Archive for December 31st, 2010

2010 in the Rearview

December 31, 2010 @ 6:35 pm | Filed under:

The early part of the year was all about bread. And crows.

In the spring we spent a good bit of time in the Middle Ages.

I got LOST.

Because my kids are getting older, and their stories are their stories, this year I mostly blogged about books.

And posted pictures of this guy.


Looking back, I see it was a kind of mellow first half of the year, which is nice. The pace grew pretty intense come July, beginning with Comic-Con

…and almost immediately afterward we were zooming off on our cross-country adventure, me and the kids.

We saw some beautiful sights…


Meteor crater in Arizona



…and got to spend time with so many dear friends-and-relations. (I’m still bummed that I didn’t remember to take any pictures during our super-fun visit with Sandra Dodd in Albuquerque. She made the most wonderful monkey platter for my kids, and we talked and explored and played, and the kids never wanted to leave, and then it started to rain and we dashed for the car because I wanted to get to our next stop before the rain got too bad, and I was backing out of her driveway before I thought of the camera. C’est la vie!)

2010 was a year of literary fangirl dreams coming true, beginning with our visit to Rocky Ridge Farm, home of Laura Ingalls Wilder in Mansfield, Missouri.

(Dear Kim-from-the-gift-shop, if you are reading this—thanks again for the wonderful warmth and hospitality you showed us!)

In October, after enjoying the heck out of myself at KidLitCon, I had that splendid day in Mankato, Minnesota with the amazing Kathy Baxter and my beautiful, beautiful friend Margaret. I’m sure you remember Maggie’s hilarious account of our Betsy-Tacy tour. It was such a great day. (And then I got to spend the night at Margaret’s house and meet her brilliant children, and that was pretty great too.)

Melissa Wiley and Kathleen Baxter
Kathy Baxter, me, and the smile that ate my face. Margaret’s photo, shamelessly stolen.

Mrs. Ray's Brass Bowl!!
Mrs. Ray’s brass bowl. I about died.

The memorial walk. My feet. Margaret’s photo.

Winona's Wall
Winona’s wall. Margaret’s photo. My bliss.

Beside Betsy's porch
Betsy’s porch! My Margaret.

Also in October, the reissues of Carney’s House Party/Winona’s Pony Cart and Emily of Deep Valley came out with the new introductions by Mitali Perkins and me. And that was pretty darn exciting. Not just because I got to write an intro for a book I cherish deeply, but because Carney and Emily came back into print.

To celebrate the event, a wonderful San Diego-area children’s bookstore named Readers Inc. hosted a Deep Valley Book Party, at which I got to share my enthusiasm for all things Betsy-Tacy with a packed house of kids and parents. I read aloud the Everything Pudding episode from Betsy-Tacy and Tib, and we had lots of Q and A and cookies.

My favorite part of that whole event: the fabulous T-shirt made by one of Jane’s good friends, the lovely Miss E. Sanchez, commemorating Betsy’s Crowd and their songs, adventures, and catchphrases.


That was November, and then came this past month’s blur of CYBILs reading, and everyone being sick and getting better, and my parents visiting, and Christmas, and here we are. It was a fast year, a full year, a fine year.

I can’t wait to see what’s coming our way in 2011.


“And once again I am blessed…”

December 31, 2010 @ 8:37 am | Filed under:

These are poems that grabbed me this week. The Wendell Berry was quoted by Anne Lamott just after the Bird by Bird passage I posted on Wednesday. The Dickinson came my way in the recent New Yorker review of C. D. Wright’s One With Others, a book which sounds well worth seeking out.

Tell All the Truth
by Emily Dickinson

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant—
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise

As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind—

The Wild Rose
by Wendell Berry

Sometimes hidden from me
in daily custom and in trust,
so that I live by you unaware
as by the beating of my heart.

Suddenly you flare in my sight,
a wild rose blooming at the edge
of thicket, grace and light
where yesterday was only shade,

and once again I am blessed, choosing
again what I chose before.

This week’s Poetry Friday roundup can be found at Carol’s Corner.