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Saturday, August 14, 2010

At Summer's Height, Literary Life Continues

The audience at Dog Ears Books on Friday learned that author Donald Lystra’s success with Season of Water and Ice did not come overnight. Before his novel was published by Switchgrass Books, a new Midwestern fiction imprint of Northern Illinois University Press, Lystra had over a dozen short stories published in various literary journals across the country. Learning (by doing) how to craft the characters and story lines in shorter pieces of fiction, he said, gave him the skills necessary to write the novel.

We also learned that Season of Water and Ice began life as a short story. It was a good short story. The characters, however, had more to say and do, and that “more” eventually became the award-winning novel.

The audience had a lot of questions for Don, and he was very gracious in answering them all before one young woman’s plea for a signed copy of the novel produced a rush to the book table. There are a few more signed copies available at the bookstore—and because we’re fortunate enough to have the author as a seasonal resident in Leelanau Township, I’m sure we’ll be able to arrange to acquire his signature again in the future. In fact, all of us who have read this book are eager for him to get back to work on his second!

I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of my mother meeting the author! I was sure I had, but this morning it’s not there in the camera memory! And I took no pictures of our picnic supper or of my sister and her special birthday cake!

Today? What will today bring? Everyone yesterday was asking anxiously what will happen to the dog parade if we get rain at one o’clock on Saturday. It has never happened (though we had clouds and a few sprinkles last year), so no one knows. That’s the perennial truth about the future that it’s so easy to forget: tomorrow is not ours to see.

As always, the story of Northport remains to be continued!


Deborah said...

The first photo was great to see - Mother, Ben (with Gracie's toy at his left leg) Gracie (on the floor)and Bettie listening to Don speak! I look forward to being at the bookstore myself in about two weeks. Summer in Northport with authors - how wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I am looking forward to reading Don Lystra's first book, which I will do if I can ever get myself all the way over there to buy a copy. Maybe we can meet in TC in September . . .

I am also looking forward to seeing what you post tomorrow. A descendant of one of my Civil War veterans is traveling a good way to be part of the dog parade.

[Note: Is it possible you swapped memory cards in your camera? I found some "lost" files that way.]

Dawn said...

Very nice! I read his book, based on your recommendation and enjoyed it!

P. J. Grath said...

Dawn, I'm glad you liked SEASON OF WATER AND ICE. This one was a coming-of-age story, set in the 1950s, but the next will feature contemporary adults. And Gerry, you will like it, too, when you get your hands on it. There must be copies available closer than Northport! Not that I don't welcome a visit from you, any time, but I know it's a long way and that your life is busy, too. Also, I'll have another book recommendation for you, personally, as well as for my other readers, friends, followers and customers, very soon. Soon. For now, though, I'm going to be mysterious....

Deborah, I don't have any scheduled author events for the time you'll be here, but it's not unusual for an author to drop in unexpectedly.

Oh, and dog parade? I hope to have pix up Sunday morning. Have LOTS. It did NOT rain. GREAT PARADE!