Sunday, October 21, 2007

Did You Get the Number of that Truck?

Flat as a piece of shirt cardboard, that's how I've been, but I'm recovering -- have recovered -- and I'm on the way to Dallas, Texas this afternoon, where I'll work in Dallas schools all week. Yesterday Jim and I bought local honey, pumpkins, apples, tomatoes, and boiled peanuts (and that beautiful pink pitcher in the background) at a street fair in Loganville, where we stopped on the way home from a signing at the brand-new indie, The Man in the Moon Bookshoppe in Monroe, Georgia.
I'd driven to Monroe by myself, had a fabulous time with owner Vicki Worsham (who used to work for B&N and then Chapter 11 Bookstores in Atlanta) and her able assistant Allison (left), who teaches at the University of Georgia in Athens.

Customers drifted in and out of the downtown shop while I was there, but we had only one customer looking for a Deborah Wiles book, and that was at the end of our hour together. "Our downtown is being revitalized," said Vicki. "I wish you could have been here last week when 2500 people were here for Monroe Days." I was in Nashville last weekend. And I have learned that a booksigning is not about the number of people who show up the day of the signing. It's about creating a relationship with a bookseller, which is something I dearly love to do. I especially love to support brand-new independent bookstores. Man in the Moon opened its doors eight months ago.

It did my heart good to see members of the Wright Family asking for THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS specifically because they'd loved LOVE, RUBY LAVENDER so much, and because a friend loved ALL-STARS so much she'd given Mrs. Wright a copy of Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS. Connection, connection, connection. I'm so glad I went to Man in the Moon.

It was such a beautiful fall day -- a wondrously beautiful day -- and I loved being out in it. I took my time driving home (Monroe is about an hour east of where I live in Atlanta) and stopped in Between, Georgia, ha!, at the Between Nursery, where I bought rosemary and creeping fig for the house. I kill houseplants, but I'm determined to try again. Then I stopped at a flea market, where I found this chair (Cleebo has found the chair, too). I've been slowly renovating my house, corner by corner, and finding a treasure or two to put in the new rooms.

I couldn't fit the chair in my car, so I called Jim to see if he might be able to come get it this week while I'm in Dallas. "I can come right now!" he said. And did. What a sweetheart.

My $45 fan-back chair has found a home, and Jim and I found a street fair on the way home, where we bought Nu-Grape and walked in the sunshine for an hour.

We went to supper with friends, then friends came over to make music. Here's Dan on trombone and Jerry on trumpet.

Laurie on washboard:

Jim on tambourine:

The big finale:

Then we all collapsed in laughter. What a cacaphony of sound! What music! I'm grateful for good friends.

Over the past ten days I've also been to Nashville for Southern Festival of Books and to Jekyll Island, Georgia to speak at the COMO conference. I met up with old friends, made new friends, found good books, good food, good times, and I'll share it with you -- I took lots of photos. But let me finish with home, since that seems to be so on my mind right now, as it always is when I'm about to leave it. I'll start another post about travels.

Here's a picture of the far end of the kitchen, where the washer and dryer used to be. We moved them downstairs and have created a pantry here (or Jim Williams has).
You can see the creeping fig here -- hope I don't kill it -- and the yellow boots I bought in Maine years ago when I waded in Rachel Carson's salt pond.

One day I want to write about Rachel Carson. She believed so deeply in the interconnectedness of all things. She wrote: "If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantments of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength."