The September that I was seventeen years old, I arrived alone by train in Providence, Rhode Island, to begin college. There had, earlier in the fall, been a large hurricane that had flooded downtown Providence, which was still cleaning up and recovering. So it looked pretty crummy---and in truth, after it was cleaned up, it still looked pretty crummy in those days. I was happy to head uphill to Brown University, which was NOT downtown, and which even back then had an attractive campus surrounded by historical residential areas.

"The HIll," as it was---and still is---called, has not changed much. But downtown Providence is very different from the shabby, downtrodden look it had in the 50th.  MUCH upscaled and improved.

On Friday I got off the train once again, this time to attend the Rhode Island Book Festival which is always held at Lincoln School.  I have been to it twice before in its 20 years of existence, and it is always a pleasure to return and see the excitement about books that it generates.  One of the pleasures of such events, for me, is always the chance to see, sometimes once again, sometimes for the first time, authors and illustrators whose work I admire.  This year, the guests at the festival were Etienne Delessert, Mary Downing Hahn, Mary Ann Hoberman, Jerry Pinkney, Brian Selznick, Anita Silvey, Chris Van Allsburg, Padma Venkatraman, Paul Zelinsky, Christopher Paul Curtis

I copied that list from the website of the festival and now for the life of me can't get it smaller. But what the heck. All of those people are stars and deserve a big font.

Here's a photo of me with Paul Zelinsky


Next trip (tomorrow) is to Rochester, NY, to be writer-in-residence at Monroe Community College for a couple of days. It will be a wonderful time, I know. But when I look at the calendar I always wonder how on earth..or why on earth...I said yes to so many things.   Jerry Pinkney, yesterday, made a good suggestion, when all of us were describing similar concerns.  He pointed out that when we (he included himself) receive an invitation for a time in the future, we look at the calendar and think, "Oh, I'm free then" and we say yes.

We say yes so often that we end up with little time to do out actual work. His suggestion---a good one---is that we should write WORK on (many) calendar days. Then we would not be so easily deceived into thinking we aren't doing anything on that date.

Now if only I had a calendar for 2010 or 2011 in front of me!

I'd better check the weather there, since a sudden October snow took us by surprise in Massachusetts yesterday. It seems to have taken the Tennessee Titans by surprise as well, but not the Patriots, who absolutely wiped them out. Tom Brady threw 5 touchdown passes in one quarter alone. But who's counting?!