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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Far From New York, I Lead a Literary Life

Petunias at Bella Fortuna

Although my news from Northport this week is literary, I’m going to give a lot of it in pictures. You can follow the links for more words.

Poet Teresa Scollon
Teresa Scollon was at the Leelanau Township Library on Tuesday evening, where the audience happily succumbed to tears in response to her quiet reading of very powerful poetry. She read from her book of poems, To Embroider the Ground with Prayer, talked about her writing process, answered questions, and wound up by sharing with us a new poem. Teresa and I will be connecting again, as I am determined to get her back to Northport this fall for a visit to Dog Ears Books, so that people who missed her at the library will have another chance. She is, as some of my literary friends say, “the real deal.”

Dorene, Trudy, Linda, Pamela, Marilyn 
Dorene O’Brien, fiction writer from Detroit, is the real deal, too, and her annual visit to Northport is the occasion for a group of us to get together for lunch and writing talk. This year we convened at Bella Fortuna, the new Tuscan restaurant in Lake Leelanau. O’Brien is the author of Voices of the Lost and Found (a short story collection available at Dog Ears Books) and many other stories, one of which you can read online here. I highly recommend the tiramisu.

Don't skip dessert! 
Lynne Rae Perkins
Finally, Lynne Rae Perkins, Newbery winner for her YA novel Criss Cross, trekked up to Northport from Suttons Bay with posters for the new children’s book she illustrated, Seed by Seed, a children's story of Johnny Appleseed written by Esme Raji Codell of Chicago. We will launch the book at Dog Ears on August 21. That’s a Tuesday evening, and the event is scheduled for 7-9 p.m., so mark your calendar now. And while you’ve got the calendar out, be sure to make a note about Bonnie Jo Campbell’s reading at Dog Ears, too, on Sunday, August 19, 1-3 p.m.

Poster in bookstore window

Finally, did you read Doctor Dolittle books as a child? I certainly did, and one character in particular made my single head spin.
 “Excuse me, surely you are related to the Deer Family, are you not?”  
“Yes,” said the pushmi-pullyu—“to the Abyssinian Gazelles and the Asiatic Chamois—on my mother’s side. My father’s great-grandfather was the last of the Unicorns.”  
-      Hugh Lofting, The Story of Doctor Dolittle    
Here is my own neighborhood pushmi-pullyu. Do you see it? Do you believe it?

Which way is it facing?


Dawn said...

I read Dr. D when I was a kid, loved it all...and remember the pushmi-pullyu! Looks like a full summer up that way. Still considering the Sunday reading...trying to clear the calendar.

P. J. Grath said...

Hope you can make it, Dawn. After all our long-distance communications, it would be fun to have you actually IN my bookstore!

Deborah said...

I love the photo(s) of the animal - indeed it does look like the pushme-pullyu. Dad would have loved this! You lead not only a literary life but one of great creativity within you and around you.

P. J. Grath said...

David thought my photograph was "creepy," Deborah. But I don't think he ever read Doctor Dollittle stories.

Anonymous said...

Of course I believe it. One of these days I'm going to *finally* catch sight of the Great Pink Sea Snail. I can't tell you how much it sparked my imagination about shells and the wonders of the sea.

P. J. Grath said...

Amy-Lynn, was the GPSS inthe Doctor Dolittle stories? It's been so many years since I read them that I don't remember. But you, with your love of the ocean and its shores, do you know THE GARDEN UNDER THE SEA? That was a favorite childhood book of mine, a bit obscure, perhaps, but perfect for YOU!

dmarks said...

The lowbrow but still funny Eddie Murphy "Doctor Doolittle" remake featured a pushme pullyou that appeared on the screen for what I think was less than a second.

P. J. Grath said...

Less than a second? Low budget for special effects?