Planning for April and cleaning my workspace

Hi everyone,

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.

Harrison papers

Hi everyone,

Off and on for over the past few weeks I’ve been poking around in the basement, garage, and filing cabinets, gathering manuscripts and correspondence regarding published work to place on loan at Myer Library’s archival collection at Missouri State University.

I’ve done this in the past. On the first occasion I had several boxes of manuscripts and correspondence appraised, took my tax write-off for the donation, and gave them to Ophelia Gilbert for her archival collection at James C. Kirkpatrick Library on the campus of Central Missouri University in Warrensburg, Missouri. By the next time I felt ready, Congress had changed the law about authors donating their papers. My work was worth the cost of the paper it was printed on. Needless to say, I placed that part of my work on loan rather than make an outright gift. Still waiting for Congress to decide that an author’s papers are worth something. What I’ve given or loaned to Kirkpatrick is available to students or other interested parties in 35 boxes plus some folders. They’ve done a very nice job of sorting and arranging for users’ convenience. http://guides.library.ucmo.edu/harrisond1

This time I’ve decided to place my papers on loan to Myer Library. It is here in Springfield and will be easier for me to access if for some reason I might want to look up something in the future. I’m working on an agreement to leave these papers on loan for a long enough period of time to protect the library’s investment of work, time, and knowledge in displaying and protecting the papers, after which my family could reclaim all or part of the work if it should suit them to do so. My opinion is that the papers are much better off in a library than stuffed in boxes in my basement.

The week to be

Hi everyone,

Looks like a good week coming up. Monday is lunch with an old friend, Laurie Edmondson, a Drury University professor in the school of Education and Child Development, with whom I wrote a book about writing a few years ago.

Thursday evening is the annual Missouri Writers Hall of Fame Student Awards Banquet. I had the pleasure to help start the organization with three others in 1993. At this event four of us will read the winning works of area students who were selected from entries in the LAD Fair (sponsored by the Language Arts Department at Missouri State University in Springfield), itself an annual event that attracts around 7,000 student entries each year.

Friday evening is the annual banquet sponsored by The Breech School of Business at Drury. The school is named for Drury graduate Ernie Breech who, during his brilliant career, served as head of Ford Motor Company and Trans World Airlines. I was inducted into the Breech School of Business Hall of Fame in 2004. This year an old fraternity brother is being inducted so I look forward to seeing him again after all these years.

Saturday from 10:00 – 12:00 I’ll sign my newest book, CRAWLY SCHOOL FOR BUGS, at Barnes & Noble in Springfield.

Otherwise it looks like a good week for writing and I know exactly what I’ll be working on. Unless, of course, something else comes up. Which, of course, is likely to happen.

The new hope

Hi everyone,

I attended the annual Student Awards Luncheon yesterday at Drury’s School of Education and Early Child Development. I had nothing to do with it but as adjunct faculty of that school and poet laureate for Drury I get invited to nice things. I watched as nine young graduating teachers received awards for outstanding work during their student careers. Several of the awards are named for friends of mine — Wanda Gray, Polly Copper, Sharon Price, Dan Beach.

On the way home I made my way through snarled traffic around another campus, Missouri State University, and was reminded that these special ceremonies to celebrate smart and dedicated college graduates are taking place all over America. It’s a good feeling. The media keeps us up to date on trivia, trash, and tragedy. But yesterday I sat in a room watching great representatives of the next generation being recognized for the marks they’ve already made, and I felt better about our world than I have in a while.