16 July, 2009

On the road

It's 5.49 a.m. in Auburn, New York. Today we drive the last leg to Vermont, through the Adirondack Park; the last 2 days' racing across the countryside has all been in order to take our time in the wilder bit.

What a country they've got here. It has Amish people in it, and deer, and cornfields, and fields of … all sorts of other stuff. And the trees are ridiculously thickly leaved and an almost lurid green. And the houses are impossibly quaint or impossibly haunted-looking. And the weather is storybook summery. And the food options are … interesting, and usually huge.

Sorry not to have blogged more, but we've been on a mission here, and it's not left much time to blog unless I do it from the passenger seat of the rental car, and, hm, we don't want upthrow on the keyboard, I don't think. Yesterday particularly was all winding (side to side and up and down) country road, and I wouldn't have had a chance. Plus, if I put head to pillow I'm unconscious in an instant with the jetlag – hey, sometimes that happens even as we drive – and my screentime has been all emails, and by the time I've finished those Steven will be climbing the walls, as we've brought only the one laptop, and technically it's his. So, excuses, excuses.

Basically, we've been having the best time. There is nothing like being feted as a way to start off a trip, although it does make it difficult – you know, the rental car is small and it takes a bit of work after every night's sleep or day's stop to stuff my bloated head back into it. And now, if I should happen to forget all the champagne and flattery (Greer Gilman said on the phone I should call it 'just praise' – okay, Greer, just praise it is :) ), I have a Printz plaque in my wheelaboard that I can take out and pat, at any time, to remind myself. Alice Sebold has a strange, starting-off-squeamish article about literary prizes and editing Best Ofs in the Atlantic's Fiction Special at the moment (bought at Auburn Wal-Mart – my first ever Wal-Mart and what a Wal-Mart it was, my my), and I gotta say, Alice, that is not my experience of prize nights. The Printz ceremony was so nice – twice the size of the one back in 2006, so it's really grown in reputation and interest, this prize; and not as grand and terrifying as the Newbery Caldecott Banquet the night before, i.e. we didn't have to eat our dinners on stage (now THAT would make a person self-conscious). Such a crowd – 2 standing ovations for each of us, and cheers and hooting that really made this honoree feel like a rock star.

Plus, at ALA, I signed, I think, more books in 2 hours than I have in my whole life before. 'You looked for a minute as if you forgot how to spell your name,' said one bookbuyer, late in the second hour, and I had to admit that I was beginning to have some doubts.

Gab-gab-gab, I went, and so much smiling! I'm really going to have to get my face in trim for smiling if this ever happens again. My face ached, I tell you, and if anyone pointed a camera at me (a lot of teachers/librarians have an 'author wall' in their school library) the corners of my mouth would go all wobbly.

Too much fun. Too many friends, old and new – there was no way of enjoying them all properly. Too much new city – I didn't really begin to see it, apart from our lovely river view from the hotel room (the cars on the bridge nearby made a wonderful noise, that sounded so much like a blues choir, it took us a couple of days to work out that it wasn't actually piped ambient music).

Better stop now. Vermont awaits, and there is breakfast to eat before we set out (Wegmans raspberries, yoghurt and bananas – and no eating implements; this will be interesting).

More soon I hope.

PS The UK bear-hug of a welcome for Tender Morsels continues – I banged out some remarks-in-response for the Sunday Express yesterday, so expect them to join in soon.


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