Actual readers reading my actual books!!!
Dear readers, if you are squeamish about things like phlegm you may want to not continue reading, because I'm about to tell you all about it. A LOT. There will also be descriptions of all the great books and authors and readers that I hob-nobbed with yesterday at the Princeton Children's Book Festival, but mostly I'm going to whine about how sick I was.
I'd like to believe that this blog is read by eleventy billion people from all corners of the world, so it's necessary for me to set the scene and describe what the weather has been like in Philadelphia so that you readers in Ulan Bator can understand why having a nasty headcold right now is the worstest ever. It has been muggy. Unpleasantly warm and crazy muggy, the kind of swampy mugginess that turns normally curly hair into a frizzy face-eating monster, and the sort of oppressive muggy that attacks you like a pack of large and extremely affectionate wet dogs with no sense of personal space. It's been disgusting. This is exactly the weather that makes colds worse; not only is it hard to breathe because your nose is plugged up with snot, but it's hard to breathe because you're also drowning in hot soggy air.
I am sick because my daughter is sick. She is a baby and has no idea that it is considered uncouth to repeatedly coughing directly into someone's face. In the future when she understands words I plan to give her a good talking-to about covering up one's mouth in such situations (and also that it it inadvisable to smear one's snot on your mother's shirt, pants, arms, legs, neck, as well as your own hair) (BABIES ARE SO GROSS). So in addition to being sick, I am taking care of a sick baby, which means that my sleep is all jacked up and I feel terrible all the time.
Let's go to a book festival! After a sleepless night of depleting our garrison of tissue boxes I left poor congested Anya with my generous, loving husband, who is not feeling 100% himself (Anya is quite egalitarian about spreading her germs). Armed with a bag full of books, tissues, a thermos of water, a travel mug full of hot tea, a sketchbook, a ruler, and two cartoon vases of flowers made out of foam core because I didn't want to get stuck with another big, undecorated table like I had the last time I went to the Princeton Children's Book Festival.
Looking not at all like the Spectre of Death at the Princeton Children's Book Festival. Check out the flower arrangements!
But there was no need to worry--unlike in previous years, the authors came to find their tables full of books and displays that had been put out by the people at Jazam's (a book/toy store in Princeton). It's completely amazing to sit behind a table with piles of my own books, particularly now that there are FOUR of them. It made it a lot easier to hide my box of Kleenex and pile of used tissues.
Writing and illustrating is a fairly solitary job, particularly when you work from home (as I do). As much as I love being my own boss and keeping my own schedule (HA HA, who am I kidding, Tilda is my boss) I miss socializing. So when I get the opportunity to both work and hang out with cool people, I go a little nuts. It's so exciting to talk with readers and librarians and other authors that a little thing like having no voice and my whole head encased in a phlegmblob is no obstacle. And so talk I did! I said hi to author friends (Eric Wight, Michael Buckley, Bob Shea, Erica Pearl, Lee Harper, and Mônica Carnesi) and made new author friends (Matt Luckhurst, Katie Kelly), and chatted with everyone who stopped by my table, which happened to be in the middle of the entire festival where everyone had to walk by. By the end of the day I sounded like Tom Waits (and not a young Tom Waits). I drove through a torrential downpour to get back to Philly, dragged myself into the house, collapsed on the sofa, and spent the rest of the evening communicating with Mark via text message. SAD.
Eric Wight, who gracefully obliged to pose with his book after I used up a billion percent of my voice yelling, "ERIC! HOLD UP YOUR BOOK! I'M TAKING A PICTURE OF YOU!" at him.
Matt Luckhurst, who was forced to sit next to me and listen while my voice sounded more and more like Morla's (the huge ancient turtle from The Neverending Story) (if you don't know what I'm talking about, go watch The Neverending Story RIGHT NOW)
Not to ruin your suspension of disbelief, but there was a human person inside this cat outfit. By my scientific calculations it was 748 degrees inside this suit, and if someone could please let me know that the luckless person wearing the suit survived the festival, that would be great.