Back late last night from Portland, Oregon. The pilot of the plane from Chicago-Boston kept updating us on the status of the final playoff game, and it was a sad night for Red Sox fans. But so exiting for Tampa Bay! And their first time.
In Portland I saw two performances of "Gossamer"...really interesting, how different it was from Milwaukee. Same script; same words. Different sets, different costumes, different actors.
The theater director, Stan Foote, had specified 10 and up as the appropriate age for the show. Nonetheless a few people brought much younger children and even though the theater staff talked to them before they entered, trying to dissuade them...it didn't work; and one complained afterward about the inappropriate content. But that was an unfortunate exception, and it seemed to me that the audience appreciated and enjoyed the play very much. Waiting to read a review!
Someone has alerted to me to that fact that in a blog somewhere, someone (too many "someones" in this sentence!) commented waspishly that he? she? had heard me say that I don't read children's books, that I am an adult and read adult books. Quoted like that, it sounds priggish and holier-than-thou in some odd way. So I'll just try to re-state what I had said, and have said whenever I'm asked the question.
It is generally true that I don't read children's books. Not for lack of interest or appreciation. But I find - when choosing a book to read - that I gravitate toward those about people of my generation, by and large. Kids do the same thing, of course. I think we all like to identify with a main character who grapples with the same kinds of problems we do. For me, that usually means an adult novel. (or non-fiction; I actually read a lot of biography and memoir) Flying home from Oregon, I read "An American Wife" by Curtis Sittenfeld (and was startled to see a reference to one of my own books in it!) and "My Invented Country" by Isabel Allende.
(Yes, I read fast)
And it is certainly not that I disdain books for a young audience. It's what I choose to write, after all. I read reviews and sometimes a description will send me to a children's book...I read the current Newbery ("Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!") BEFORE it was the Newbery (and commented about it here) because I am particularly interested in the Medieval period. I read "Hugo Cabret"---and mentioned it appreciatively on this blog.
And "A Visitor for Bear"---my favorite picture book last year (of those that I saw: not too many since my youngest grandchild is almost 8)
But time is a factor in my reading. I read when I can, most often when I'm traveling, and as it happens what I chose to read are usually adult books. So many books; so little time!
And---speaking of writing---here is an excerpt from an essay by Garrison Keillor. I thought of it when I wrote the word "waspishly" in an earlier paragraph, because I love GK's use of "Weaselish, piggish and buzzardly":
The American people are poised to do something that could not be imagined 10
years ago, or even five, which is to vote for the best man regardless of his
skin color and elect him president. The campaign against him is not one that
anybody will point to with pride in years to come. It is a long trail of
honking and flapping and traces of green slime, as if a flock of geese had
taken up residence in the front yard. But Barack's cool poise in the face of
blather is some sort of testament to American heart and humor. The man has
walked tall and his wife has turned out to be the brightest figure in the
whole political parade, an ebullient woman of quick wit and beautiful
spirit. Bravo, Michelle.
Onward, America. We've all seen plenty of the worst -- the sly cruelty, the
arrogant ignorance, the fascination with trivia, the cheats, the weaselish
and piggish and the buzzardly -- but we can rise above it if we will only
recognize a leader when one comes along and have the sense to let him lead.