It’s crunch time here on the island, and my brain is practically mush from all of the latest running around — but I had so much fun this weekend, and so much photographic evidence of all of that fun, that it would be downright evil to keep it all to myself.

(More in-depth commentary on the fun will be coming soon — as soon as I’ve had seven cups of coffee and maybe a nap or twelve.)

First up:  ALA Mid-Winter.  Saturday night I was interviewed by the much-loved John Mason in a Tonight Show-style talk-show format.  Here I am with our host and my fellow panelists:

M.T. Anderson, Pam Munoz Ryan, John Mason, Patricia McKissack, Kathryn Lasky, Philip Reeve, a strange little girl who'd like you to notice her hands, Francisco X. Stork*

*Missing from this picture is the lovely Alice Hoffman, who sat next to me as we waited to be called on stage and made me laugh and temporarily forget how absolutely terrified I was to be there.

The presentation involved each of us sitting on the couch and being interviewed by “Johnny,” one by one.  Luckily, the always hilarious David Levithan was there playing Ed McMahon, just in case you did something like forget the name of your book or something.  The whole experience was a little bit like that dream where you’re making a presentation in class and you haven’t done your homework, except that it wasn’t class, the homework was me, and the front row was full of my heros.

Here I am saying something that may or may not have made sense.  You’d have to ask somebody who was actually in the room and not floating like a vapor high above it:

David Levithan, M.T. Anderson, floating vapor, John Mason

Later (after the coffee and naps) I will tell you more about how much of an incredible honor it was to be standing for a photograph with these people, let alone sitting on a couch with them and answering questions.

I will also tell you about Philip Reeve’s floor-length coat and lace-up boots, which were beyond dapper and merit a blog entry unto themselves.

WELLESLEY BOOKSMITH READING/BOSTON LAUNCH PARTY

From the hotel in Boston I went straight to the Wellesley Booksmith, one of my favorite local indie booksellers, where I gave a little reading, forgot to ask for questions, and signed the crap out of a ton of books.

Here I am having my signing hand massaged by a loyal fan:

And here I am being introduced by the gracious Jane.  This is, apparently, where my face started doing interesting things beyond my control:

This also must have been when I started smelling badly, since nobody would sit in the front row.

Later that night, my parents hosted fifty or so of our friends at their home in Weston, and once they were all trapped in the living room I read them the entire book from cover to cover, while executing a number of costume changes and negative-space performance art.

Just kidding, but maybe that happened, who knows, I was a shell of a human by then.

This is the only picture I have from that part of the night.  I am posing next to a life-size poster of the New Yorker cartoon heard ’round the world, in which a scene from my book is illustrated as the fantasy of a young girl reading my book in bed.  With some sort of pointy-eared orange cat beside her.

(Oh, what a long, strange trip it’s been.)

*Many thanks to my oldest and most intrepid friend Lauren, who spent literally hours on the phone with The New Yorker people trying to get this cartoon reprinted.  She has also been to just about every single one of my family gatherings, to the point where my aunts and uncles used to introduce her as my “special friend.”  Special, indeed.

Shortly after this picture was taken I collapsed on the couch with a cold compress and watched the Golden Globes.  Was it just me or did Mickey Rourke turn orange?  Also, why so much bathroom talk from Mr. Cameron?  Not an image I needed to be hallucinating as I drifted off to sleep…

That said, it was the perfect end to a perfect weekend.  Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who made it happen.

xoxo

akb

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