Night sounds at the library

Hi everyone,

The program at The Library Center went beautifully last night. We filled the auditorium and the audience, which included a lot of kids, seemed to enjoy the event. We were both entertained and informed by 5th grade students from the WOLF Program under the direction of teacher LAUREN BAER.

Working in pairs, the kids showed images of their chosen subject on the big screen, played sounds of that night singer, and gave the audience a series of interesting facts about their creature. They then challenged the audience to try making the same night song as their subject. At the end of their segment, all the WOLF students stood together on stage and answered questions from the audience. The entire audience broke out in night songs of their own. It was a sweet cacophony that came pretty close to how the real night-time choir sounds on a soft summer evening.

David Harrison Elementary music teacher, HAILEY ACKLIN, led a group of her students in performing “A Chorus for Four Frogs.” And following that, Hailey and her talented singers led the entire audience in reciting the poem together. It was all great fun.

Between the two main events I read a few poems from AFTER DARK and THE DIRT BOOK. The program lasted exactly one hour. Later I sat in the hall and signed books that were for sale. My sincere thanks to STEPHANIE SMALLWOOD, Youth Services Coordinator for The Springfield-Greene County Library District, for being a perfect host for the evening, always being there in the right place at the right time.

My September Word of the Month poem

Hi everyone,

Here’s my BOSK poem. It’s a good word and fun to explore.

Down by the Tracks
By David L. Harrison

The endless train rumbles by.
I, too bored to count cars,
feel the earth tremble
as it trembled when I was ten.

When friends slept over,
we rode bikes, played catch,
looked for bugs and odd rocks,
but our favorite place
was down by the tracks.

Blackberry bushes that drew blood
and trees wearing vines like snakes
admitted kids only, no parents allowed.

Well once we found a hobo camp –
empty bottles, cans, blankets –
but mostly it was just us
and twice a day rumbling,
earth trembling trains.

We didn’t know the word bosk.
We called it down by the tracks,
our secret place where we,
with slender shirtless bodies
astride high limbs,
could speculate on what boys
wondered about.

The last car groans and creaks
into the future.
Someone behind me honks.
The earth has stopped trembling.
I move on.

REMINDER: For anyone in the area, this weekend it’s Wordfest in and around the public square. Here’s the link. I hope you can come and tell others.

On Saturday morning at 11:30, in Park Central Branch Library, Resident Artist Ensemble presents “David Harrison and Friends,” dramatic readings of my selected work ranging from my first book for children (THE BOY WITH A DRUM) and Christopher Award winner BOOK OF GIANT STORIES to more recent books and poems, including PIRATES, SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK, COWBOYS, SOUNDS OF RAIN, THE MOUSE WAS OUT AT RECESS, BUGS, and several others.

The readers are all equity actors with yards of credits and tons of talents. To hear them read my work just blows me away. I’m flattered that they include me as one of the readers.

“David Harrison and Friends” was performed last winter as the second in a series of Missouri authors being honored by the Resident Artist Ensemble group. Previously they’d read from Daniel Woodrell (WINTER’S BONE). The weather was awful for my reading so I’m delighted to have another chance to see my work presented.


Time to post your answers

Hi everyone,

For those who played IN OTHER WORDS, it’s time to post the quote that inspired you so others can see if they got it right. Thanks for playing and thanks to Matt Forrest and Renee LaTulippe for providing the idea.

Mine, “I have no expectation that anything I write or read, no matter how well metered or rhymed, will rival the creative sap of an angiosperm or, for that matter, a plain old gymnosperm,” came from Joyce Kilmer: “I think that I shall never see/a poem lovely as a tree.”

As for the reading of my work yesterday: It rained during the night and began snowing early in the morning. Lots of wind and swirling flakes. The temperature hovered at 32. By 4:00 the snow had all but stopped. However, the wind continued to whip the cold air and the damage had been done. After discussing earlier in the day whether we should go ahead, we elected to hold the event. Sadly, one of the most pleasant experiences of my writing career was shared with only twenty-five people. We had a wonderful event. The performers were fantastic. What a joy it was to hear the voices in my head brought to life by such talented people!

For making the event possible, I thank Julie Bloodworth for putting the event together; Jim Baumlin for facilitating the sponsorship through the MSU English Society; Ray Castrey for making kid friendly music on just about anything he can rap with a stick, touch with his fingers, or huff through; Jenny Stoessner for her magic with puppets (and who can recite “Shirley the Shand Sark” far better and quicker than I can); and Sarah Wiggin, Maggie Marlin-Hess, Michael Frizell, and Kurt Heinlein for their splendid and spirited renditions of my work. Who knew that THE BOY WITH A DRUM could be read to rap!

The purpose of the series honoring Missouri authors is to help raise community awareness of R.A.E. (Resident Artist Ensemble) so I’m sorry that more people weren’t there to see what talented performers the members are. Nearly all of them are teachers, many with advanced degrees in their fields and years of experience both in acting and in teaching others. They’re also talking about finding another venue to try this event again, hopefully in better weather! I’m all for it. Again, my gratitude to everyone, including the brave souls who attended the reading.