February 25, 2008

Cheers to February!

It is the end of one my favorite weeks of the year. The five days of February 21 through February 25 are very special. Allison, my childhood best friend, has her birthday on the 21st, George Washington's birthday is the 22nd (to be honest, this is the least significant of all the dates but I wanted to keep the streak going), Paul's birthday is the 23rd, and my dad's birthday was yesterday. I don't know anyone with a birthday on the 24th of February, but it's a special day, too. That's the date Paul and I got engaged 31 years ago.

I've often wondered about the significance of my strong association with these February days. I checked out the Pisces/Sagittarius connection but unfortunately these two astrological signs aren't all that compatible. Maybe it has something to do with some strange rising sign that occurred on December 2 in a decade long ago. All I know is that three very important people and one incredible event all share the same week. Cheers to one and all!

This year Paul's special day was graced by the presence of a second Sagittarian, Nora. The happy father/daughter duo graciously allowed me to commemorate Paul's birthday breakfast at Fresco with a photo.

Starting to make strides on the writing front again--maybe more like baby-steps than strides. I signed up for a 4-day summer course at Book Passage Bookstore in Corte Madera, CA. I learned about this program during dinner one night at the Big Sur Workshop. I've never been to this bookstore but I have visited their very small branch in the Ferry Building in San Francisco. I was always impressed at the amount of space dedicated to children's books. It seemed like a very high percentage of the total books in the shop. Children's literature is not always valued so highly.

The July dates of this conference fit in with my summer vacation and being able to drive there makes attending the conference very appealing (and much less of an investment than the Oregon Coast Children's Book Writers Workshop of last summer). Once I saw the faculty I was sold. I was thrilled that Isabel Allende would be there. I love her adult books and I think her middle grade adventures are exciting, too. One of the things I find most intriguing about her books is that she writes them in Spanish and then they are translated into English. The collaboration between author and translator intrigues me. It must be very challenging to find the exact English words to capture the essence of Allende's beautiful, lyrical writing. Margaret Sayers Peden has translated her adult and her children's books. Allende must have great trust in Peden's abilities. I'm not going to worry about who will be translating Emelia's story. I still have a long way to go on the English version.

Closer to home I am going to a SCBWI workshop in San Luis Obispo on Saturday with writer pal, Patty. Events like this get me in the writing mode, as did my recent coffee shop rendezvous with another local writer. Even though the two of us are writing in totally different genres it was fun to discuss our different writing processes and helpful to read a bit of her manuscript. A little motivation goes a long way.

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