15 October 2010

Communing with Lulu

Lulu's head-butt

When a donkey wants to show affection to another donkey or a human, or wants attention, they use their nose. If you are sitting or kneeling and ignoring her, as in fiddling with the camera, she will lower her nose and lift it up and send you sprawling. Pay attention to me, she seems to be suggesting. So I do.

People on the tour: All the way from Waco to meet us

Regina and Mark, from Texas

October 18, 2010 – A brave crowd braved a nasty, windy Northeaster to come to the Crandall Public Library in Glens Falls last night, led by Regina and Mark Helm who came all the way from Waco, Texas, to hear me talk about "Rose In A Storm" and to meet Izzy. So I inaugurated a new photo book tour feature, People On the Tour. Regina and Mark came with a sack of just about every book I had ever written to sign and I spent some time talking to them about Texas, and about the farm. THey loved hanging around with Izzy.

Regina said she follows the blog several times a day and talked about the photography, and I was a bit numb at the idea that somebody would come all the way from Texas to hear me talk at a book signing. It was great to meet them, two of the warmest, loveliest people one might imagine. I gave them some Family Farm notecards – they have 110 acres near Waco – and I hope to meet them again. It's tough to generalize, but people who love animals often seem very loving to me.

A nasty storm blew all day and soaked the area and I was surprised to see so many people there. I talked about the novel and one person asked me if the changes in my life – getting divorced, re-married, Maria – had affected the novel. Yes, I said. "Rose In A Storm is an awakening story, about a sentient being's coming to consciousness. It was happening both to me and Maria – we were unhappy and lonely, and we awakened to a different way of living together. This is all over the book, as many people have seen.

Izzy was his stellar self, working the aisles and crowds, sweet-smelling from his day at Muddy Paw's in Shushan N.Y.. Eileen did an amazing job, and Rose was licking her hand when I came in, a bit of a surprise. She loved Rose, said she was one of the sweetest dogs she had ever seen, and she said Izzy was no problem. So Izzy and Maria and I head for the Halfmoon Library in Clifton Park tomorrow afternoon (2 p.m.) and then set out for Ohio. We stopped at a Benson's Pet Center and got some stuff for Izzy: food, a ball,  a tick collar, a frisbee for the road. He had a lot of biscuits from the audience, and I have to remind people not to give him so many, as it isn't healthy for him. It is hard for people who love dogs not to spoil them. Another great night on the tour. Going to bed, my fifth talk in less than a week.

Like a river flows

I would love to live...

Sunrise, Bedlam Farm. Off to the Crandall Library in Glens Falls, book tour continues

"I would love to live,"

"Like a river flows,

Carried by the surprise

Of its own unfolding."

– John O'Donohue, Conamara Blues

Leaving Rose behind

Without Rose on the tour

Rose did well at her reading the other night in Saratoga and people were eager to meet her. Izzy is much easier to bring on a book tour. He is quiet in the car, and loves traveling. Izzy fits into one's life like a glove. Rose is more complex, which is why she inspired a novel. I always feel safe when Rose is around, as she has been a partner here. Now that I have a human partner here on the farm, her role is different. But I always love going to the back door, mumbling out loud, "Rosie, let's go to work" and waiting for her to rush up behind me.

She'll be fine without me, she always is. But I wish I could have taken her. So far all of the bookstops have been fun. If I can say that at the end, it will have been a super success.

Inside the book tour: Trains and rains

On the book tour: Train and rain

The rain in upstate New York is torrential, and I wouldn't blame anyone for staying home instead of coming to my reading tonight. However many people show up, we will have fun. I loved taking the train yesterday, comfortable, with less of the intense scrutiny and discomfort of contemporary airline travel. Got some sales figures and the novel just about made the New York Times Bestseller List, but not quite. Still, very good sales and maybe we can keep it going. My agent thinks there's a good chance to hit the list, but I'll keep you posted, either way.

Bestseller lists are not especially important to me, especially since so many strange books – political rants, mystical texts – get on their these days and sell tons. But they are important to the publishing industry, and they effect contracts and book marketing. They also don't count e-books, which makes them increasingly unreliable barometers.

Packing, scrambling, running around. I have great local bank, Glens Falls National, and the bank manager and tellers actually know you and say hi when you come in. I love living in the country. Got to figure out what to wear to the reading tonight: chinos or jeans ): Got to pick up Izzy from the Muddy Paws (I love that name.)