October 31, 2012
This isn't really about Halloween. This is about long-ago projects that occasionally come back to life: call them Undead Books.
This week I got an email from someone named Billy, who is a member of a band and wants to use some of the illustrations from my book titled MASK MAGIC, published in 1978, 34 years ago, my seventh book. The illustrator was Melanie Gaines Arwin. I never met her, had no contact with her, and have no idea where she is now. Billy writes, "I was struck by the strangeness of the illustrations when taken out of context." He wants to use some of them as part of the band's new album packaging. Imagine that! Of course that sent me off in search of my only surviving copy of MASK MAGIC. And Billy is right--the illustrations are wonderfully strange. I'd love to have them come to life again.
Yet another book comes back to life: WHITE LILACS, published much more recently (in 1992) and now used as the basis for a student's film project in Denton, Texas, where the story was set. Follow this link to view the film:
October 20, 2012
The goal is to be out the door before 6:30 a.m. In the elevator I meet Dave, on his way to Starbucks with his two little dogs. Karen is cleaning the lobby and greets me in Spanish; sometimes we manage a rudimentary conversation. On weekends her 13-year-old daughter, Angelica, helps her. It's still dark, temp in the 40's, light breeze.
Turn west and greet the guys in the day-glo yellow jackets, cleaning up litter outside the nightclub. At the Gold Street Caffe the manager is setting up the outside tables; by noon it will be warm enough to sit here in the sun. Farther on, outside the Federal Building, the flag is already up. Duran, the security guard, waves and wishes me a nice day, and the guy who tends the flower bed near the flagpole calls out greetings. People are on their way to work; the bus stop here is busy.
Two blocks on and I'm out of the Downtown business district and into a quiet residential area. No traffic, a few people walking their dogs, several bicyclists, a couple of runners, lots of cats. The cats ignore me, but the dogwalkers, bicyclists, and runners all wave. We see each other often. The smell of roasting coffee floats down from Java Joe's, one street up. I pass Danny's house. He's a slam poet, and he's been talking about moving to Portland. I haven't seen his old car and wonder if he's gone.
I reach Kit Carson Park and turn right; almost half way. The sky is light now, the sun will be up soon. One long block and I turn right again, now heading east. The gardens that were so lush during the summer are faded now, but a few people have put out pots of fall flowers. Another right turn and then a left. Last year I watched the daily progress on a big house remodeling project. Now the owner jumps rope in his garage in the mornings.
The lights are on at Peggy's. A teacher, newly retired, she was often working in her garden, and we've gotten acquainted. Someday, we promise each other, we'll get together some afternoon for coffee. Through the years I've made several friends on my morning walks, and we DO get together occasionally.
The attack chihuahuas at the corner of 11th and Gold are not out much now. Too cold, I guess. At 8th Street cars continue to run the stop sign. The woman who works in the North Valley at a plant nursery walks fast to the bus stop to catch the express; she's carrying a brown bag, probably with a scone from the Flying Star.
I pass June, who comes in by bus from the East Mountains every morning. For 8 months we waved and said Hi, and then one day she stopped to talk, and we made plans to go out for lunch. She's walking with her neighbor, Harry, who for some reason I called George until June finally corrected me.
Giuseppe's Coffee is open now, and a few men in suits and ties are eating breakfast at the Gold Street Caffe. The sun is up. Another block and I'm back in my building, grabbing my Albuquerque Journal, reading the headlines while I ride up in the elevator. Tony is still asleep. It's 7:30. I've walked 3 miles. I feel good. A shower, breakfast, a look at the paper, and I'm ready for the day.