Okay, the first person who can tell me where I lifted the title for this post gets a free copy of my fairy tale CD, “No Tricks. Just Magic.” (Hint: It’s a children’s book. I need title and author.)
Seriously, though, I do hope to see some blog readers with familiar faces next week when I’m in Jonesborough for a week as Teller-in-Residence at the International Storytelling Center. Tuesday through Saturday, May 22-26, I’ll have daily concerts at 2:00 p.m. in the Storytelling Center theatre. General admission tickets are $10. People who have worked this gig tell me the audiences are mostly adults, which means that unless the place gets visited by a school field trip (highly unlikely this close to the end of the academic year), I’ll be telling my stories for grownups. I’m thinking this might be a dream gig, and I might be in Little Pig Heaven for the week.
Spring has blossomed into a season of road trips. So much so, that I feel as though what I really do for a living is drive.
Just in the past month I’ve been to Richmond, Virginia, for a reprise of Beyond Barbie. The second time around was enough of a rousing success that our instigator, producer and guiding light, Susan Singer, is making plans for yet another evening’s entertainment. I’m hopeful she’ll be able to find a venue that will permit her to hang at least some of her paintings that started it all — life-size nudes of real-life women. The following weekend, my dear friend and partner in crime, Lynn Ruehlmann, and I made a road trip to Woodruff, South Carolina for the Stone Soup Storytelling Festival. A mid-week trip for a triple-header in Northern Virginia followed hot on its heels. And then to Gulfport, Florida for my son and daughter-in-law’s third wedding (more about which in a moment). I did a touch-and-go at home, and then got back in the car for another trip to Richmond for three days of storytelling and origami to celebrate Children’s Book Week. Saturday evening, finally, I was able to perch. Having a full week at home without having to think about packing and whether or not I have enough clean underwear…it feels like a vacation.
A word about weddings. Last year at the Florida StoryCamp one of my stories (The Bob Mapplethorpe Memorial Condom Wallet) elicited a similar story from one of the attendees, who told Jack and me that she and her husband had gotten married nine times. Whenever the opportunity presented itself — cruise ships, the drive-thru window at Reno, roadside chapels — they got married. Again. And again. My son and daughter-in-law were so taken with the concept that they decided to follow suit. May 5 was their third wedding, the wedding for moms and dads and immediate family members. The second wedding, the Ren Faire wedding, was a party for close friends. And the courthouse wedding, #1, was just the two of them. I’m waiting to find out what shape wedding #4 is going to take.
So many wonderful people all jammed into that one short month. High point number one was spending the evening in Newberry SC with some friends of Toby’s whom he met more than twenty years ago at his first National Storytelling Festival. My hostess went all out with a theme dinner, the theme being: “What’s the secret ingredient?” It was in the chicken, the congealed salad (in the Southwest, where baby marshmallows are considered a fruit, we call that jello salad…with a lower case “j”), and the chocolate cake we had for dessert. The secret ingredient was none other than Co’ Cola.
The most recent high point of the past month’s travels was the interior of the Richmond Public Library. I had only been inside the building once, several years ago when there were renovations underway, so I didn’t notice then what a jewel it was. It’s got stacks! Metal stacks all painted regulation battleship gray, with their own private clanging staircases from level to level. Down in the basement, what was once the “Boys and Girls Room” now houses a collection of old and rare children’s books, only recently catalogued and made accessible, not for circulation but for research. Standing there took me back to library school at the University of Oklahoma where, to my astonishment, there was a smaller, but still significant, rare children’s book collection. I remembered writing a paper on Anthropomorphic Vehicles just so I could fondle a first edition of “Little Toot” and “Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.” Maybe if I get to the point where I don’t have to generate income, I can spend my dotage volunteering in a place like that.
Three more days, and then I count underwear and blood pressure pills, download some podcasts and a book to listen to in anticipation of hitting the road again. I think I have one uncommitted weekend between now and late August. It’s good work. It’s fun. It matters. I make almost enough money to call it a full-time income. It feeds my soul. AND…I’m really looking forward to a long stretch of days, maybe even weeks, when I can return to this sweet home I live in now and turn those nouns “nest” and “feather” into verbs.
(P.S. I just found out how incredibly easy it is to create links within a blog post. Judging from all the hyperlinkage visible in the preview, it appears I may have overdone it.)