I drove up here, to Maine, yesterday, listening to the Patriots on the car radio en route, and arriving at just the time of day on a late fall day when the shadows are long and seem almost golden in the reflection of the trees. The lake water is deep blue and the air is crisp.

Farm in October

I am snuffling with a cold but that's okay because I have no commitments this week, no one to sneeze on, no speeches to cough through. I came to spend the week alone, working. And this morning I opened up one of the three manuscripts that have been in the throes of neglect, and started in.

It seems odd to be here without the dog---I think it's the first time. And I'm aware of it when I walk from one room to another, and realize nobody has gone on full alert (She's leaving the room! I must follow!) And when I drove into town to get a newspaper, no one ran out and stood by the car, waiting to jump in.

I left him home both to keep Martin company but also because I will go from here on Friday to Keene, NH, to speak at the annual Children's Book Festival that Keene State College has held for many many years. I've been there twice before.  By then my cold should be over and done, and I'll be able to enjoy being back at Keene. Katherine Paterson will be there, and Jane Yolen. The person I will miss anew is Trina Schart Hyman, who was often at that festival and is so fondly remembered there.

Last night my son and a friend came up from Portland and took me out for dinner at a Main Street restaurant. But now that I am alone I will rely on leftovers (doggie bag from last night, plus a mountain of rigatoni-with-sausage-and-canellini* I brought from home) and not bother with cooking.

"Where the Wild Things Are" is on at the local theater and if I get enough work done, I may reward myself late in the week by going to see it.

*I'm trying to remember the name of the wonderful cookbook---one word, starts with S---Ah, yes! STIR! Great Italian recipes---from which I made that the other night, in great quantities.