May 9th, 2007

book cover

Dallas Days

I’ve just returned from the big D where I spent a couple of days making school visits and attending other bookish events.

Dallas is quite a piece up the road as they say in Texas, so this was the first visit I’d made with my book. What was I waiting for??? Even though my big hair (crazy curly loopy bigness) isn’t what they mean when they say Big Hair in Dallas, I was welcomed with vigor and treated like queen of the hop.

First, I’ve got a set of very funny, thoughtful, loving cousins there – and did I mention funny?!?! One night they served a spectacular seafood lasagna with a very fine Sonoma Syrah, and what better to accompany the meal than pirate-themed paper napkins? All while their Labrador swam in the pool out back. I love whimsy.

Second, I got me a little free-time (I’m serious – FREE time; can you fathom?) so I visited the Sixth Floor Museum (aka The Dallas Book Depository) which delivers history, political intrigue, and a good cry all in one fell swoop. Jackie, in her pink suit, leaning toward JFK almost as if she planned to kiss him, tender and totally present before hurling herself over the seat onto the trunk of the car in utter terror. And the folks on the grassy knoll running or hunkering down, sure that shots had rung out from there, too. Between the audio tour and the photographs, I was pretty well clobbered.

Third, reading with kids continues to be one of my purest joys. On this visit, I spent a day at The Hockaday School with their pre-K, kinder and primer students. Hockaday’s an all-girl’s school that just sparkles and pops with attentiveness and energy and name tags. I really wish more school kids wore nametags when guests visit. It is such an easy intimacy, being able to converse with the audience that way. Nametags aside, the groups were large, so I did my PowerPoint thang, bringing everyone up close and personal. And we sang songs about pockets and rifled through my fishing vest and had an all-around hoot. Even the question and answer session was fun. (I mean, sometimes this age group’s questions are “My uncle works at a library” and “My mom has those same shoes”).

Then, yesterday afternoon, I read and signed at an event sponsored by Educational First Steps – a truly noble organization dedicated to enhancing early childhood educational opportunities for kids who are likely to slip through cracks. The tea (for staff, board, donors, clients) was on the 69th floor of a bank building downtown (my ears popped on the elevator, I kid you not), and was proper (strawberries and clotted cream, tiny tarts, sugar lumps). I got barely a nibble, but what a delight to sign book after book after book for my tiny audience members, to read to them, to get them giggling.

I scurried straight from the tea to DFW in order to catch a flight and make it back to Austin in time to wrap up my semester at ACC.  Suffice it to say, I took a nap today. A happy one. Don’t you love doing what you dream of?