Monday, September 10, 2007

Welcome to Oz! (The Book Tour)

It's like Oz, where I'm headed -- somewhere over the rainbow. Places I've never been, people I've never met -- but no strangers. In Book-Tour Oz, we are all kin.

If you are making your way to this journal for the first time, you'll see I've been practicing, in anticipation of your arrival. You can familiarize yourself with the room by scrolling down this page.

You'll find the tour schedule on the left -- hope I'm coming to a theater near you! You can easily sign up to receive journal entries in your email inbox each day. (And you can easily quit whenever you want.) You can sign up to have this blog added to your feedreader. You can just pop in and visit when you feel like it. I'll keep the front room picked up and make sure there's a pitcher of sweet tea in the fridge.

Scroll down and you'll read about the road trip that intrepid Harcourt book rep Michael Hill and I took to The Happy Bookseller in Columbia, South Carolina last Thursday.

You'll read about my love affair with Sandy Koufax and the 1960s Los Angeles Dodgers and see how my admiration finds it way into ALL-STARS. (And take a look at the comments -- you'll see that I wasn't the only fan in love with Koufax!)

You'll see how I spent my summer -- and learn some about my family, Atlanta, and my new.... husband. (Hint: it's not Sandy Koufax. But he's fine... and it's his birthday today. Happy Birthday, Jim!)

You'll meet wonderful North Carolina teachers who are writing their personal narratives.

You'll find that I'm just as nervous about this tour as I say I'm not. Something like that -- do read "Shirley Jackson and the Book Tour." You'll find that I'm excited, too. Those opposites that Uncle Edisto speaks about in LITTLE BIRD... they catch me up every time.

And if you scroll to the bottom (not far), you'll read Pat Grant's thoughts on why THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS is a great American novel. Bless your heart, Pat.

Pat and Elisabeth Grant-Gibson own Windows, A Bookshop in Monroe, Lousiana. I met them on tour with LITTLE BIRD in 2005. These women -- and their staff, and their community -- are amazing. They host The Book Report every Wednesday morning -- "A scintillating once-a-week, one-hour radio magazine about books originating live from the KMLB studios in Monroe." Check them out!

I'm going to check out a suitcase. I'll be living out of it until the end of September. I can't wait to clap eyes on old friends, make new ones, and bring stories back with me to tell for years to come. I tell my students that every moment we live is our story. And each person's story is important -- it connects us to all of our stories. Walt Whitman knew it:

"Come, said the muse, sing me a song no poet has yet chanted; sing me the universal."