Lois Lowry's Blog


Happy Holidays

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on Tuesday, 14 December 2010 in Uncategorized

I finally finished the afghan I've been knitting for 2 months. it's wasn't hard, just large...and because it is large, I couldn't  take it on trips. Somtimes I knit on planes, but not this time.

Afghan 2

Day after tomorrow I head to Germany, flying to Luxembourg through Zurich...long trip, always, but a treat to see my granddaughter and her family there.  I'll be carrying a suitcase full of Christmas gifts.  No homemade afghans!  Too bulky!

I was impressed this weeknd by Gail Godwin's essay in the NY Times Book Review: "Working on the Ending"..  She is, it appears, just my age—73—and begins paragraphs in this essay with statements like, "Inevitable for the old writer is the slowdown of word retrieval.".....to which I can relate (and so can anyone who has heard me tell an anecdote dotted with pauses and: "What's the word I'm looking for?") ...but she follows it with the reassuring "...a consolation prize of word delay has been an increased intolerance for the threadbare phrase."  It's true. When you work more slowly, looking for words, you no longer toss off the easy overworn phrases.

She also says—and this made me chuckle—"Now I do a lot of lying around."  I can relate to that, too, and to her observation that the lying-around time is not simple sloth but is actually productive  (as is a long shower, incdentally) ...a period when the brain is actually at work, though the legs and hands and mouth may be taking some time off.

No snow here yet, in Boston. But I called a friend three nights ago in St. Paul and she said the blizzardy snow was horizonal against her windows. Another friend in Chicago emailed me that the wind was howling and the snow flying...but she was just preparing herself for the Bears' loss against New England. Tom Brady played as if it were a bright October afternoon.

We will return from Germany next week and head to Maine for Christmas with some kids and grandkids. Today I went to UPS and mailed off my last package, in the process making myself appear to be a moron, as so often happens.  A UPS guy showed me how to use the computer—this is new, the individual computers—to print a label. Carefully I typed in my name and address, and the name and address of my duaghter in San Francisco; then I came to the section that said, "Describe your package." I looked at my package, which was not an ordinary one---it was quite long and thin (in fact when I entered the facility, a UPS guy said jokingly, "Mailing a shotgun?")--and so I began typing in, "long—maybe 4 feet long—and thin cardboard box, taped with brown package-wrapping tape..."   UPS Guy looked over my shoulder and said, "Ah, they are asking what's IN it."   Duh.

What was IN it was very hard to describe and required a slow process of word retrieval but I think it would have been true for anyone, not just an "old writer" as Gail Godein  calls herself (and me).

I'm working at the moment...and want to send it off before I leave for Germany...on an introduction to a new edition of Number the Stars.  Twenty one years since its publication! And I still get letters and e-mails about it every day. Sometimes I hear from moms who remember it from their school days and are now reading it with their children. I love that kind of continuity with a book. For me it was The Secret Garden —my mother (born in 1906) read it as a child, then read it to—and with—me (born in 1937), and then later my daughters (born in 1958 and 1961) read it with enjoyment as well. But it stopped with that generation, in my family. My only granddaughter grew up in Germany and at the Secret Garden age—for me and my daughters, probably 10—reading English was still hard for her.

Oh! One other thing. I've been getting emails from friends who have seen a new indie movie called "Tiny Furniture."  It's like the time I was a NYT crossword puzzle clue, or the time I was a clue on Jeopardy—this time I am mentioned in an obscure movie!  Sic transit gloria. (I bet my granddaughter can translate that, even if she never read The Secret Garden—she studies Latin)






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ojimenez Monday, 29 November 1999

Downsizing isn't so bad, if one can still have a room of one's own..
'A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction'

susan dampeer Monday, 29 November 1999

Your home is just lovely. My daughter and her husband live in Chestnut Hill and are house hunting...wouldn't that be fun! I hope you are well, we think of you often. Warm regards, Susan Dampeer from Saint Mary's

Kelsey Monday, 29 November 1999

Well it is a little bit of a commute from Ohio - too bad! The rooms look lovely and I'm so happy to see all those bookshelves - I'm amazed at how few bookshelves I see in houses these days.
As my husband teases me - it's not a house if there isn't a bookshelf in every room! :-)

Liz Nealon Monday, 29 November 1999

I see the spice rack. WANT ONE JUST LIKE IT! It looks like a beautiful house, I know it must be very hard to leave.

Katy Phillips Monday, 29 November 1999

We have the same kitchen set! I'll bring the tea.
I was at the SCBWI conference and loved your talk. I mean, really loved it. I am 75, related to your stories . . .am just starting on this journey!
Told my granddaughters that I had heard you and Irene, who is in love with Goonie Bird Greene, went home and wrote a letter that I am supposed to send to you.
Will you open attachments?
Should I send snail?
She wrote it first thing this morning and can't wait to hear what we should do.
By the way, my "Grandma Statis" is at an all time high!

Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

Thanks, Katy: Yes, you can send it to me as an attachment by going to my blog - www.loislowry.com - and clicking on "Email me" .... I try to answer those every day.

Naomi Monday, 29 November 1999

I keep my spices in a drawer, alphabetized (more or less). We write all the names on the lids. This sometimes requires masking tape labels. I wish the spice company that makes the spices in little green jars would go back to green lids, instead of black.

Linda Monday, 29 November 1999

(I think this is too long to post as a blog comment, but I'm sending it anyway.)
Today was a beautiful day in the Boston area, so I convinced my mother-in-law to look at some properties in Cambridge because she was thinking of moving there (from Belmont). We had some time to kill between condo open houses, so I talked her into looking at a house that was a little over her price range. (I think it's always a good idea to look at things you can't afford.)
The house was beautiful - we admired the sunny location, the cozy (and tidy!) study off the dining room, the unique spice rack (!) in the kitchen, the furniture and general decor .... My mother-in-law loved the master bedroom, and admired some photographs in the bedroom that were taken in Maine, as well as the painting over the bed. And then we looked in the basement, with an exceptionally neat sewing area, and a secluded guest room which my mother-in-law thought would be perfect for the grandchildren ...
And then I noticed an award with Lois Lowry's name on it. And then I noticed that next to it, there was a whole bookcase there devoted to your books, multiple copies, as well as audio versions. I had read most of them - I read the Anastasia Krupnik books aloud to my kids when they were younger, I read the young adult books in my mother-son book group, and of course The Giver is part of the middle school English curriculum in my town (Lexington). Even now, I'm currently reading both Autumn Street and Number the Stars in their French translations, because I'm trying to teach myself French. And it dawned on me that you must live here (which surprised me - for some reason, I thought you lived in Maine), and I felt excited, and honored, and also a little embarrassed that I was invading your privacy.
But I also felt very happy, because it was wonderful to first admire a house, and appreciate the taste of whoever lived in it ... and then discover that it belonged to someone I already admired!
After I came home, a little googling brought me to your blog posting in which you lamented the loss of your spice rack ... and I laughed out loud, because I had noticed it, and I remembered thinking what a practical design it was for a spice rack. I completely understand why you would miss it.
So - I never write authors or celebrities - but I wanted to say good luck selling the house. I love your house, and I can see how it must break your heart to sell it after all these years. But hopefully you'll love your new home just as much, and you can always have another spice rack built in.

Lois Lowry Monday, 29 November 1999

Not too long at all, Linda, and a treat to hear from you! I love anyone who loves my spice rack!
I do have a house in Maine...a lovely old farm...it is where I spend summers. Best of both worlds. (Spice rack: not as good in maine. View: better)

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