M.O.W.’s) so help yourself to it if you want to throw on burgers or brats.

You’ll find tables here and there. My two favorites are the ones closest to Goose Lake but there is one by the pool, one close to the kitchen door, and another at the far end of the patio for those who just want to enjoy the view and be left alone.

We have twenty outdoor chairs around tables and others that can be arranged to suit you needs.
I think all the plants are watered but if you’re given to puttering around in gardens, you’ll find a watering can wherever Sandy left it last. (No, my darling, I didn’t mean anything by that last “crack.” You’re just being overly sensitive. Yes, of course I apologize, Sweetheart.)

Sadly, my fallen tree is sprawling across part of the yard and down into the lake. We have someone coming to remove it next week. At some point I may offer a toast to the fallen beauty.

If you brought something in need of refrigeration, I’ve left the kitchen door open so help yourself. The counters are pretty much clear and the cutting boards are next to the coffee pot. No, the other coffee pot. The one that works. One of these days I plan to take the broken one to the garage, but it’s a long walk of twelve feet or maybe more and I’ve been busy these last two years.

So welcome! I am delighted to greet you, whether you’re a newbie to my parties or a veteran. The idea behind these events is to encourage folks to become acquainted and enjoy a chance to visit. If you spot someone you’ve been wanting to meet, march right up and introduce yourself. If you have questions to ask, ask away.

I never know how long these parties will last. One went on for three days. Please come and go as your time permits. My suggestion is that if you are returning to the party, you might want to make an announcement so everyone will know you’re back. Otherwise it’s easy to be overlooked in the crowd. And don’t forget to thank Joy Acey and Matt Forrest for dreaming up this party in the first place. Joy lives a lot of time zones away these days so you may have to shout to wake her up.