The Great Disconnect

IMG_1359This morning, I head off for one week of solitude at an inn with no television, no cell service, and no in-room telephone. This rare luxury coincides with the last week of my year as a McKnight Artist Fellow, and I’ll use it to revise the novel I wrote late last summer in San Francisco.

I’m grateful for the support of the McKnight Foundation in making this happen, but also to my husband who is going to be soloing at home (though he is also probably going to enjoy the rare luxury of time to devote to one of his hobbies – drumming), the coworkers who will pick up some duties at my full-time job, and to the company that provides me with vacation time, all of which allows me to basically do what the picture at right symbolizes.

My storyteller’s brain sees those bare tree branches stretching skyward and thinks they’re dreaming of buds, blossoms and leaves-the as yet unrealized possibility of spring.

In the north, where this winter is the longest we’ve had in ages, a day like yesterday (70′s, sunny, mild) isn’t taken for granted. It’s best to spend every moment you can outdoors, drinking up the sunshine and the fresh air. As it was Easter Sunday and this involved conversation and a meal with the extended family, it meant that time was spend indoors cooking and gathered round the table, and at a certain age, one is expected to behave like a mature adult and linger at the table, chatting, while the younger ones escape outdoors to play frisbee or flop on the grass.

So I felt a little awkward and guilty when I slipped away, and flopped down on the grass outside, a reasonable distance from the family teens,  who wouldn’t have liked their over 50 auntie/mom-type to bust in on their conversation.  I wouldn’t have minded if some of the older folks joined me out there, but they felt more comfortable inside.

I felt a little out of place, out there on the lawn by myself, but maybe it was that writer’s brain of mine at work-that took the risk of feeling guilty and out of place for the reward of  a few quiet moments to imagine what the bare tree branches might be dreaming about.

Now’s The Time

ImageHelp. Please. I’ve often been too shy to ask for your help in helping my own career as an author grow. But now I’m going to. Perhaps I should have asked more before. Well. I’m asking now. Here’s what has spurred me on.

It’s been a tough year for small businesses that are all about the book. I’ve seen two favorite local bookstores close in the past year. Another looks like it may be on its last legs. Yes, there are some bright spots, a few new stores opening, but they face an uphill battle.

Worst of all now, my publisher is facing hard times, having laid off most of the staff (including family members). A skeleton crew is keeping things running for now, but who knows what the future holds. If the worst happens, my books might go out of print.

Here’s my call to action.

If you’ve thought about buying local bookish things, consider a North Star book. Plenty are available from the company’s website, but they aren’t shy about you ordering or buying from wherever you like to get your book fix.

If you like mysteries and like Minnesota, then why not give one (or all) of my books a try. Like to keep your local bookstore thriving? Ask them to order my books for you. Prefer the big online websites? Go for it! Already have my books and like them? Buy some for gifts. Can’t afford to buy and prefer to get books from your library? Ask your library to buy the books. Prefer ebooks? Go for it, they count!

I thank you.  North Star thanks you.