I am beginning this new year, as I have the last few years, by attending a poetry-writing retreat held at a convent/converted orphanage in Mendham, NJ. This year our poet leader will be the astonishing Kim Addonizio. I'm in New Jersey right now, spending the night in the cozy teddy-bear-filled home of my sister and her husband - which also happens to be our childhood home, which she bought some fifteen years after our mother sold it to its intervening owner.
Before I write any poetry, however, I'm heading in to New York tomorrow morning to meet up with some fellow authors at Alice's Teacup on the Upper West Side. We will drink tea, eat delicious scones with raspberry jam and clotted cream, talk, talk, talk, and, best of all, be sprinkled with fairy dust.
This will be my fourth fairy dust sprinkling. The first time I had the fairy dust sprinkled on a manuscript, which my agent sold to Knopf/Random House weeks later. Ooh! That fairy dust was something else!
But I have to admit that the second and the third sprinklings proved disappointing. I had the bound galleys of that same book sprinkled the following year, and while the book got a couple of lovely reviews, it hardly made a noticeable splash in the publishing world. Then the year after that, I was emboldened to ask for love - and didn't get it. Had I become somehow impervious to the powers of fairy dust? Had I, like the Fisherman's Wife of the fairy tale, been too greedy? Asked too much?
Yet now that I think about it, the fairy dust worked both of those times, after all, just in a different way and with a longer time lapse than I had expected. My book Mason Dixon: Pet Disasters has been selected by the Olathe School District in Kansas as the selection for its Families Read Every Day program later this month: they are buying 14,000 (!) copies of the books to give to every student from kindergarten to sixth grade in the entire school district and flying me in to do five days of school visits. Woohoo!
And love? I've reconnected with my family in a deep and satisfying way, and my year and a half at DePauw has brought me wonderful new friendships, and this past Christmas my life was so crammed to bursting with wonderful old friendships that my heart almost aches with the fullness of it all.
So I'm ready for fairy dust tomorrow. I don't know exactly what it will me bring me this year. But I'm trusting that it will bring me something beautiful.