All four workshop performances of The Weatherman Project sold out at Seattle Repertory Theatre last week. Here’s a pic from the last night’s show.
Books for Thinking Kids and Choosy Grown-Ups
I do not like to do the same thing twice. I’m far more likely to try a new recipe than reprise one I’ve made before. When a dish pleases my family or guests so much that it’s impossible not to repeat, it’s never as much fun to make the second or third time—still just as delicious (maybe even better) but the process has lost much of its charm.
Our wonderful cast, and a shot of Director Sheila Daniels and my co-author Elizabeth Heffron hard at work during rehearsals.
Foreign travel is one of those activities that invariably requires new tricks. It’s also said that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. So whatever made my husband and me think it would be a good and fun idea to take his 84 year old arthritic, heavy, walker-and-wheelchair-bound mother to Slovakia in the middle of December?
This seemingly dubious plan was hatched in the spring, when my mother-in-law Dorothy began talking about wanting to see the land of her grandparents. She was born in the US, as were both her parents, but all are 100% Slovakian; she grew up in a Slovakian neighborhood, speaking Slovakian at home. But no one in her family had ever gone back to visit and she decided it was time to go.
In all of China there is only one time zone. There’s also only one political party, and no elections to speak of. But that’s another story.
This one is about this morning, when most of us Americans switched from daylight savings time to standard time. I had two strikes against my being able to navigate this time slip successfully. First, my husband Peter, who is my go-to numbers guy, was out of town rebuilding his mom’s back deck. Second, the time mattered: I had an 8:30 am breakfast scheduled with two friends at a nearby restaurant.
Since I don’t read the papers, it was sheer luck that I even knew time was moving back to standard. But I’d heard somebody mention it, and I know the “spring ahead, fall back” mantra. So when I went to bed last night I carefully moved the bedroom clock back one hour. Then I put my watch next to the bed as well (in case of a power outage), but did not remember to change its time. Or at least I don’t think I did.
I woke early, according to the clock, and decided to start the laundry and chop vegetables for a soup I planned to make for dinner. Then I looked at my watch and couldn’t remember if I’d changed it or not. Then I looked at other clocks in the house. I had three different times going on: 6:05, 7:05 and 8:05. Most of the clocks had the 8:05 time. Yikes! I would be late meeting my friends. I knew that some clocks nowadays switch automatically. So which was right? I looked at the phone, surely one of the automatic changers. It said 8:06. Double yikes!
I quickly got dressed and flipped on my laptop. It said 7:07. I googled Pacific Standard Time and it said 7:08. I still wasn’t entirely sure. I waited a few minutes and googled again. 7:10.
I met my friends happily on time, and even got the second load of laundry in before leaving the house.
But, pathetically, I still don’t understand how the clock I set back one hour last night came up wrong.
Just back from the Washington Library Media Association conference where I gave a talk about middle grade books titled “Reading is Traveling.” It was fun to put together. I talked about how the best books always go beyond the question “what happens next?” to the bigger and more interesting question “who am I?” We all know that the better the question, the better the answer—some books are more successful at engaging readers on these different levels than others.
One of the many aspects of reality that irritate me is that books seem to have sell-by dates, as if they rot after a couple months in the open air. Books have seasons too—fall releases and spring releases, just like clothing. How stupid is that? How can ideas and stories and characters and experiences be sorted in and out of existence that way? Well, obviously they can, because they are, but it’s Not Right.
While the rest of the country seems to be broiling to high degrees of summer doneness, our little upper left-hand corner in the Pacific Northwest is having the coolest, wettest spring and summer yet. Only four or five days have hit the mid-70s since last summer. The Parks Department lowered the temperature that triggers the filling of the wading pools around town—otherwise toddlers would have no place to splash except the rain puddles on the sidewalk.
My blog-writing has been recently derailed by life-living. Isn’t that always the deal? Should I sit down and create life on the page, or go out and live, i.e., do all those things I need and/or want to do? But isn’t writing also a kind of doing? Yes, if you are Tolstoy or Virginia Woolf or Flaubert. Also yes if you write for a living, if it’s your job. I don’t fit into either of those categories.
Copyright © 2013 Kit Bakke