29 October 2010

OK: The Loving Libraries Tour: “Rose In A Storm”

Back on the Farm. Lulu and Fanny are happy

Lulu and Fanny are pleased that we are back on the farm. The threesome is reunited.

October 29, 2010 – I'm firming up the ideas for "Rolling Rose: Loving Libraries Tour." I've got a slew of invitations and I'm thinking of doing this tour in winter, mid-to-late January and early February, one week to 10 days. I'm thinking of starting out here, in Granville and Cobbleskill, then going down to Westchester, then Bucks County, Pa., and then Scituate, Mass. and then Cape Cod. I've got to plan it myself, so I could end up anywhere. The libraries can sell books if they wish, as a fund-raiser, or not. I hope to persuade Maria to join me, but that depends on her work.

The idea has several elements. First, to call attention to libraries at a time when they need attention. Secondly, to promote my work, especially "Rose In A Storm," a novel. And then, to continue the amazing conversations I have been having with readers in libraries and in Book Clubs and even private homes, and I will visit some of those on this tour. And I will use the blog and Facebook – no traditional media – to promote it and bring people out.

It's a different kind of book tour and a very exciting one for me.  I can't wait, although I should a bit. My agent, who is tough and clear-headed, thinks it's a great idea. Libraries represent the best in us, and I can't imagine better places to to go talk about books and writing. I loved the time I spent in libraries on this tour. They are vital, necessary and important to us.

I am still on this book tour, though, so I can't respond to all of the libraries writing to me, not this week. If you could all just wait a week or so, that would be helpful to me. I can't veer too far off this route, as I am driving myself and paying for the travel and I don't charge anything to talk at libraries.  They have enough budget issues. Also,  I can't take much more time than that off of my work.

So it's taking shape and looks like I will do it. Maria seems intrigued.

November is like that. Back on the farm

So many beautiful things

Some days, the sun seems to be struggling to come, to touch the colors and shapes and images of the world. Life is like that, I think, the bright and beautiful parts fighting their way up through the fear and confusion and anger in which so many choose or are forced to live.

November is like that.

We are back on the farm, after a solid month of driving around, talking and pushing "Rose In A Storm." A beautiful experience, all in all. Tonight, shopping, sitting by the fire, reconnecting with our world. Just one more trip – Concord next Saturday. And I'll start plotting a library tour when I catch up with things.

Found a good wrap

On the Mass Pike. Roasted vegetable burrito. Owned
By McDonald's, it seems. Home to dogs, donkeys and some interviews.

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Into the rain

So grateful for all the good messages and thoughts about me, and the novel, and my life. Feels like we are sometimes on a great trip together,
And how strange and lovely that is. Definitely doing the library tour for "Rose," a book worth fighting. in libraries. Feels right.

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Book tour: Time to turn

Izzy and me (the shadow) in Ohio

October 29, 2010 – Framingham, Mass. I will be speaking at the Concord Authors Breakfast next Saturday at the Concord Inn in Concord, Mass., but otherwise the book tour ended pretty much in Framingham with a great conversation with a lot of people who read my work. Book tours are exciting, but not real life – real life is not sitting in rooms night after night talking about yourself and your work. Time to get back to life, life, the dogs, Izzy and yes, work. My thoughts?

My most successful tour by far, if also one of the most grueling. Lots of people, lots of questions, and I am sick of myself. A writer's life depends on getting into the heads and minds of people outside of yourself, and I am eager to get back to that. To the farm. My study. Walks with Maria. New ideas. The blog, and to continuing the rich conversation I'm having with people all over the country.

The novel was a shock to many people, expecting more memoirs and non-fiction books, but everybody seems to have gotten over that and I could not ask for better reviews or responses to a work. That is a very powerful thing for me. The book is selling very well, and I think, will be selling for awhile. Returning to fiction was a bit of a risky move. I'm glad I did it.

Ohio was memorable for me. Columbus, Cincinnati, the Woodford Library, the Bainbridge Library, Joseph Beth's. Big crowds, very focused on my work. I decided to leave Izzy behind, and  just be a writer, and that I think was a good move. Although I suspect a lot more people would like to see Izzy than me. I have been able to give more attention to the people who want to talk, and they to me. This was a great evolution in my relationship with Maria as well. Far from losing her identify on my book tour, she seemed to strengthen hers. Maria has struggled in her life to find her voice, and she has it now. You could see it. Another gift.

People love their dogs. Wow. Dog lovers are loving people. Interacting with this affection is changing me, it's contagious, and is affecting my work. I want to capture this more effectively in my work.

I see the great power of bedlamfarm.com to reach people and calm them, make them smile. Maybe make them think about the power of individual creativity, the importance of telling our stories.  I see the power of the photographs. Of the messages of encouragement and perspective. This is something I hear more distinctly on each book tour. We sold another eight packs of Family Farm cards in Framingham. More of these signed cards – which benefit family farms and farm aid – can be viewed and purchased on the Redux Gallery site. Thanks for buying so many and I hope we sell more. Holiday notecards are also up, new ones coming.

I am very pleased to have focused much of the tour on Book Clubs and especially libraries. I think the tour has demonstrated to me, and hopefully to others, that writers can reach beyond traditional audiences and engage readers and books lovers directly.

Rumors to the contrary, culture and reading and story-telling and bookstores and publishing all seem alive and well to me, and quite vigorous. E-books are changing things, but the world is clearly not coming to an end. Stories are alive and well.

I need now to focus on my work – and I hope to have a conversation with many of you about this in various forms – face to face, e-mail, Facebook, in libraries and homes. I have three books scheduled for publication in the next year or so – "Meet The Dogs Of Bedlam Farm", a children's book,"Going Home: Finding Peace When Animals Die," due out from Random House next year, and my short story collection, "Dancing Dogs."   I need to figure out what to work on next. Another short story book? A sequel to "Rose?" Or perhaps another non-fiction report from Bedlam Farm, to bring lots of puzzled and curious people up to date.

I have personal goals as well. To build a spiritual life, to find more peace, to read more things, to think more clearly, and to savor every day of my life with Maria and never take it or her for granted. Also to set up a library book tour for "Rose In A Storm" possibly in January. Lots to do. Time to turn away a bit from the novel, and fill my head with new ideas and images. Thanks, thanks, thanks

– November 13, "Creative Union 2/Affordable Art for the holidays, Redux Gallery, Dorset, Vt. Photos, notecards, fiberart, paintings.