A very nice day in Rochester, New York

Hi everyone,

Busy, fun day yesterday at the Rochester Children’s Book Festival. Thousands of people came through during the course of the day and I thoroughly enjoyed being part of it. Here are two pictures, one before they opened the doors at 10:00 a.m. and one at the end of the day at 4:00 p.m. Of the eleven of my titles the festival folks had ordered, a few copies were left representing four titles (one more sold after this picture was taken.

I’m grateful to the co-leaders of this year’s event, Barbara Underhill and Vicki Schultz as well as the numerous volunteers who performed all sorts of tasks that made the festival so successful. I loved being with friends — MJ and Herm Auch, Jane Yolen, Heidi E.Y.Stemple, Vivian Vande Velde, and Nikki Grimes — plus dozens of other active and productive authors and artists.

Now for home. I took work to keep me busy on flights going and returning, but during the extended layover in Chicago going, I finished it all. I was “forced” to work on a poem.

I told you it was going to be a good week

Hi everyone,

I finished two PB stories this week, completed and submitted the proposal for ALA next June, agreed to terms for a conference in early April, wrote a 500-word text about Ellis Island in the early years of the 18th century, reviewed (and glowed over) a digital copy of next year’s picture book with Jane Yolen, tightened up my schedule for editor visits in New York next month, and corrected the first draft of an article about me for an upcoming issue of SOMETHING ABOUT THE AUTHOR.

If it’s okay with you, I’m going to take the weekend off and maybe smooch with my sweetie — once we decide where to go to do it. That would make the week just about perfect.

Coming in 2020

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I got a peek at the full digital copy of my next book, a partnership with Jane Yolen that got its start here on the blog. It was one of those days when I posted something that amused Jane, who responded in kind, to which I answered, etc. until we took our game off-line and turned our play into a book. I can’t show you any of the wonderful art by Anjan Sarkar, but I’m delighted by the whole thing and look forward to seeing this one in print come April or so of next year.

Jane’s killer rhyme scheme

Hi everyone,

Yesterday Jane Yolen laid down a challenging rhyme scheme in her contribution to September’s poems inspired by VINE. Here is it again in full. I liked the aabbb pattern in each of the first three stanzas and to make it more interesting, Jane uses the same opening line for each of those stanzas and the same line for each of the three transitional lines between stanzas. And then she wrapped up the whole affair with a witty couplet, cc. Wow!

Jane Yolen
September 1, 2019

Vine Thoughts

Every day I think it fine
To end up with a little vine.
But truth to tell (and this will stink)
I actually do not drink. . .

Which leads me to another think.

Every day I think it fine
To end up with a little whine.
(But truth to tell (and wink, wink wink)
I think a whiner is a fink.

Which leads me to another think.

Every day I think it fine
On darkest chocolate to dine.
But truth to tell this makes me drink.
So into depths I start to sink.

Which leads me to another think.

Every day from now I’ll try
To stick to veggies and stay dry.

©2019 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

With thanks to Jane, here’s my effort to follow her pattern.

Vine Lessons
David L. Harrison, September 2, 2019

When I was young and tasted wine,
if some was good a lot was fine.
The more I drank the more I bought,
till one night as I grew besot,

I had another vine-fed thought.

When I was young and tasted wine,
tipsy I kissed a sweet fraulein
and she kissed me till we were caught
and a painful lesson hubby taught.

I had another vine-fed thought.

When I was young and tasted wine,
I learned the grape is not benign.
The morning after’s not so hot.
My stomach churns, my brain is rot.

I had another vine-fed thought.

Every day from now I’ll try
to stick with vodka until I’m dry.

©2019 David L. Harrison all rights reserved

A good day to end on

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I won! The recalcitrant poem finally tired of teasing me and allowed me to steer it to a rather satisfactory conclusion. I borrowed one of Jane Yolen’s happy dances for that!

It was also a good day because Mary Jo Fresch and I concluded our manuscript for the new NCTE book and she clicked the 190-page manuscript on its way. This one began casually with an idea from Mary Jo on August 3, 2017. “I got an idea the other day…a book of nyms. Here is what I thought…I would give the explanation of the nym (antonyms are words that have opposite meaning, blah blah, blah), give examples (hot/cold; fast/slow, etc.), and a suggested lesson. You, of course, would use some in a poem. They are in the standards across the grades. Doable?” I, of course, said yes. This makes our 7th book together. So now, 889 e-mails and a handful of Skype sessions later, we’re ready to see what our editor makes of it. Next step is that the manuscript will be sent out to professionals in the field to gather their responses. We’ve already gone through this process once, in the beginning, before a contract was offered based on an extensive proposal.

And finally, I got a lovely note from a teacher/editor in France about the new book for ESL students. Here’s her message. I don’t think Melanie Herment will mind.

Dear David,
I want to thank you so much for inspiring our students with your poem. I am a teacher and author of textbooks in France, and we have once again used your wonderful ‘”It’s me” poem in a book for ESL students: In Full Swing 2nd (Ed. Didier, as always 😉 I have used your poem in class and the students loved it. We talked about art and the process of inspiration, which is why I asked them to make their own diptych and poem, and to record the poem. You can discover some of their productions here (if you’re interested): https://bit.ly/2JqLKPn ; https://bit.ly/2vDM9Wo and on the Facebook page of our collection: https://www.facebook.com/infullswingeditionsdidier/
Thank you so mcuh 🙂

Good day? I think so! And today we pack and leave this lovely place on the gulf to return home after an absence of twenty-five days. I’ll admit to some goo foffing along the way — and it has all been lovely — but a little work has gotten done as well.