Last weekend, in Maine, I began hearing sounds in an unused chimney that runs behind the kitchen stove. At one time, obviously, there had been a woodstove there because there is still a (covered) opening where a stovepipe had once been connected. I was afraid, though, to take that cover off because I was afraid an entire family of trapped squirrels would leap out at me if I did. The noise...chirping, chittering, skittering...was periodically very loud, other times completely silent. Finally I called Tom, my exterminator, who previously had had to deal here only with the ubiquitous mice, plus once with powder-post beetles in the barn. He said he'd come Friday.
Lois Lowry's Blog
I have actually been at my desk today for six hours straight, working, writing, with only a few internet excursions...one, to look at trips to Rapa Nui (Easter Island), a place I have always dreamed of going. Most people say, "you want to go WHERE?" but finally I have a friend who says she'll go with me if we can both find the time, etc. My own schedule is pretty self-defined because I am self-employed, but of course I have a ton of conferences and speaking engagements on my calendar. And my partner-in-crime is a university professor so she has to work around that. But I bet we can do it...sometime....if we put our minds to it.
OKay, this is procrastination of the worst kind. I should be working. But I sat down early this morning with a cup of coffee and the local weekly small town paper. And the NY Times, as well; I went to the store at 7 AM, when it opens, to get the Times; I can't get it delivered here, the way I do at home. But somehow on a summer morning in rural Maine, it is the local paper that holds my interest.
I saw off my German family last night at the airport....Nadine, age fourteen, goes back school early in August, I hope with some very happy memories of Montana. She was practically glued to the saddle; on our last day there, she rode 17 miles on a trail in West Yellowstone. Now she says she prefers Western style to English, which she has ridden since she was six, but it would be tough to find Western type riding in Germany.
Today I drove back to Maine with Alfie....one of the worst drives I've ever had up here: torrential rain all the way. Usually a 3 hour trip, it took close to four and a half. But here we are, and happy to be here, although it is still pouring and Alfie does not want to go outside.
Yesterday afternoon, here in Montana, my two grandsons and I hunkered down by the small stream that flows past my cabin. Using stones and twigs and sticks and plants, we built a miniature village with a wall around it, a sacred gate, a totem pole, two dwellings, a fire circle, and a path to the huge river, over which we built a bridge. We composed a chant involving the village crane (he was paper origami, nesting in a tree we had built from a forked stick) and then, chanting, we flew him to the river and let him sail away on its waves.
I have been in Montana for this past week, with children and grandchildren...and laptop...thinking I would get some work done (WRONG) while they were all off riding, etc...but instead it is all I can do to answer my email each morning.
Last weekend I was over on the coast of Maine, visiting my friend Middy, and she and I went to The Gallery at Widgeon Cove in Harpswell, home and gallery of very gifted artists Condon and Georgeann Kuhl. Here's a snapshot of the view from their front garden, and another of the pendant made by Condon which I bought. Their website is http://www.widgeoncove.com/
Yesterday---Sunday----we took the grandsons, 7 and 9, up to the top of Mt. Washington in New Hampshire by the steam-and-coal operated cog railway. Mt, Washington, at 6000+ feet, is the highest mountain east of the Mississippi and has a reputation for brutal weather in winter. My friend Monroe Couper, a composer who shared a residency with me (and others) at the MacDowell Colony in 1980-81, died on Mt. Washington in the winter of 1994---froze to death when climbing in terrible weather. But on a summer day it seems benign, even at the top, and the view over the Presidential Range is spectacular.From our property in Maine we can see it, in clear weather, in the distance: snow-capped through June, usually. One startling thing yesterday was that our train car contained several Hassidic families, the little boys with their side curls, mothers with their heads covered...fathers with beards, black suits, and fringed prayer shawls over their shirts and under their vests. In addition...and very startling...was an Elvis impersonator. All of this made a mountaineering expedition seem a bit like a Fellini movie. I kept expecting nuns and dwarves to show up.
