Saturday, April 2, 2011


"I am an artist...I am here to live out loud." So said the French writer, Émile Zola, who was born this day, April 2, in 1840, on Hans Christian Andersen's 35th birthday. I wish I could say the same - well, I could, of course, but I mean say it and have it be true. W/ me it's more like here to live in fits & starts, curled up in my little rooms w/ my little dog OR, as I've done this past couple of weeks, bunging the little dog into the friendly slammer run by her vet then hitting the road. Off to talk to kids brought by the busload to Warrensburg, MO, for the U. of CM's 43rd annual CLF. Then east & away & over the Mississippi, across the Land o' A.L., over the Wabash, into Indiana, over the Ohio – mindful, mindful, mindful of dugout canoes, flatboats, keelboats, & steamboats – and into Kentucky.
Not until I worked on my book about Dan'l Boone did I discover that he hollowed out a massive tulip poplar tree to make a 60-ft. canoe for his family's move from KY >MO, 'bout 5 years before Hans C. A. was born. Can you imagine?
Anyway, 4 days in once-much-contested coal & forest-rich land of the Shawnee to entertain kids in 9 different schools then home again, home again. Part of the journey a hand-trembling, breathless crossing of the Father of Waters in a snowstorm in which Hans Christian Andersen's Snow Queen might well have been whirling, sharing the barely visible road w/ blockheads who care only that they can see and care not whether their cars can be seen. Either that or they're broke and their headlights are coin-operated. Talk about dim bulbs.
Just back I am from doing approximately 11 presentations in one long, joyous day at South Elementary School in Jackson, MO, 'bout 350 miles away, down 'round Cape Girardeau. Along the way home I stopped to do a walkabout in Ste. Genevieve. Fresh in my mind is the beauty of stone buildings built when John Adams was young. Green painted shutters...

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