For no particular reason, this morning I woke up thinking about a poem I wrote more than twenty-five years ago in a book called THE BOY WHO COUNTED STARS. Among the comments to my blog and Facebook posts yesterday, someone mentioned that book so that must have triggered the memory. Anyway, for what it’s worth, here’s the poem, “A Brief Romance.” Also, for what it’s worth, I can’t get rid of the column of numbers running down the left margin, another frustration thanks to the recent overhaul by WordPress.com .
“Oh Mistress Hen,
Won’t you let me in?”
The fox asked
With a foxy grin,
But the hen said, “I’m too clever.”
“I love you so,”
He murmured low,
“Just one little squeeze,
And then I’ll go,”
But the hen just cackled, “Never!”
“Don’t make me blue,
My sweet Baboo,
I’d do anything for you,”
But the hen said, “No you wouldn’t.”
“My knees are weak,
I can scarcely speak,
I long to kiss
Your lovely beak,”
And the hen said, “I just couldn’t.”
He winked and smiled,
“My darling child,
I’ll only stay
A little while,”
And the hen said, “We really shouldn’t.”
At last the hen
Let the fox come in,
And no one knows
What happened then,
Though it only took a minute.
I can only say,
When she hopped away,
Her tummy was round
And it made her sway,
And I think the fox was in it.
(c) 1994 David L. Harrison
Tomorrow I’m having lunch with an archeologist friend of mine, carryout ribs, seated socially distant around a conference table in his department. Neal Lopinot, Director of the Center for Archeological Research at Southwest Missouri State University, was helpful in every way when I was researching and writing MAMMOTH BONES AND BROKEN STONES (Boyds Mills Press, 2010), the story of the search for the first humans to arrive on the North American continent. Via phone and e-mail he introduced me to several of the key players in North and South Americas whose research and discoveries have unearthed important clues about the long standing mystery. They provided me with pictures from their major sites, responded to my questions, one or two even read and critiqued my manuscript in progress. It was by far the most complex story I’ve ever written about and the best book of nonfiction I’ve ever done.
Reviews liked the book a lot.
“David Harrison has managed to effectively, succinctly, and understandably decipher the myriad
issues involved in understanding the peopling process for a young audience in a way no other author
has.” — J. M. Adovasio, Ph.D., D.Sc, Director, Mercyhurst Archaeological Institute
“It is a well written, thoughtful and data rich discussion of how archaeologists view the peopling of the New World.” — Richard Boisvert, State Archaeologist, NH Division of Historical Resources
“Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones: the Mystery of North America’s First People” is a fine middle
school ages 9-11 teaching book about the search for early North American human settlers and
ancestors and their origins…Children have a first rate opportunity to learn the basics of scientific scrutiny of a theory about human history and prehistory. — James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief Midwest Book Review
MAMMOTH BONES AND BROKEN STONES was recommended by National Science Teachers Association and nominated for the Society for American Archaeology’s 2010 Book of the Year for “a book that is written for the general public and presents the results of archaeological research to a broader audience.” I didn’t win but was extremely flattered by the book’s recognition.
Neal, Jack Ray (Assistant Director of the Center), and I get together now and then to catch up on one another’s news. I follow some of their actions through the Archeology Journal that I subscribe to, but getting it first hand is far more interesting.
Whew! This morning I’ll finish the end notes for AFTER DARK, my next book with Boyds Mills Press. There are twenty-two poems (1,439 words) in this group so it meant twenty-two 100-word end notes (2,200 words), each on a different animal. More and more I’m grateful for those degrees in biology! The layout for a 3,639 word picture book is going to be tricky. I might consider dividing it into two titles if it runs too long. I look forward to seeing how it turns out.
I’ll spend most of the day going back over each piece, circling and double checking key points. By this afternoon I plan to click the final manuscript off to Mary Colgan and take a minute to celebrate.
If there’s time, I’ll get back to a long story that’s less than a week from completion. If there isn’t, I’ll declare happy hour!
Last week I finished the novel and completed the first draft of a nonfiction-based story. Giles Laroche is at work illustrating my next book of poetry with Charlesbridge and Julie Bayless is working on my next collection with Boyds Mills. No one has been chosen yet for the one after that. For now at least, those three are out of my hands.
Today I’m supposed to hear from an editor about an educational book proposal but until that comes I’m on my own with a week of few meetings and nothing under contract that requires attention. I don’t have a clue at the moment about how I’ll spend this week, but I can’t wait to get started.
This marks the last week in his office at Boyds Mills Press for my friend and long time editor, Larry Rosler.
I’m not sure when we met but it would have been early in my relationship with the folks in Honesdale, probably in 1991 or so. I do remember the first of our sixteen books together. WHEN COWS COME HOME was inspired by a Gary Larson cartoon on my desk calendar. I loved the humor and was instantly taken by the possibility for a book about zany tricks that cows might play behind our backs. Larry liked it too and that was the beginning of a long, cordial relationship. Our most recent collaboration was COWBOYS. Here is the whole list.
2010 Mammoth Bones and Broken Stones
2007 Piggy Wiglet (redone and reissued)
2006 Glaciers, Nature’s Icy Caps
2005 Farmer’s Dog Goes to the Forest
2005 Mountains, The Tops of the World
2004 Earthquakes, Earth’s Mightiest Moments
2003 Oceans, The Vast, Mysterious Deep
2002 Rivers, Nature’s Wondrous Waterways
2002 Volcanoes, Nature’s Incredible Fireworks
2002 Dylan the Eagle-Hearted Chicken
2001 Caves, Mysteries Beneath Our Feet
2001 The Book of Giant Stories (reissued)
2000 Farmer’s Garden
1997 The Animals’ Song
1994 When Cows Come Home
I don’t know what Larry plans to do in his retirement. He’s just a kid so I can’t imagine him being overtaken by the rocking chair anytime soon!
I thought today would be a good opportunity to say goodbye (at his office address) and to say, “Thank you, Larry, for everything. Others should be as lucky as I have been.”