Because I was off on the mountain trip, I did not hear the NPR interview with me that was on yesterday but I heard this morning from a number of listeners. They did a nice job of editing (I listened to it this morning by going to the NPR website) but took out the funny dispute Liane Hanson and I had about the pronunciation of "wizened."
A couple of years ago I planted wildflower seeds across the border between my mowed lawn and my meadow..
This morning I answered an email from a teacher who is about to start using "Number the Stars" with a group of boys and wondered if I had any additional information that would enhance the experience for them. I suggested that he? she? (can't remember) research Kim Malthe-Bruun, the young resistance fighter who was executed in Denmark by the Nazis, and who was the model for Peter in the book.
(1) Kim Malthe-Bruun, letter to Hanne about his experiences of being tortured by the Gestapo (3rd March, 1945)...
My friend, writer Kathryn Lasky, lives in Cambridge, as I do, and summers in Maine, as I do, but quite a distance from me. Recently she emailed me a photo of a piece of sculpture made of found objects - created by a sculptor who lives near her in Deer Isle. Kathy is the author of the owl series: The Guardians of Ga'Hoole (which I may have spelled wrong, Sorry, Kathy) so her owl sculpture is quite appropriate.
She was terrified. Until Kuzo laughed at her from the bedroom.
Pileated woodpecker in the apple tree. Evening grosbeak on the bird feeder. Two wild turkeys just strutting around. An average day.
Now that I am back from New York, the play is off and running and in the hands of the two directors, Stan Foote in Oregon and Jeff Frank in Milwaukee This morning Jeff sent me sketches of set design and costumes..all of the behind-the-scenes, before-the-show stuff is so interesting! The final readings in New York went smoothly and the audiences at the three performances had lots of comments. Me, I can see how it begins to come together and jumps off the page and into a whole other realm. I'll see the final version in its opening in Milwaukee September 19th, and then...different version...in Portland in late October.
Well, this is irreverent, I know. But I am picturing an interview show in the afterlife, with host Tim Russert having two guests: Tasha Tudor and George Carlin.
Someone has just alerted me to the fact that there is a band in North Carolina called "Jonas Sees in Color," their name inspired by The Giver . Attached, a photo of the band, looking not at all like members of The Community!
I am still in New York, still in the apartment that NYU has made available to me in a high rise building in Greenwich Village. My apartment is on the 13th floor.
Coming back to my temporary apartment in Greenwich Village last night after the play rehearsal, I passed a sports bar that was open to the street...inside everyone was watching the Celtics/Lakers game; I was able to stop and see that the good guys were ahead. I was too tired to stay up for the end of the game but in the morning there was a text message on my cell from my son: YES! it said; so I knew the Celtics had won.
Last night (Sunday) was the evening that began the workshopping-of-Gossamer-the-Play. If I can successfully move the snapshot from my cell phone to this site, you will see a group of actors sitting around a table, along with me (playwright), Stan (director) and Cecily (dramaturg). First, the entire play was read straight through, with very few interruptions (although Actors Equity requires a ten minute break every hour and twenty minutes) and then it was read a second time, (but without the stage directions being read this time) with the director stopping things now and then for (sometimes lengthy) discussion about a particular character, or the relationship between characters in a scene, how the characters were evolving, or what exactly we were trying to do, with a bit of dialogue. There was some trying things different ways, some experimentation. My role was mostly listening, and I did that with enormous interest and appreciation for the hard work everyone else was putting into it..
I spent yesterday afternoon on the island where i lived when I was 15, 16, and 17 years old... It was a very hot day- and I was going on from there to dinner and the theater - so I didn't want to have a camera dangling around my neck; but I wish I had been able to take better pictures. This is just a snapshot with my cell phone, of the house where I lived....but what you can't see is that from the windows in the back of the house, you looked out to the water of New York Harbor, and beyond it to the skyline of Manhattan, a 7-minute boat ride (one I took each morning to school) away.