Saturday, March 30, 2013

Happiness is being an aunt. Also, a book recommendation

I am getting some much-needed rest and rejuvenation with the help of some little girls in Florida. Recent conversations:

Codename Isis (aged 3) (in the living room, building a puzzle): Where is the other puzzle piece?
Codename Phoenix (aged 3) (thoughtfully): Science will solve this mystery.

Isis (in the park): How will we get these ants off the tree stump?
Phoenix (thoughtfully): A woodpecker will solve this mystery.

Isis and Phoenix (in my bed this morning): Kristin, Kristin, can we help you put your tooth protector in its case? (That's the mouthguard I wear when I'm sleeping, being a tooth grinder. For some reason, of all my possessions, this is their favorite. It has fascinated them for years.)
Me: Of course!
Phoenix: It doesn't fit on our teeth.
Isis: It only fits on big people teeth.
Me: Actually, the dentist made it so that it only fits on my teeth! It doesn't fit on anyone else's teeth in the world.
Isis (extremely grave): That's sad.

***

Last night at the University of North Florida, Will Ludwigsen read stories from his new short story collection, In Search Of. From the cover copy: "A house inches eight hundred miles to confess its horrible crime. The last resident of a mental institution discovers he's not alone. A middle-schooler performs an experiment to determine how much time we fit dreams." I have never read a story by Will Ludwigsen that I didn't love. Check out his new collection. Sorry for the lack of links – I'm writing this on my phone and it's not cooperating!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Happy Spring

Sure is spring-like around here.

This No Blogging thing is intensely peaceful, but I thought I'd break in with a few things that've been piling up.

First, the Horn Book Magazine asked me what's the strangest children's book I've ever read... so I wrote them a little piece about Moomins. If you can't get your hands on the current (March/April 2013) issue but want to read my words, follow the link.

Next, the recent This American Life episode "Reruns" -- about people stuck in a particular moment -- was all-around great, but I especially adored the final act, in which Sarah Vowell discusses people who inappropriately equate themselves with Rosa Parks. Vowell is so dry and funny and CORRECT. Follow the link to listen.

Finally, underwater photojournalist Brian Skerry's TED talk contains some spectacular photos, and also some hope for our oceans.  Press play.