1. Considering the amount of trouble I have keeping up with this blog, it seems odd that I'm getting involved with another. We're just getting organized--about twenty kidlit fantasy writers, about half of us published or soon to be so. We're calling ourselves The Enchanted Inkpot. Stay tuned.
2. Like lots of other long-time readers, I have John Updike on the brain. I grew up in Beverly Farms, MA, where he was when he died. When I was growing up he lived in nearby Ipswich, and I would catch glimpses of him now and then. One time, I recall, we both heard Nina Simone at Castle Hill, a seaside mansion in Ipswich that at that time was a music venue. In the sixties, I read everything he wrote--Couples was supposed to have been based on some shenanigans in Beverly Farms, and the back-fence speculation went on for weeks. Don't know why I stopped reading him--somewhere I got the idea that he was too much for me, although I enjoyed The Witches of Eastwick. Like everyone else who's made this confession, I will now try again.
3. My writers group at the school is exceptionally eager and smart this year, and I'm also working with an eighth grader at The Bay School as well as the third-grader I've mentioned before whose villain is bent on destroying the world. The Bay Schooler is writing a fantasy novel which she hopes will be 200 pages long. Right now she's at page 64. I think she's more than capable of hitting her mark, and I'm very envious of anyone who would even attempt a novel in the eighth grade. What a wonder she'll be!
4. Went to a nice party last night, a farewell for our neighbors, Marilyn and Bill, who are moving back to Michigan to be near family. And, possibly, to stop feeling like they're at the end of the earth. Something about the ocean does that to people sometimes.
5. The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books January issue says of The Unnameables:
Island, a creepy and restrictive world masquerading as a utopia, is as memorable as the intricately developed inhabitants. The pace is languorous and measured, mirroring the easy tranquility of life on Island before the satyr and the ways in which changes ripple slowly into permanence with folks as set in their ways as these. Two maps offer additional insight into the layout of Island, though the descriptions of the setting are so evocative that the maps are decorative enhancements rather than necessary guides.