Here are some questions from my pals at McKinnon Elementary School in Salinas, California, followed by my answers.
Here's the secret, I think. Sarah and I don't always agree on everything. It would be weird if we did, right? But we always respect and listen to each other.
I'm 10 years old. In dog years, that is.
I love your teacher. Tell her the check is in the mail.
You're killing me, kids. I love you more. Look for something in the mail next week.
Just another Monday night at the Ames Free Library in North Easton, Mass. Do you see why everyone keeps calling this place one of the BEST public libraries in America? Do you also see why I love coming here every August? (Sorry the pic is so blurry. The whole scene was a moving target.)
This is one of my favorite rooms in Queset House, a learning commons owned by the Ames Free Library. See the bust on the left? That's Oliver Ames, who left $50,000 in his will for the construction of a public library in his beloved hometown of North Easton, Mass. I'll be here at Queset House through the end of August. If you're in or near North Easton, Massachusetts, and want to talk about your books or mine, please get in touch with me. We can meet right here to talk, plot, or scheme.
Happiness is having a friend so nice, she not only checks on my house while I'm gone, she also sends me pictures of the butterfly on my butterfly bush. Thank you, Joyce!
Do you know the simple act of reaching out, by putting pencil to paper and mailing it, you can make a new friend? I just did. And I count Jason, in Dedham, Massachusetts, as a terrific new pal. We both like art and like to draw. We both have dogs named "Maggie" (but is yours short for Magnolia?) and I think we both like striped shirts. But I think he wins for the coolest pants. I don't have anything as fancy.
To answer your question, Jason, I think your drawing is fantastic!
P.S. Did you know my sister Kate is teaching a class in letter writing at the Ames Free Library in North Easton, MA? Tuesday nights in August at Queset House from 6-7 pm.
The hardest thing about visiting Chautauqua is learning how to spell it. Chautauqua. (That's almost as hard for me as Cincinnati.) But once you've got that part down, it's simply a matter of choosing what you want to do while you're there. Listen to a lecture by a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist? Attend a performance by the world-class Chautauqua Symphony or a smaller chamber ensemble? Go for a bike ride along the nearby country roads? Or would you rather just wander around the postcard-perfect Chautauqua village and admire the pretty houses? No worries. You can do it all! I did, and I was there for only two and a half days.
Whenever I travel, I like to pick out a house for Olive, Iggy, and Seymour. Here's the pile I found for them in Portland, Oregon. Perfect, right? It's called the William Temple House, but in my mind it's Spence Mansion PDX.
Luisa! I just met a girl named Luisa.
Well, I didn't meet her face to face. But I feel like I've met her because she sent me the most intriguing envelope covered with stickers, smiley faces, flowers, and stamps. From Germany! I nearly choked on my lunch (an omelet) when I opened the envelope and found this drawing by Luisa's brother, Julius. Can you believe how great it is? There's another fabulous drawing by their younger sister, Paulina. And then there's Luisa's letter, which--dare I say it?--is simply perfect. "Stephen King said that he believes writing is telepathy," Luisa says in her letter. "I believe sometimes words are like music. It's not a language for only one person, and nobody can understand everything (even the composers), but everybody can understand something."
Luisa. I'm going to write you a letter immediately. Be patient. It'll take time to travel from Missouri to Germany. (Note to self: I need to find out the name of the person who translated our 43 Old Cemetery Road series into German. I want to thank him or her for introducing kids like Luisa, Julius, and Paulina to our books.)
I'm returning to North Easton, MA, in August for my third writer in residency at the Ames Free Public Library. This year I'll be leading workshops in the old-fashioned art of letter writing (dates and times TBA) and living, once again, in the ridiculously charming Queset House. Come visit if you're in the area! We can sit in the parlor and write letters.
Oh, the things you find while cleaning your mother's basement. Seems I was into the epistolary genre way back when. (And yes, I was Katie during my cavity-prone years.) But do you see how I needed Sarah even then to provide illustrations? My efforts were a bit lackluster.
This page is where we write stuff just for fun. If you want to read our old blog posts, you can right here.